November 02, 2004

Short Enterprises, Ronald McDonald Charities Saluki Kids' Academy gets $5,000 donation

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- One of the more popular features of a summer outreach program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will continue next year thanks to the continuing support of an area business.

Short Enterprises of Anna and Ronald McDonald Charities recently donated $5,000 to Saluki Kids' Academy. The funds will provide 200 Saluki Kids' Academy students the opportunity to learn Red Cross water safety skills at the SIUC Recreation Center. The Saluki swim team, under the direction of Coach Rick Walker, provides the instruction, which is an integral component of the two-week academy, said Director John C. Davis.

Saluki Kids' Academy is an outreach program founded three years ago by the College of Education and Human Services. The academy uses University resources to provide academic, recreational and enrichment experiences for Southern Illinois children who have not otherwise had access to those opportunities.

This is the third consecutive year Short Enterprises has donated to Saluki Kids Academy. In addition to Short Enterprises, Davis credits the work of James M. Manis Jr., an associate director for SIUC's Institutional Advancement, for his work in securing funds for the program.

"This gift supports and makes possible the swimming program for the Saluki Kids' Academy," said R. Keith Hillkirk, dean of SIUC's College of Education and Human Services. "Anyone who's had the chance to observe the excitement and joy that these kids experience in jumping into the Recreation Center pool knows first hand what this gift makes possible. With this gift Short Enterprises has made a wonderful difference for Southern Illinois children."

Short Enterprises is an original sponsor, and continues to be one of the academy's top sponsors, said Davis.

"Without this donation we would not be able to offer that unit," said Davis. "Our evaluations show that this unit is continually among the activities most valued by students and their parents."

Children participating in Saluki Kids' Academy are between 9 and 14 years old, and students from Mount Vernon to Cairo participate in the 10-day program, which is in July.

During the two-week course students go to the Student Recreation center for two hours, spending one hour in the pool and another hour with other Saluki coaches and athletes in a sports camp. Students will then go to Pulliam Hall and spend a couple of hours on academic activities. After lunch, they then go to various facilities on campus for academic enrichment activities.

Laurie Smith, the community relations' representative for Short Enterprises, says the Short family and McDonald's are "always a proud sponsor of local community programs."

"The water-safety program builds confidence and saves lives, and we are very happy and proud to be a part of it," she said.

Short Enterprises operates nine McDonalds' in the region in Carbondale, Murphysboro, Anna, Du Quoin and Vienna.

For more information on the program, contact Saluki Kids' Academy Director John C. Davis at 618/453-6468, or visit the academy's website at

Serving others and being involved in community outreach programs is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(CAPTION: Helping Southern Illinois kids – R. Keith Hillkirk, dean of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Education and Human Services, accepts a $5,000 check from Laurie Smith, community relations’ representative from Short Enterprises, to help fund the Saluki Kids’ Academy. The summer outreach program offers academic, recreational and enrichment experiences for 200 students between 9 and 14 years old. Short Enterprises, which operates nine McDonald’s in the region in Carbondale, Murphysboro, Anna, Du Quoin and Benton, teamed with Ronald McDonald Charities to make the contribution. With Smith and Hillkirk are far left, James M. Manis Jr., an associate director for SIUC’s Institutional Advancement, and far right, John C. Davis, director of Saluki Kids’ Academy.)
Photo by Steve Buhman