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NIU’s Remember Project spreads holiday cheer in Chicago

December 18, 2015

NIU students participating in the Remember Chicago Winter Giveaway included (back row from left) Wale Adetunji, Donnell Singleton, Amirius Clinton, Dexter Matthews, (middle row) Tatyanna Duke, Jasmine Ivy, Jakia Dase, Bernadette Chatman, Tondi Bailey, (front row) Raven Bryan, Yannick Koua, Shaka Ford and Ciera Williams

A group of about 20 students from Northern Illinois University returned to the Chicago communities from which they graduated high school to participate in The Remember Project’s second annual Winter Giveaway on Dec. 16.

The students represented a variety of campus organizations such as the Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta sororities, B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S., E.B.O.N.Y. and WOMEN.

Those groups conducted winter clothing drives on campus during the fall, and then gathered on Wednesday in Chicago to sort the gear by gender and size and distribute it to families in need. They provided winter clothing to about 250 people.

Afterward, members of the group helped the St. Sabina Catholic Church (where the event was held) feed and greet nearly 2,500 people who were treated to a hot meal thanks to a donation from BJ’s Market and Bakery.

“This was our second annual Winter Giveaway, and it was a true success,” said Randiss Hopkins, a senior at NIU who is studying jazz piano and community leadership. “Our collaboration with St. Sabina was a big part of that success and we look forward to partnering with them on other events in the future.”

Hopkins founded the Remember Project in the fall of 2013 at NIU. He had noticed that many of his fellow Chicago high school graduates had moved into leadership roles at the university, and he created the organization to get them to redirect some of their energy and skills back into the communities where they grew up.

Since he created the Remember Project he has recruited other Chicago area students attending nearly 25 different universities across Illinois and around the nation to participate in the project. Their next planned event will be their One Voice initiative this spring when members of the group will visit schools throughout Chicago urging students to pursue higher education.