North Central College’s student-run Circle K International service club has been awarded a grant by the global Circle K International organization to finance a community service project that will provide care packages to children with cancer.
North Central’s Circle K International learned on Feb. 10 that it was awarded a Tomorrow Fund grant by the Service Committee of Circle K International to finance the group’s Pouches of Love project. North Central is among 17 colleges and universities in North America to be awarded grants, though most of the other schools are large state universities, including Indiana University, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan and Virginia Tech University.
“We believe that not only is this the first time North Central has been awarded a grant but that it’s the first grant awarded to any school in the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Circle K International,” says Desury Paredes, a junior chemistry major from Aurora who serves as president of the student Circle K International chapter.
For Pouches of Love, Circle K members will use the grant money to purchase fabric, needles and yarn to sew pouches that will then be packed with toys, stickers and other items and delivered to children with cancer at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn.
“All of our members know someone who has battled cancer,” Paredes wrote in the grant application. “We hope this project will brighten the days of our young warriors … (and) let them know that someone outside is constantly thinking of them and hoping for their health to improve.”
North Central’s Circle K International chapter is a service group sponsored by the Naperville Evening Kiwanis Club. Members seek volunteer opportunities located off campus, and the group’s main goal is to provide service opportunities that benefit the entire community.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of Circle K is making connections and becoming friends with Naperville Evening Kiwanis members,” Paredes says. “They are incredibly supportive and help pay our club’s annual international dues.”
In addition to Paredes, the executive board of North Central’s Circle K International chapter includes vice president Katie Madel, a sophomore English and political science major from Murphysboro; secretary Christine Dunne, a junior elementary education major from Aurora; and treasurer Emily Arp, a junior accounting major from Brookfield.