Rachel Preston helps Jailey Henson, 10, pick out a brand new backpack for school Thursday at the Everett Boys & Girls Club. Preston recently joined a new Rotary club for young people wanting to get involved and help out in the community. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Rachel Preston helps Jailey Henson, 10, pick out a brand new backpack for school Thursday at the Everett Boys & Girls Club. Preston recently joined a new Rotary club for young people wanting to get involved and help out in the community. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

New Rotary Club aimed at a younger generation

The Rotaract arm of the service club is for those ages 18 to 30.

EVERETT — It didn’t take long to complete a project.

June was the first meeting for a new Rotaract club in Snohomish County, an arm of Rotary aimed at ages 18 to 30. In July, the Rotaract group put together 100 hot-weather kits for children, President Rachel Preston said. The kits, which included sunscreen, snacks and bubbles, were distributed by Marysville police and parks staff.

On Aug. 31, the club helped organize a school supply giveaway at the Everett Boys &Girls Club. Packs of items, grouped according to school district guidelines, were provided to 110 students from kindergarten through high school.

Preston, 22, was home-schooled in Everett before attending the former Trinity Lutheran College downtown. As a student, she volunteered at local nonprofits, one of which connected her with Rotary. Her professors included the Rev. Erik Samuelson, the campus pastor.

After Trinity closed, Samuelson and other staff worked together to keep running a mentoring program at Everett and Sequoia high schools. It’s still going and has expanded, he said. The mentors include Everett Community College students.

Samuelson’s parents were Rotarians, and he joined the Everett club about a year ago. Members had been talking about starting a Rotaract offshoot and asked for his help reaching that age group. This past winter they opened the call to all the Rotaries in the county.

Samuelson knew Preston would be a good fit. “She’s very organized …,” he said. “She’s got an energy and a spirit that just makes you want to be part of whatever she’s part of.”

These days, Preston runs a business in Everett teaching music lessons. She was given permission to join an Everett Rotary mission trip in April, where she assisted in building a greenhouse in the Dominican Republic. She decided to continue her Rotary involvement.

Four young people made the first Rotaract meeting in June. Now the club has 15 active members, Preston said. The vice president is William Hager, a Running Start senior at Glacier Peak High School and a third-generation Rotarian. Others travel from the south Everett/Mukilteo club, along with Rotaries in Lynnwood, Marysville and Monroe.

For their next project, the young Rotarians plan to spend time with local firefighters to install smoke alarms in homes. That effort is running for several weekends starting soon.

Rotaract meets twice a month in Everett, and there is a Facebook page, “Rotaract Club Snohomish County.” For more information, contact snohomishcountyrotaract@gmail.com.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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