Circle Of Friends Awards is a Non-Profit project created by Dean James Credle following his retirement from Rutgers Newark to further the interests he pursued during his tenure there from 1968 to 2005. In an effort to honor the memories of his late husband Jan Herman
Vanker and Angel Claudio, Scholarships were created in their names and presented every year since. An additional award was added in Dean Credles name for outstanding community service and scholastic achievement.
Circle Of Friends awards continues to receive support from various entities in our community, across the U.S. and internationally via the Netherlands.
The Fireball competition was made possible by the collective efforts of the Mothers and Fathers of the Newark Ball scene, Dean James Credle, The Newark Pride Alliance and The Circle of Friends. It began in 1992 as a local effort to celebrate queer gendered sexuality and to raise awareness around safer sex and HIV/AIDS education and prevention. Competitions like the Fireball are part of a larger history and culture of the LGBTIQQA diaspora.
FIREBALL grew out of the experience of safer sex training during the HIV/AIDS Pandemic prior to the establishment of the Newark Pride Alliance. Check this out and learn more about the history of this process that saved countless lives over the years prior to the current Covid Pandemic.