Monday, Nov. 13 from 6-8 p.m. the Koon’s Activity Venue (KAV) was full of people busy working on different crafts to give to children in hospitals.
The event was put on by Circle K members. People in attendance could do a variety of different activities from decorating bags to making greeting cards and craft kits.
Caitlin’s Smiles’s mission is to share smiles and laughter with children facing chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
Caitlin’s Smiles was started by Caitlin Hornung’s mother Cheryl Hornung in 2004, four years after Caitlin passed away in 2000 after battling cancer. It is a non-profit organization that distributes arts and crafts to kids in hospitals.
Senior Associate Director of Annual Giving and the Circle K advisor Ben Osterhout commented on the different crafts that people could do.
“We have bags for people to decorate, rubber band bracelets to make, and people can write and draw encouraging and greetings cards for the children,” he said. “We wanted to use supplies that the children could use their senses, so we have fuzzy stickers for people to use to decorate.”
It was a complete community effort. Not only were students from campus invited to come, but there was also a wide range of people from the community and members of Kiwanis that attended.
Karen and Kaitlyn Borrell, who found out about the event through Facebook, attended the event and reflected on their experience making crafts to help the children in the hospitals.
“The event is really relaxing and fun,” Borrell said.
Cheryl Hornung stated that there are numerous opportunities for people to participate in the craft night and described what they are going to do with the bags that people decorated.
“Circle K holds several craft nights throughout the year. We have a website and a Facebook page to promote the next opportunity for people to attend the next craft night,” Hornung said.
“Each bag that people decorate we are going to fill with age appropriate items for the kids along with the bracelets, door hangers and cards that the people are creating.”
The inspiration for Caitlin’s Smiles was Caitlin’s way of always managing to keep a positive attitude by finding joy in creating art while going through her tough journey.
A smile never left her face and the “Bag of Smiles” provided for patients is a way for them to strengthen their feelings of self-worth and keep positive attitudes and smiles, just as Caitlin did.