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Interact Club builds homes in Mexico

The La Jolla High School-based Interact Club will head for Tijuana later this month in an effort to attain their goal of building five homes this year for impoverished Mexican families.

The club, a community service organization supported by the La Jolla Rotary Club, provides students with valuable community service projects and leadership opportunities, said adviser Cal Mann.

Their core project is building homes for Tijuana families. Last year they built five homes, and in the past two years they built 10. They have two planned so far - one this month and one next.

On the day of the trip to Tijuana, students, accompanied by parents and Rotarians, typically leave La Jolla around 6 a.m. and return around 7 p.m. The construction is completed in one day. The families, who usually are living in a shack on the property, get the keys to their new home at the end of the day.

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“As you can imagine, it’s a very fun and very moving experience,” said Mann.

The building is supervised by the San Diego-based Project Mercy, which coordinates the recipients of the houses and delivery of the building materials. They also have experienced builders on site to assist the students.

The club has also recently incorporated students from Bishops into their activities, and is beginning to include students from La Jolla Country Day to “build bridges between the high schools,” said Mann.

Membership has grown from 40 to 70 this past year, and last year the students put in 1,800 hours of volunteering.

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“They’re already pretty busy, so for them to add these projects onto their busy life, it’s a good skill to have,” said Mann.

Club members also tutor elementary students after school and assist with the AVID program at Muirlands Middle School. They also participate in the Del Mar Holiday gift baskets program.

In addition to the financial support they get from the Rotary Club, the club also holds a variety of fundraisers. However, they are kept to a minimum so the club will not be primarily about fundraising.

Each home costs $3,750 to build, and Mann said if anyone is interested in contributing they should go to

www.LJinteract.org

or contact him

CalMann@mac.com

.