In late November, 2015, two students from Gloucester City Junior City High School (GHS) were selected to participate in Rotary Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The students, Alyssa DeLuca and Anastasia Pierce, both seniors, are members of the GHS Interact club, which is the student version of Rotary.
Interact is geared for students between the ages of 12-18 and its purpose is to help members develop leadership skills by participating in many service projects while having fun.
Alyssa and Anastasia were chaperoned by Interact Club advisors, Barbara Sacchetti and Neil Rossiter.
Each year, over 1,300 Rotarians are invited to Rotary Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Invitees include many Rotary International Directors, Foundation Trustees, past Senior Leaders, and other guests.
The program is designed to inspire and educate all participants. It also provides insight into the relationship between Rotary International and the United Nations.
Rotary Day at the United Nations included a special program for youth who are interested in humanitarian service.
Participants received an overview of the United Nations and heard about the various projects that Interact Clubs are involved with.
According to Rotary.org, the organization comprises 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities, and around the world.
“Our differing occupations, cultures, and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish the remarkable,” the website states.
GHS Student Anastasia Pierce
Alyssa and Anastasia estimate they were joined by 700 Interact clubs from all over the world and they had the opportunity to connect with Vineland Interact.
“They invited our Interact Club to participate in some of their activities,” Alyssa said.
Alyssa and Anastasia learned that Rotary and their partners have reduced polio cases by 99 percent worldwide.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two remaining countries where polio remains endemic, meaning transmission of the virus has never been stopped there.
As part of Rotary Day, attendees listened to panel discussions and were challenged to think how they can make a difference in the world.
Following the program, the GHS group took part in a self-guided tour of the United Nations building and before heading home, saw Times Square, passed Broadway, and caught a glimpse of the theaters.
Both students were glad they had the chance to participate in Rotary Day.
Alyssa said: “It was very informative. I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Anastasia agreed and added: “I was thrilled to learn that there are organizations that care about gender equality so strongly.”