The key to service work and networking is close to home with the SUNY New Paltz chapter of Circle K, a continuation of the high school organization Key Club.
Circle K is sponsored by the parent organization Kiwanis club. The chapter’s Facebook page said the mission of the group is to “develop college and university students into responsible citizens and leaders with lifelong commitment to serving the children of the world.”
Jean Jerussi, president-elect of the club, said the members go to Windsor Country Inn Nursing Home to do crafts about once a month and help organize a semester dance.
In the fall, the club organized a walk to benefit the Special Olympics, which Jerussi said will be an annual event. She also said they are coordinating with
National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) for National Prevent Child Abuse Month and Pinwheels for Prevention.
The club members also volunteer at soup kitchens, battered women’s shelters and retirement homes.
Jennifer Pereira is a Circle K member, who has been involved with the Kiwanis organizations since high school.
“I love being part of the Kiwanis family. Being in Circle K has been so much fun and I’ve been able to meet a lot of cool new people all while helping the community,” Pereira said. “I continue to be a part of it because I’ve made a lot of friends and it’s just something that I really enjoy.”
Mary Jean Sprague, a member of the Newburgh Kiwanis club that sponsors the Circle K group, said she loves watching the young leaders emerge from the group and that she is proud of the satisfaction that the community service provides club members.
“I enjoy that I am a part of that, as for sponsoring them, it is a goal of all Kiwanis clubs, ours being Newburgh Kiwanis club, is to assist in the development of emerging leaders and raise conspicuousness of the needs of the community you live in,” Sprague said.
Charlotte Cray, sergeant at arms for the district level, is another member who has continued with a Key Club from high school. As a transfer, Cray said she chose to transfer to New Paltz because of the Circle K chapter.
Cray said the club has multiple division areas, locally consisting of New Paltz and Marist, and a district level which encompasses multiple states.
Cray said there is an annual convention where Circle K members can network with their international peers.
“Circle K is an international club and it is all over New York, central and South America and Asia as well,” Cray said.