Club: Kids CAN
Club Sponsor: Adam Weikel
Goal/Purpose: Assist cancer patients with finances, organize community events and ease the many other challenges associated with battling cancer
President: Coral Morley
Vice President: Victoria Lee
Secretary: Caroline Lee
Treasurer: Kiley McKernan
Kids CAN is an NHS club that is part of the Cancer Alliance of Naples. Club members complete impactful service that is committed to helping children, families and individuals who are battling cancer. Their work extends to all of Collier and Lee counties and aims to decrease the many burdens that cancer patients may face.
Their support ranges from providing educational resources to giving generous financial support. One of the most touching aspects of the program is that they pay cancer patients’ non-medical bills, including rent, utilities and gas. Members are also involved in fundraising projects to collect money for graduating seniors who either have cancer themselves or have a family member fighting it.
President of Kids CAN, Coral Morley, manages these fundraising projects, fulfilling the club’s mission and giving incredible support for local families.
“We organized our annual holiday party for 20 Cancer Alliance of Naples families this year, including coordinating 30 volunteers, managing the donation and distribution of over 50 meals, creating five craft and holiday decoration stations and supervising the collection of Christmas gifts for all attendees,” Morley said. “My team and I have helped manage twelve fundraisers for about 120 families, raising up to $500 a month for a total of $3,000 per family.”
Volunteers also write touching messages for cancer patients, creating special cards that offer motivational messages of support, strength and perseverance.
“My most memorable moments with Kids CAN have been making cards in the office,” Secretary Caroline Lee said. “Every week, the CAN organization gives cards to cancer patients. Knowing that your card and motivational message may help a cancer patient that is struggling is incredibly rewarding.”
Being a part of Kids CAN offers members an unforgettable experience as they have the opportunity to see their services touch lives first-hand. Their activities help make cancer patients’ days a little brighter, showing them the love and care of their community.
“It’s all in the little things we take for granted. The holiday celebrations. The visits with Santa. A 5K run here, a bike ride there. Maybe a chance to stay overnight in a hotel. For kids with cancer, these small moments take on a greater significance,” Morley said. “Through my work at CAN, I’m able to help kids and families find a life beyond their diagnosis and treatment. The ability to provide emotional support and a sense of normalcy gives me an awareness of the fragility of life and appreciation of the simple joys of childhood.”
CAN also increases awareness about the challenges that are associated with cancer, providing educational opportunities and resources to many.
“Kids CAN promotes awareness and education about cancer to my community and takes the stress off cancer patients and their family,” Morley said.
Earning community service hours for participating, students not only make a meaningful impact in the local community, but also acquire vital leadership and social skills. The organization offers a unique experience, as members can be active in club positions and even earn scholarships.
“Students should become members because there are so many volunteer opportunities within Kids CAN,” Lee said. “Kids CAN also offers scholarships and a county wide board for students to become leaders.”
To get involved, students can sign up at the annual club rush. There, the CAN table has a large poster with contact information and pictures. The sign-up sheet asks for names and student numbers, which then allows new members to be added to their Canvas course. From there, reminders of club meetings and volunteer opportunities are sent out.