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Interact benefit concert helps The Answer is the Sun

Photo by Sally Liang

Service Above Self. This three-word-motto explicitly portrayed Interact’s dedication of serving individuals in local communities. In response to members’ fervor to empower changes, officers hosted the very first Wish Upon a Star benefit concert at San Leandro High’s Performing Arts Theater, a one-night-only event that occurred on Jan. 4.

All proceeds contributed from the concert went toward The Answer is the Sun, the current international project, which was intended to raise funds for purchasing 5,170 solar ovens to Afghanistan families in refugee camps. By end of the upcoming summer, all events must surpass a fundraising goal of $77,550 with funds directed to Trust in Education, a grass-root organization which provides health care assistance to Afghan villages.

The avid Interact spirit beamed brightly as the community and performers, in a show of unity and strength, came together to support this event. Talent brimming performers graced the stage at the theater, in partnership with Trust in Education and Cool Tea Bar, to raise funds for The Answer is the Sun. Among them were Susan Wang,  dance group Urbanize, duet singers Angelica Simsuangco and Angelo Villanueva, chorechophy crew Last Minute, Monica Mendoza, and others.

“My teammates and I had such a wonderful experience this evening. Knowing that I have a passion for dancing, I was so happy to expose my talent and doing this for a great cause,” said contestant Kim Alejandro, one of the members in Last Minute. “On the behalf of myself and the team, we really appreciate for having us! The benefit concert was so successful!”

The concert alone had reached proximity of $2,220 from ticket and intermission sales, consequently approached one step closer toward the fundraising goal.

“Interact District 5170, we plan on sending 5,170 solar powered ovens to families in Afghanistan that are in refugee camps. We are providing these families with a safer, sustainable and more affordable source of energy, as well as saving these families from the hazardous effects of wood fires that they currently use to cook their meals. With the $2,200 that we raised, we will be able to send 146 solar ovens to 146 refugee families, which is phenomenal! With the amazing performances, successful food and milk sales, the incredible amount of support from people inside and outside of Interact, support from family and friends, and the hand work & dedication of all the Area 2 officers, this event was out of the world.You have all greatly contributed towards changing the world, and you empower change!” said Danelle Go, director of Interact’s Area Two.

Among other goals, Interactors hope to organize this concert to reach new heights. The club has always had a charity dinner in the spring, but never a benefit concert. Interact officers wanted to offer something novel to all other areas as well as the general public.

“This was our first ever benefit concert as an area, so we didn’t know what to expect. The show ended up being a huge success. Everyone had smiles on their faces at the end of the night. I couldn’t think of a better way to end Winter Break,” said Wang, Interact president and soloist at the concert.

“Specifically for the concert, it wouldn’t have been possible without Dustin Brown, the theatre manager at San Leandro High School, for letting us use the performing arts center,” added Wang, expressing her gratitude for employees at the theater.

Beside the benefit concert, area wide Interact went above and beyond. Area directors were diligently putting together charity dinner, semi-formal dances, Interact brand wardrobe pieces, talent shows, and more. All aim for the same intention: to change the world and make a difference. Whether fellow Interactors prepare or attend events like such, it was not only for purpose of raising funds, it was also a new way to augment global understanding, emphasize the core value of the club, serve the community of Bay Area, and most importantly, to impact lives of people worldwide. Interact will continue to inspire the uninspired and envision a promising future.