Circle 80 revolves around service


Izzy Lisak, Staffer

Many children are filled with dread as summer winds down in August. Some are worried about new teachers or classes, but others’ apprehension at the upcoming school year is more than just first day jitters. These students are unsure if they can afford new notebooks, or be able to finally replace their worn backpacks. Fortunately, the Oak Park and River Forest Infant Welfare Society (IWS) tackles these, and countless other problems, for grateful kids.

The IWS provides medical, dental, and social care to children from low income families. The IWS is organized into eight separate “circles” of women who fundraise and volunteer as a team to provide varied and vital services and goods. Circle 80 is the group comprised of high school girls dedicated to helping these children.

Senior Ava Trogus, one of Circle 80’s four co-founders, explains why she is passionate about Circle 80. “A lot of people take healthcare for granted, and don’t realize that many parents can’t afford basic checkups,” Trogus says.

In addition to providing kids with quality healthcare, Circle 80 plans and hosts many social events throughout the year. Trogus and fellow senior Abra Kaplan discuss two of their favorite events, the Back to School event and the annual Holiday Party. At the Back to School event, children receive backpacks filled with necessary school supplies as well as visit booths with fun and educational activities, such as science experiments and music. “The kids’ excitement when they received the new backpacks was not only heartwarming, but also created a great sense of accomplishment,” Trogus says. At the Holiday Party, children receive stockings, engage in craft activities, and have pictures taken with Santa. “The Holiday party is awesome because we get to interact and play with the kids,” Kaplan says.

Kaplan and Trogus encourage other high school girls to join their organization and mission. They note that the services provided for these children and their families are invaluable. “There are a lot of kids that really need the services the clinic provides,” Kaplan says. Circle 80 is similarly meaningful to its members. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces makes all our work worth it,” Trogus says.