What is Interact?
Interact is a service and social club for young people ages 14-18. Each club is sponsored by a Rotary club, which guides the Interactors in developing local and international service projects. Interact derives its name from the words "international" and "action," reflecting the nature of an organization that exists in 110 countries and promotes active service at home and abroad. With almost 250,000 members and more than 11,000 clubs worldwide, it is one of Rotary’s fastest growing programs.  Interact clubs are self-governing and self-supporting, offering many opportunities for members to develop valuable leadership and teamwork skills. Interact gives young people an opportunity to participate in fun, meaningful service projects while developing leadership skills, meeting new friends and learning from Rotarians.
Through service activities, Interactors learn the importance of:
  • Developing leadership skills and personal integrity;
  • Demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others; and
  • Advancing international understanding and goodwill.
Each club carries out local service projects that benefit its community or school, such as fundraisers for a variety of causes, Maddie’s Miracles, benefit concerts, and visits to nursing homes, orphanages and homeless shelters. Interactors also develop international service projects that expand their understanding of the world and promote goodwill.  For many years the Rotary Club of Bakersfield has sponsored the Interact Club at Bakersfield High School. Jeremy Adams and Kristina Rathburn currently serve as our Club's Interact Liaison. The BHS Interact Club meets every other Thursday at 2:45 PM at Bakersfield High School in Auditorium #308. 

AVID Program

Rotary Club of Bakersfield Partners with AVID Program at BHS

The members of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield want to improve the lives of youth and their potential for a successful future. That's why club members volunteer to spend three hours every other Friday afternoon talking to Bakersfield High School students participating in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. Rotarians talk about their professions, their experiences and the community with the aim of connecting classroom learning to the experiences of community leaders. For information on how you can volunteer for the AVID program, contact the Rotary Club of Bakersfield office at (661)325-0696 or via email at

Character Counts: Pursuing Victory with Honor

President Daphne Harley has made the promotion of "Character Counts," a nationally recognized program devoted to promoting character education- and a clear set of values to students, a major emphasis this year. The Bakersfield Rotary Club will work with various athletic and youth groups this year to provide training in "Character Counts." Specifically, the training will focus on "Pursuing Victory with Honor," a Character Counts program designed to instill sportsmanship in local athletes. For more information, call or email Evelyn Johnson at the Rotary office.

Rolling Readers

Each Wednesday during the school year, a member (or members) of the Bakersfield Rotary Club conducts a 15-minute storytelling session with Jo Ann Merritt’s kindergarten class at the Downtown Elementary School located in downtown Bakersfield. Often the readers stay longer than the 15-minute reading session and tell the students about their jobs and families and exciting places they have traveled. The Rotary Rolling readers have participated in these fun and much appreciated sessions since 1998.

Salvation Army Bell Ringing

Bell ringers standing next to the symbolic red signifies that the holidays are here! Every year, the Bakersfield Rotary Club organizes a single day of bell ringing and approximately one hundred Club members spread out into the community and don the red apron to raise money for the Salvation Army.

Bridging Program

The Bridging Program is a project of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield and Bakersfield High School, providing a leadership-mentor program that focuses on at-risk high school students. The mission of the program is to reduce the dropout rate of these students and increase their school attendance.

The program operates during the school year with school administrators profiling, screening and providing a pool of at-risk freshmen. These selected students represent a cross-cultural mix of the high schools’ population with primary emphasis on those who have potential for success.

Based upon the student's occupational interest, an appropriate Rotarian is matched with the student as a mentor. Through the guidance and encouragement of the student’s mentor, and the exposure to a real workplace environment, the program goal is to eliminate student dropout and increase attendance in school to 90 percent.

Participating Rotarians commit to participate for one school year and meet at least one hour each month with the student to discuss progress and problems. The Rotarian also provides part-time employment (four hours per week) to the student during the school year. The Rotarian is encouraged to bring the student to three Rotary Club meetings and one club outing during the school year and attend two school functions with the student.

The student participating in the program must attend school 90 percent of the time. The student must participate in the part-time work program and the Rotary functions hosted by their mentor.

Bakersfield High school is the largest and oldest high school in Kern County. In the 1990-1991 school year 3,556 students were enrolled of which 21 percent were Hispanic, 12 percent black and 61 percent white.

The dropout rate at Bakersfield High now stands at approximately 25 percent over a four-year period. One of its goals is to increase the success of the average student, and to do so the dropout rate and absence rates must be reduced.

For more information on the Rotary Bridging program contact the Rotary office at or call (661)325-0696.


Each year five (5) scholarships are awarded to local high school seniors who will attend Bakersfield College (BC) or Cal State University Bakersfield (CSUB).

High School seniors who know they will be attending either BC or CSUB should contact that school's Financial Aid office before March 1st of their senior year to apply.

Applicants will be selected by the Financial Aid offices of BC and CSUB to interview with our committee for final selection.

Waterman Foundation

Annual Capital Grant Program

The purpose of the Waterman Foundation is to provide scholarships to local students as well as fund capital projects proposed by local non-profit organizations. The Waterman Foundation was established by the Bakersfield Downtown Rotary Club in 1984. Thirteen members of this Club comprise the Board of Trustees and govern the activities of the foundation.

The Foundation plans to grant between $30,000 and $40,000 per year for a single capital project or cumulatively for a combination of projects. Grants will be awarded only for capital projects, and not for such items as operating expenses. Grants will be awarded in April of each year.