Earlham College awards 10 grants to key clubs across Midwest

Earlham College has awarded 10 grants to teams of high school students from across the Midwest as part of its inaugural Key Club Grant Competition.

Indiana Key Club teams from Mooresville High School, Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis, Terre Haute South High School, Wawasee High School and Hobart High School were chosen this week for the top prize of $1,000 by a panel of judges and will begin projects this summer. Smaller grants were given to five other participating teams from Key Clubs in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan. Key Clubs are student-led organizations that encourage leadership by serving others.

“The proposals these students submitted were simply impressive,” said Michael Black, college partnerships manager for Earlham’s Office of Admissions. “With our long, shared history of engaging students with opportunities for character-building, leadership development, service and social activism, Earlham College and Key Club are natural partners to support positive change in our own backyard. These projects answer the call.”

“With our long, shared history of engaging students with opportunities for character-building, leadership development, service and social activism, Earlham College and Key Club are natural partners to support positive change in our own backyard. These projects answer the call.” — Michael Black, College Partnerships Manager

The five winning projects have wide-ranging goals, from beautifying neighborhoods, to strengthening the work of nonprofits to encouraging connections between youth and senior citizens and veterans. 

The Wawasee High School Key Club will expand the “Warrior Hope Garden” they planted in 2020 to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding mental health. The club previously planted 1,500 tulips—one for every student and employee—and plan to expand the project by adding signage, additional flower bulbs and fresh landscaping.

Perry Meridian High School Key Club in Indianapolis will support a local church’s weekend backpack program that provides meals to food-insecure families. They plan to use the funding to advertise their idea as well as to buy backpacks and nonperishable foods for the families. 

Mooresville High School Key Club’s “Character and Beauty” initiative will build raised garden beds at a local nursing home and beautify existing landscaping at an American Legion post. 

In the Chicagoland area, Hobart High School Key Club will buy a loom and materials needed to make durable sleeping mats out of recycled bags for homeless shelters. They will partner with the Lafayette-based organization Plarn Project Plus to learn how to make the mats.

And the Terre Haute South High School Key Club will purchase 50 suitcases for children who have court-appointed advocates and need a secure place to put their belongings. Club members remark that children with court-appointed advocates often have little else to put their belongings in other than trash bags.

Earlham’s Key Club Grant competition launched in January as an extension of the College’s regional recruitment initiative. Participating students were also eligible for the $20,000 Key Service Award, a new four-year scholarship for Key Club members seeking to study at Earlham while volunteering at organizations in Richmond and Wayne County. 

The competition was supported by Earlham’s Office of Admissions; the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity; and the EPIC initiative. The competition is expected to continue in 2022.

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