The Santa Claus people

Birthday BoxesWith the desire of reaching out to the DeKalb community, the University Honors Program initiated a service learning project called “Birthday Boxes,” during the 2011-2012 academic year.

This service project has since grown and become a staple of the University Honors Program tradition.

Partnering with Safe Passage and Hope Haven, Birthday Boxes provides University Honors students the opportunity to help children in the DeKalb County from newborns to 18 who have been designated as “in need.”

Birthday Boxes require several steps that takes dedication and hard work from numerous University Honors students.

The project starts with fundraising and donations from not only students, but also from local businesses and residents of the DeKalb community. Next, the Birthday Boxes team gathers donations and hosts “prep events” where student volunteers assemble birthday boxes – wrapped shoe boxes full of age appropriate gifts.

Birthday Box sampleLast, the Birthday Boxes team coordinates monthly birthday parties at Hope Haven, where student volunteers deliver presents and spend time with the children.

The positive impact the program has on DeKalb County children is demonstrated in their smiles. It is no surprise that the children now kindly refer to University Honors volunteers as “the Santa Claus people.”

Interested in being part of University Honors’ Birthday Boxes? Attend one of two fundraising events being held in the DeKalb community this fall:

For more information, call (815) 753-0694 or email honors@niu.edu.

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