Posted by Sara Meers on August 6, 2014
Darelyn Chambers, AU ’14, is an excellent example of the “service before self” mantra. And when she enrolled at Aurora University, she knew exactly what she wanted to do, but was not sure how to bring those dreams to reality.
“I knew I wanted to work with children and be able to make a difference in one way or another,” said Chambers. “I knew what I hoped to accomplish after college, but I was undecided on how I would make this happen.”
During her time at Aurora University, Chambers was able to learn, grow and adjust her college path to grow with her. “As I entered my freshman year, I enrolled as an elementary education major. And throughout my time at AU, I was able to learn more about what I was passionate about and adjust my college path to meet my career aspirations,” she said. “I added a second major in special education after working with a young boy with autism.”
As Chambers began to discover what mattered most to her, she also became actively involved in on-campus organizations during her time at AU and was one of the first students to reach tier 4, “Leadership for Service,” in the Leadership Education and Development program. In addition, she spent time giving back by participating in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge over spring break and volunteering with a variety of organizations, including Hesed House, the youth ministries program at St. Anne’s Parish and CHILL (Changing Lives Through Snowboarding) in Lisle, Illinois. For her hard work and dedication to serving others, Chambers was awarded The John McKee Citizenship Award at Honors Convocation in the spring.
The award was established in 2009 by longtime Aurora University Board of Trustee member, John F. McKee. This award – one for a student and one for an AU faculty or staff member – was created to affirm the university’s commitment to the values of integrity, citizenship, continuous learning, and excellence. The award reflects Mr. McKee’s lifetime commitment to “service before self,” a principle that has guided his work as an AU trustee for 35 years and in his involvement and service throughout the Aurora community.
The student recipient of the John McKee Citizenship Award is presented to a graduating senior who has demonstrated an exemplary record of community service and academic excellence throughout his or her career at Aurora University and has been nominated by a member of the AU faculty or staff and/or a member of the Aurora community knowledgeable about the student’s community service work. A monetary prize is awarded to the recipient and a matching gift of the same amount is made to the organization of the student’s choice.