Last year, students in the Interact Club at Franklin High School challenged their classmates to collect children’s books for Read2Me and were able to donate 400 children’s books to be redistributed to children in Macon County. This year, for the entire month of March, Interact students are challenging the entire county to get on board with the annual book drive and help collect book donations for Read2Me, a community nonprofit geared toward promoting the importance of early literacy in Macon County.
Franklin’s Rotary Club sponsors the Interact Club at Franklin High School, giving students the opportunity to become engaged in the community. Interact is the Rotary Club sponsored program within the high schools and middle schools across the country and is intended to develop leadership skills and how Rotary and its members are doing good, one person at a time, discovering the power of “Service Above Self.” Locally, Rotarian Larry Hollifield works wth Franklin High School staff sponsor David McAllister to provide FHS students the opportunity to participate in Interact.
“The Interact Club is a student-run group at the high school,” said McAllister. “We are sponsored by Rotary Club. The purpose is to promote and encourage community involvement and service in students.”
While the Interact Club participates in several service projects throughout the year such as sponsoring families in need at Christmas time and cleaning up the Little Tennessee Greenway, the children’s book drive is one of the club’s largest events.
“The book drive is one of our main annual events and we have been doing for at least the last four years,” said McAllister, who has volunteered with the club at FHS for the last two years. “We collected over 400 books last year.”
The books collected in March will be donated to Read2Me, which will repair books that need it and then use the books to keep the communities free little libraries supplied with children’s books. Read2Me volunteers will pass out free books at upcoming events such as Rotary Club and Safe Kids of Macon County’s Safety Town and PumpkinFest. Read2Me’s mission to promote early literacy includes getting books into the hands of children, something Interact’s book drive helps with each year. Read2Me also hosts annual parent training events to teach parents the importance of raising a reader, and provides free books to the families in attendance.
“These projects are important for both the those receiving the services (books to promote literacy and success) and important for the students by raising awareness of both issues in our community as well as empowering them in ways they can affect this community,” said McAllister.
Classes at Franklin High School are competing to see who can collect the most books and the winning class will receive a lunch party sponsored by Rotary. To help collect donations this year, collection boxes have been set up around town at various locations so members of the community can also contribute.
Donation locations include Gooder Grafix located on East Main Street, Franklin Office Supply on the Highlands Road, Macon County News located on Main Street, and A Time for Paws on the Highlands Road.