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Circle K International to make a comeback at Saint Mary‘s

| Wednesday, February 27, 2019

For those looking for service opportunities at Saint Mary’s, volunteering organization Circle K International (CKI) is staged to make a return this semester.

According to its website, CKI is the world’s largest collegiate service program, with more than 13,000 members.

Recently, however, CKI at Saint Mary’s has been struggling for membership. Sophomore Carina Garza, president of Saint Mary’s’ CKI club, said she was motivated to refocus and revamp the organization’s presence at the College this year.

“This academic year, sadly, the people who were in charge didn’t put it first, so there were no meetings, no events,” Garza said. “Saint Mary’s’ [CKI] was basically inactive, which was very sad because the [CKI] district governor of Indiana … is a Saint Mary’s student. She is a senior. It was sad to see that the governor of Circle K Indiana was in a school whose home club was inactive.”

Garza said she first got involved in CKI when district governor McKenzie Quinn reached out to her and encouraged her to help revive the group at Saint Mary’s.

“She told me, ‘Hey, you know we need to bring Circle K back. Would you be interested?’’’ Garza said. “At first, I felt obligated to do it, because I have known her forever. We just had a convention this weekend which was held here with all Circle K groups.”

Garza said the convention helped her renew her interest in the organization

“I’m excited to see our Circle K come back up,” she said. “It was really upsetting to not have a group or a club this year, but I’m really excited to see what I can do for the club and what I can do for the new members, because I really learned a lot this weekend at that convention. … I ended up falling in love with it. I am president of the club now, and for the next year.”

Garza said she believes the organization’s message is relevant in the South Bend community and encourages students to get involved.

“Circle K is a national organization,” Garza said. “ … We are about leadership, fellowship and service, we do everything we can to partner up with any service group that surrounds our area like the food bank. [We] help out with them — there is the La Casa de Amistad on the West Side, there is the Ronald McDonald house.”

The organization helps teach students valuable life skills, preparing them for life after graduation, Garza said.

“We learn how to become leaders, so it helps us in the real world after college,” she said. “The fellowship is us being around people who care about the same things that we care about, and those who want to help others.”

Garza said she quickly embraced the Circle K mission.

“At first I was doing it because I felt obligated to do it, and now I’m just in love with it,” she said. “I love Circle K. I love what we are about, and I really hope that people feel the same way I do about Circle K.”

Though clubs at Saint Mary’s provide many different ways to serve in the community, Circle K International offers the unique opportunity to serve alongside a multitude of other organizations, Garza said.

“I feel like the service organizations on campus focus on really one place,” she said. “ … There are people who only go to the food bank or people who only Ronald McDonald House or just Hannah’s House. I feel like we don’t really have any other service groups on campus that do what we do, because we try to go to every place. We want to help out the entire South Bend community.”

Garza said serving South Bend is how she shows gratitude to the community.

“Without South Bend, there is no Saint Mary’s,” she said. “We owe them, and this is how we are going to pay them back — through helping them out and thanking them.”

Garza said she believes the club not only benefits the students and the community at large, but also helps promote sisterhood at Saint Mary’s.

“The [Saint Mary’s] sisterhood kind of deals with fellowship,” she said. “ … I feel like Circle K is a great example of that. … You have the people that are in Circle K that love doing service that want to do the things that you like doing too, and it brings them together.”

Circle K will meet Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Warner Conference Room.

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