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By Lisa Moore
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
This September, Bob Anthony, the District 7910 Sub Committee Chief for Rotary Interact Club of Wellesley, is hosting a District Interact teen and advisor training seminar. Interact Club is a global organization for students aged 12-18 looking to make a difference in their communities and beyond, while having fun and building friendships. The club, which is sponsored by Rotary Club, carries out two service projects a year. The focus of one project is to help the local schools or community while the second is aimed at promoting international understanding.
Wellesley’s Interact Teen Club has made teen depression and suicide prevention the focus of their service project. It is their hope to advocate so that people will learn to seek help for themselves and others. Statistics show that 8% of people in the US suffer from depression and that there is a 20% chance that a person will develop depression sometime over their lifetime. Last year, as part of the Wellness Project, the club delivered depression prevention programs at Wellesley High School during freshmen seminars. Student peer leaders had to undergo training to learn how to co-facilitate the Break Free From Depression curriculum, written by Boston Children’s Hospital, then club members planned ways to deliver the curriculum to the community. Wellesley students worked with staff from the high school, the Boys and Girls Club of Waltham, and local churches to deliver the Break Free From Depression seminar to as many students as they could.
Wellesley Interact peer leaders worked directly in small groups with 440 students from grades 8-10 for 1-3 hours. Students at Wellesley high school were given surveys prior to the seminar to assess their understanding of teen depression. After the seminar, students took a second survey to assess knowledge gained. Pre and post seminar surveys showed that students gained an understanding of coping skills, self-awareness skills, and help-seeking skills by participating in the seminar. This year, the group hopes to expand the program to include eighth grade students at the middle school and sophomores at the high school.
The Interact Club teen and advisor training seminar will be held on September 17 from 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Needham Hotel, 100 Cabot Street in Needham. The seminar is free for teens and $81 for advisors. To learn more about starting or joining an Interact Club, to learn details about the global grant template, or to replicate the wellness project, visit www.adolescentwellness.org/rotary/. To register online, click on the “register for training link” or contact Bob Anthony at BobAnthony@AdolescentWellness.org or call him at (781-727-8617).