Giving back and getting informed!

  • Scholars having a blast at Lincoln Hall making friendship bracelets for kids in Camp Kesem.
  • Scholars in front of Lincoln Hall with our Graduate Resident Advisors after participating in iHelp.
  • An example of a previous iHelp, in which students picked up trash around the community.

Although just the beginning of the school year, the Illinois Evans Scholars chapter has been working hard at getting involved and informed together through volunteering and listening to resourceful speakers.

To kick off the year with volunteer opportunities, Scholars gave up their Saturday morning to give back to the community at iHelp, a campus-wide service day. Scholars dedicated a couple hours to making friendship bracelets for Camp Kesem, which is a national organization dedicated to helping children who have parents with cancer. Scholars completed bracelets and made friendship cards for kids that explained the purpose of friendship bracelets and acknowledging the support behind them from our chapter! The Illinois Chapter has about 25 Scholars who spend a week volunteering as Camp Kesem counselors, doing activities that help children deal with personal issues and stories regarding cancer. Camp Kesem is free for the kids and allows them to express their feelings, while also having fun and getting a great summer camp experience. Since Camp Kesem is a significant part of many of our Scholars' lives, we were very excited to help and show our support!

Scholars volunteer for iHelp every year and have done several activities, including picking up trash around the community, working with children through art therapy, making yarn mats for homeless people, and more. iHelp is one of our favorite days, because being an Evans Scholar is all about giving back and helping others. We could not be more proud of the work our Scholars do for others and continue to do each year!

Speaking of giving back, we also held a recent blood drive on Sept. 6. A number of Scholars participated, and they estimated we saved or extended around 50 lives! We hold several blood drives each year and always have great numbers.

Apart from giving back, Scholars have also dedicated time to becoming informed! We had a fire safety talk from the Champaign Fire Department on Sept. 11, in which they told us common hazards, solutions and tips for getting out quickly and safety in the event of a fire. We also completed our fire drill in a little over three minutes, which is great considering we have 130 people to get out safely!

The Illinois chapter also recently arranged for a mental health awareness speaker to give a talk on Oct. 2, which was another great resource for us to listen to and become aware of. With a chapter as large as ours, it is vital that we take care of each other, and the speaker was extremely helpful in talking about signs, reaching out, resources on campus, etc.

We are very proud of our chapter for getting involved and becoming informed! Both are very important and have brought us closer together! Because we have more Scholars than ever, there is no better way to bond than by volunteering and getting informed together! We cannot wait to all come together again for our Evans Scholars Service Day on Oct. 15!