NRC student's donation drive kickoff postponed

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shown, from left, are North Rock Creek Girls Basketball Head Coach Charity Kilinc, NRC Senior Jayden Haney and Daniel Matthews, executive director of Community Market of Pottawatomie County. A food drive was slated to kick off at Friday's ball game between NRC and Bethel but the game was cancelled due to COVID precautions.

For her senior service project, North Rock Creek senior Jayden Haney wanted to make a big impact on her community and considered ways others could also connect with her mission.

“My teachers and coaches always encourage us to dream big, and that is what I am doing in this project,” Haney said. “My time at North Rock Creek has taught me to work hard, but to also care about others in the process.”

So, she developed a plan to lead a campaign at the school to collect food and personal care items to give to those who need them.

Haney, a senior guard on the Lady Cougars basketball team, approached her coach, Charity Kilinc, about creative ways to involve the basketball program.

“The goals of Jayden’s project demonstrate exactly what we want students at NRC to become — great teammates on the court who are committed to making a difference off the court,” Kilinc said. “She is helping set the bar for what our players will embody for years to come.”

Haney also reached out to Community Market of Pottawatomie County to partner on the project.

A two-week donation drive was then organized so North Rock Creek students could gather and bring non-perishable food items and personal care items to their classrooms.

“When Jayden reached out to our team, this was definitely something we wanted to be a part of,” Daniel Matthews, executive director of Community Market of Pottawatomie County, said. “Her passion to not only help others, but to bring knowledge to her classmates of the need in our community was inspiring.”

Kilinc worked with Haney and Athletic Director Evan Smith to plan a big kickoff at an upcoming ball game.

“The opportunity for two local schools to partner to make a difference in our community was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Kilinc said.

Haney's goals were scheduled to kick off this week, Matthews said, but, unfortunately, on Wednesday afternoon it was announced that Friday's basketball game between NRC and Bethel — and subsequently the donation drive kickoff — got cancelled.

Whenever the project does get underway, it will be a group effort.

“Together, Jayden and her classmates will make a difference for many in their community,” Matthews said. “They will do this a fun, competitive way that not only provides critical items for people while raising awareness and encouraging people to stay involved in caring for others.”

Once the donations are gathered by Haney they will be distributed by Community Market to residents in need in the Shawnee area.

“This will include service through the regular services of Community Market and through emergency distributions to residents experiencing homelessness,” Matthews said. “Ms. Haney’s hope is that through friendly competition between classes, more items can be collected and more people can be assisted.”

Those who want to participate can drop off donations at Community Market from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 120 S. Center in Shawnee.

Haney said the project has already shown her that by working together students can make a difference no matter their age.

“I am hopeful we have a big turn out for the drive, but mostly I just want to make sure people have what they need,” Haney said.

Watch for updates.

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