Bella Vista’s Interact Club Gathers Items for Baja

Fair Oaks, CA  |  By Alice Rowe, Rotary Club of Fair Oaks
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Chris Nelson (the pilot from the Flying Samaritans that came to BV to receive the over 1500 items) along with...from left to right: Kaitlin Wilkins (Interact V.P.), Chris Nelson, Anna Gasparian (Interact Co-President) and Sophia Yslas (Interact Co-President). Photo by Alice Rowe

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Fair Oaks Rotarian Fred Rowe, Rotarian Teri Riave, along with Faculty Advisor Heather Hawkins and the rest of the student members of the B.V. Interact Club. Photo by Alice Rowe

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - The Flying Samaritans is an all-volunteer organization of California pilots and medical personnel who fly monthly to rural locations in Baja to provide medical, dental and vision services to people who have very limited access to care. When Chris Nelson, a representative of the Samaritans’ local Mother Lode Chapter, spoke at a lunch meeting of the Bella Vista High School Interact Club in March, he described not only the care they provide, but also the need for common items such as toiletries and school supplies, due to the lack of any stores in these rural areas. The Samaritans collect and distribute such items during each monthly medical mission trip.

After hearing about this need, the Interact Club members realized that this was an area where they could make a difference. The club board, led by co-presidents Sophia Yslas and Anna Gasparian and mentored by faculty liaison Heather Hawkins, put together a school-wide supply drive, and members promoted the drive in individual classrooms.

The generosity of the student body became very evident when the drive ended on April 12. Over twenty classrooms had filled bags of items, and eleven of those had donated more than 100 items each. When a local women’s organization, Fair Oaks Inner Wheel, heard about the drive, they donated twenty of their children’s books, “Who’s Who”, both in English and Spanish.

When Chris Nelson returned to Bella Vista High School on May 1, he was overwhelmed with the approximately 1500 bottles of lotion, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, school supplies and children’s books that had been gathered for him to fly down to San Quintin later that month.

There are soon going to be many happy children and adults when this shipment arrives in Baja, thanks to those who donated and the leadership of the BV Interact Club, which is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Fair Oaks.


 

Chris Nelson (the pilot from the Flying Samaritans that came to BV to receive the over 1500 items) along with...from left to right: Kaitlin Wilkins (Interact V.P.), Chris Nelson, Anna Gasparian (Interact Co-President) and Sophia Yslas (Interact Co-President). Photo by Alice RoweFair Oaks Rotarian Fred Rowe, Rotarian Teri Riave, along with Faculty Advisor Heather Hawkins and the rest of the student members of the B.V. Interact Club. Photo by Alice RoweA display of many of the supplies gathered being organized for the trip to Baja California. (Photo by Chris Nelson)