Interact Club Hosts Annual Letters of Hope Event

Taylor Meek, A & E Editor

Interact Club has begun its annual act of giving back with African Letters of Hope.

African Vision of Hope has been an ongoing program that students who are a part of Interact Club have been affiliated with. The Letters of Hope event allows club members and also the student body to directly reach out to Zambian students.

Judi Bertels, the mom of a former Interact Club member and EHS graduate, founded AVOH. EHS has been hosting the event for nine years and EHS english teacher Nicole Pontious took over as the club sponsor eight years ago.

“They support and provide for five schools in Zambia, Africa, while also providing their students with education, housing, clean water, food and clothes,” Nicole Pontious said.

You don’t have to be a part of Interact Club to participate. Anyone who signs up is eligible to write a letter.

“We encourage everyone to write about what we hope to do after high school, your hobbies and encourage Zambian students to pursue a career after high school,” vice president senior Laynie Pfund said.

Writing letters makes the exchange more personal.

“Motivational or inspirational notes for them are always nice,” junior and secretary Addison Donelson said. “Just simple things to let the students know that we care and want to help them.”

Interact Club makes it a yearly goal to help Zambian students as much as they can.

“In addition to writing letters, we also make a donation every year,” Donelson said. Over the years we have donated over $6,000 to them. This money has gone to things like wells, food, calculators and classrooms.”

Club members are notified by AVOH CEO what the students are in need of for the school year.

“Every year we dedicate our funds to a special thing for students,” said Interact Club president senior Elizabeth Viox. “and this year we are supporting school uniforms.”

In order to raise more money, Interact Club partnered with the Tiger Den and allowed students and teachers to directly help Zambian students.

“[Last] fall we also did a supply drive and facilitated the donation of old textbooks,” Voix said.

The assistance that the Zambian students are given is not taken lightly, according to Pontious.

“We have been told by the AVOH folks that the students look forward to our letters every year,” Pontious said. “Some will carry them in their pockets and read them multiple times a day.

“They are super excited that he EHS kids host an event every year to raise money for the schools. We have received letters back and photos of the Zambian kids with our letters showing this. It is a really cool way to connect with people across the world from us.”