Circle K: building a better community, one step at a time
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
They are a close-knit group of college students who devote their weekends to making the Buffalo community a better place to live. They are Circle K.
Circle K International (CKI), founded in 1936, started as a project to provide young men with the means and finances to gain a college education or part-time employment. When the concept was recognized, community service was introduced.
Now the largest collegiate service organization, CKI has membership on more than 500 college campuses – UB is one of them.
Circle K, a Student Association club, performs community service all across Buffalo. Circle K is built on the premise of building a better society and developing leadership qualities, and members provide community service while maintaining their busy college schedules.
Circle K provides a variety of services around the Buffalo community, from attending sporting events to help fundraise for money to spending time with less fortunate children and helping clean up with Habitat for Humanity.
Denzel Mac-Ocran, a senior nursing major, first joined Circle K during his freshman year. He wanted to get involved and decided community service is something everyone should participate in.
Anybody can attend the Circle K meetings or attend its charity or community service events. However, in order to be internationally recognized as a member of the club, there is an $8 fee.
Mac-Ocran was involved with community service throughout high school and plans on continuing into his nursing career.
“I’m lucky enough to have been raised in a great environment,” Mac-Ocran said. “But others don’t get to choose whatever situation they are born into, so [lending] a helping hand is always nice.”
The first event Mac-Ocran attended was Wheels Around The Park – a carnival and walk for families with kids who have Down syndrome. The most rewarding part of the event was taking time out of his day to make a “lifetime of difference in someone else’s,” according to Mac-Ocran.
“The families were so thankful for what we were doing, and things like that keep you going,” Mac-Ocran said. “The kids were so genuinely happy.”
Mac-Ocran also said the club has allowed him to meet a lot of people with similar interests, some of whom he will stay friends with for life.
His favorite event was when Circle K went to Louisiana. They worked on a farm, which provided food for the soup kitchens in the area, helped restore a camp for volunteers and aided in the rebuilding of an elderly woman’s house that was falling apart from Hurricane Katrina.
He helped set up a carnival at a local museum that was rebuilt in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Circle K got a first-person look at the damage from the natural disaster, and Mac-Ocran even expanded his culinary horizons by eating alligator.
“It’s hard finding community service on your own,” Mac-Oran said. “Circle K presents a lot of different events in the Buffalo area. It’s also a weekly meeting with email reminders and friends so you won’t get complacent with doing an event every couple of months. You get into a good routine of doing community service, so it seems like second nature.”
It’s not about monetary awards for Circle K’s members, like Kim Bui, the vice president of Circle K. It’s about helping people and finding leadership experience in the process.
“The club keeps me in check and teaches me how to serve. [It teaches me how to] be a leader and be a fellow volunteer,” Bui said. “I just see it as a part of my life, like meeting with friends and learning, which we all do in Circle K.”
Whether it’s an event on campus or an event miles away, Circle K strives toward making the Buffalo community a better place for themselves and for others.