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Help needy families, donate school supplies through Sept. 30

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The athletics department has begun accepting donations of new and used school supplies as part of its Wings at Their Feet Back to School Supply Drive—now in its eighth year. All types of school/classroom supplies are welcome and donations are accepted through Sept. 30 in the College’s Athletics Office at Merner Field House or at these home athletics events:

•    Friday, Sept. 2—women’s soccer vs. Hope College, 7 p.m.
•    Wednesday, Sept. 7—men’s soccer vs. Rockford College, 4:30 p.m.
•    Saturday, Sept. 10—football vs. Bethel College, 6 p.m.
•    Tuesday, Sept. 13—volleyball vs. Elmhurst College, 7 p.m.

The program’s creator is Kari Kluckhohn, head women’s track and field and assistant women’s cross country coach and assistant professor of health and physical education. Kluckhohn started the project in memory of her son, Samuel Noah, who passed away at full-term before his birth. Shortly after her loss, her home church in Wisconsin held its annual school supply drive for needy families in Africa and area schools, and she decided to donate supplies in honor of Samuel.

The following year she invited members of her track team to join her efforts, then expanded the program to include all athletic teams with support from other North Central coaches and staff. Her goal was to introduce student-athletes to service and help them recognize their responsibility to be role models. “It gives our students an opportunity to make a difference by helping children in our area,” she said. “And it’s such a simple grassroots project that positively affects so many lives.”

The name Wings at Their Feet was coined by one of Kluckhohn’s students. “After my loss, many of my runners wore ribbons of remembrance on their shoes when competing and one of my students said, ‘Look coach, I have wings on my feet,’” she recalled. “I think it’s symbolic. We can provide support and tools to kids to help them soar academically.”

For the past three years, North Central College has been recognized by the National Association of Division III Athletics Administrators (NADIIIAA) for the Wings at Their Feet Back to School Supply Drive and an array of community service efforts.