By: MELISSA FISHMAN / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
One of LIU Brooklyn’s philanthropic phenomenons is Circle K International (CKI). Known for their commitment to charity and kindness, members of the LIU chapter of CKI are ready to leap headfirst into itstheir first semester on campus without stringent COVID-19 restrictions since before the pandemic.
CKI, an extension of the adults-only organization Kiwanis International, stands by a rigid set of principles that help to promote leadership, community, and education. Iys their primary goals are to provide college students with useful life skills, create lasting relationships, and leave all places and people better than how they found them.
The LIU CKI chapter has three main focuses: mental health awareness, anti-bullying, and supporting foster children. The group does this with the help of its three subcommittees, Better Together (mental health), Power in Voices (anti-bullying), and Ohana (foster care).
The glue that keeps this club together is chapter President, Joyce Ho (‘23). The junior and nursing major has held her position since the club was established in 2019.
“I’ve been in this position for a long time and it’s nice to see how much I am growing each year because of it, and it’s not just me [that’s growing]. It’s nice to be a part of that,” Ho said.
Speaking with Ho gives the impression that she has no insincere or disingenuous bone in her body. In a sit-down interview with her and CKI Vice President Matthew Young about Circle K, Ho’s eyes lit up after discussing each of their upcoming events.
Young was of a similar spirit to Ho in that he seemed to have a gentle spirit and generous hand. In response to a question about his motivations to be a part of this organization he said, “It’s all about leadership and giving back to our community because we are nothing without the community around us.”
When asked about her ability to keep her composure when leading such an important and influential organization Ho said simply, “If you are leading a group of people you need to give them a sense of stability. If you’re always wavering they’re going to worry as well. I never think anything is impossible. You’ll always find a way.”
CKI recently kicked off its 2021-2022 year of service by hosting a park cleanup at Brooklyn Bridge Park with the LIU Outdoor Club, along with three other local chapters of CKI from Baruch College, Pace University, and the City College of New York. They cleaned up a park on Water Street in DUMBO and removed approximately 10 pounds of trash.
Despite the work being hard and “sweaty,” Young summarized the experience, saying it was well worth it because “You’re picking up trash but you’re making friends while doing it.” The participants at the cleanup were then invited to an ice cream social at Ample Hills Creamery to celebrate their efforts.
Through smiles and plenty of giggles, Ho and Young described what CKI means to them in just a few words. Ho’s summarization was “wholesome, heart-warming togetherness” while Young offered, “fun and rewarding.”
When reflecting on their aspirations for the future, given their liberation from COVID-19 restrictions that prevented them from doing certain types of activities last year, Young said, “Last year we had a hard time fundraising because of COVID and the inability to purchase food. However this year, what’s really exciting is finally raising money and outsourcing it. If something doesn’t work we can find a new solution.”
Recently, these delightful do-gooders have also raised money for Lucas, a child at St. Jude Children's Hospital, who was diagnosed with brain cancer. CKI members sold cupcakes, and offered a wide selection of flavors ranging from vanilla to Boston cream to fruit tart and including both vegan and non-vegan options. Sponsored by Mia’s Bakery, those who stopped by the table had a taste of sweet flavors while doing their daily dose of good deeds.
If you feel like you've missed out, don't fret, those interested can participate in some of Circle K's upcoming service events such as the Gift of Life Bone Marrow registry, Blood Drive, or Luv Michael, an event hosted in partnership with LIU Promise.
For those interested in joining Circle K, you can follow them on Instagram @LIUBrooklynCircleK for more information or join via Presence.