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Positive Impact: Volunteer group paints structures in Grandview Park

The Hudson Interact group worked with Rotary and other volunteers over the course of a collective 16 hours to paint structures like this one in Grandview Park. The service project was an example of the types of service projects the volunteer group does. Photo courtesy Hannah Erickson.

The group Interact has been a big part of Hannah Erickson's life for the past three years.

She said Interact — which is a volunteer organization for high schoolers run through Rotary International — has been in Hudson for about four years.

Ten of the organization's members all graduated high school recently. They planned one last project to be their legacy. They painted many of the structures in Grandview Park.

"We want to have a positive impact on the community," Erickson said, "This is going to be a perfect way to bring more color and more fun to such a popular space."

Erickson had the idea for the project one day while at Grandview Park.

"I noticed that most — actually all — of the paint was looking too sad to be part of a children's space," Erickson said. "It'll be a more fun place to be when there are better colors, and it's not rundown looking."

The Interact group blocked off about 16 hours over a span of four days to work on the painting. They started with scraping old paint off and then repainted it. They also planned to remove some signs and the ladders on the fire truck, paint them separately, then reattach them.

"So, it'll be a clean paint job," Erickson said. "That was another priority for us, to make it very clean looking."

She said the old paint job had "a lot of splotches" in it.

Interact invited Rotarians to volunteer.

The group painted in Grandview Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday July 5 and Friday, July 7 and 3-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday July 10 and 11.nErickson said things went even better than planned during the four days of painting.

"I'm extremely pleased with how the painting is going," she said. "It's taking us about half the time to do it than we had planned, and the results are outstanding. It's clear the park needed painting and we're all very proud of our work."

Erickson said her best friends are in Interact, which is part of how she ended up joining the club.

"It's really fun to be a part of," she said. "It's ...a structured way to go out and help the community, and I get to do it with my favorite people."

Interact has helped rake leaves in the courtyard at Grace Place, packed food at Feed My Starving Children, helped with a blood drive, and worked with Operation Christmas Child.

Club officers include president Jessica Schutz, treasurer Derek Bates, secretary Kensie Kiesow, and Erickson herself serves as activities director. Jessica Schutz is the club's Rotary adult supervisor. Molly Putzier had been the group's school advisor, but has recently stepped down.

Though Interact has adult advisors, Erickson said, it is a student-lead group, so adult advisors mostly act as chaperones and facilitators. Erickson said the fact that the club is student-lead is beneficial.

"It gives us huge leadership qualities," she said.

Erickson, who has lived in Hudson for about 10 years, plans to major in biology at UW-Eau Claire.

But for now, she said, she's just excited about the Grandview Park project.

"I'm just excited for the community to know about the park being revitalized," Erickson said. "I guess I just want everyone else to be excited about it. I think it will be some really great work."

For more information contact

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(651) 301-7849