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LOVE \luhv\

noun

Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another YMCA OF GREATER KANSAS CITY SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015


spi•rit of ser•vice Volunteer Recognition Event YMCA OF GREATER KANSAS CITY November 12, 2015 THANK YOU TO OUR EVENT PARTNERS

OUR MISSION The YMCA of Greater Kansas City, founded on Christian principles, is a charitable organization with an inclusive environment committed to enriching the quality of family, spiritual, social, mental and physical well-being. A UNITED WAY AGENCY

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KansasCityYMCA.org


2015

2015 Hero of the Heart Award — p. 6

Pro Athlete, Inc. Scott Hedrick, CEO

Spirit of Service Class STACY BENNINGHOFF

ANISSA BROWN

JON BURKE

PAT BURNS

BRADEN CURD

Platte County Community Center North p.10

8th Street Family YMCA p.10

Blue Springs Family YMCA p.11

Paul Henson Family YMCA p.11

Cleaver Family YMCA p.12

DON GRIMM

AL HUPP

SONJA LUKE

SHARON MALCOM

DARREN ODUM

Platte County Community Center South p.12

Association Resource Center p.13

Bonner Springs Family YMCA p.13

Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center p.14

Olathe Family YMCA p.14

VALERIE PETERSON

CARL PRICE

MARTHA SHADLEY

AL STEED

ANDREW TATE

Linwood Family YMCA p.15

Red Bridge Family YMCA p.16

North Kansas City YMCA p.16

Quality Hill YMCA p. 17

LIZ STONE

JULIE BATES

KANETHA KNOLLEY

ALICIA MCKNIGHT

Maple Woods YMCA ELC p.20

Olathe Family YMCA ELC p.20

Park Hill YMCA Head Start p.21

Thomas Roque YMCA Head Start p.21

YMCA Head Start p. 22

KATHY MEROLA

NORB STRACKER

BRIDGETT SWANSON

RICK ALVAREZ

LISA FOITLE

Columbus Park YMCA Head Start p.22

Northland YMCA Head Start p.23

Excelsior Springs YMCA Head Start p.23

Youth Development Services p.24

YMCA Challenger p.28

DARIUS JACKSON

PAUL PRUE

SVETA QUICK

Young Achievers p.28

YMCA Sports p.29

Youth Volunteer Corps p.29

Atchison Family YMCA p.15

STEVE AND LINDA ESPEER

Con•grat•u•la•tions! SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 3


v

David Byrd, President and CEO, works with Madeline Romious, chair of the Board of Directors, who volunteers her time to lead the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.


vol·un·teer \vä-len-’tir\ noun

A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.

DEAR FRIENDS, The best way to understand the definition of “volunteer” is to get to know the special people who share their time and talents at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. And we can’t think of a better place to start than with this year’s Spirit of Service and Hero of the Heart Award recipients, featured in this booklet. They are among the more than 3,600 volunteers our Y counts on each year to help us strengthen our community. The volunteers honored this year bring meaning to the word “volunteer” through their passion for helping others. The talents they share are as diverse as the communities we serve: • • • • • • •

Teaching youth critical thinking skills through the game of chess Creating opportunities for seniors to connect with each other Supporting young people with special needs to play sports Helping teens prepare for college and careers Fostering literacy among preschoolers Raising funds so the Y can serve all in need And much more.

Read on to learn more about how this year’s award recipients are defining what it means to volunteer at the Y. Congratulations to all of the volunteers being recognized this year, and thank you to everyone who gives their time at the Y—we couldn’t do it without all of you!

Madeline Romious David Byrd Chair, Board of Directors President and CEO

SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 5


Pro Athlete, Inc. CEO and founder Scott Hedrick (left) with COO Andrew Dowis have created a culture of volunteerism and giving at Pro Athlete and inspire other employees to join them to give back.

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Hero of the Heart Award

2015 Hero of the Heart Award Recipient

Pro Athlete, Inc.

PRO ATHLETE, INC., exemplifies the Y’s vision of social responsibility in our community. CEO Scott Hedrick, known for fostering a culture of giving, has led efforts and engaged employees at Pro Athlete to support the Y in a number of ways. Pro Athlete’s partnership with the Y began in 2006, and has grown deeper over the years to include sponsorship, volunteering and philanthropy. Since 2009, Pro Athlete has sponsored a table at the annual Challenge Your Fashion fundraiser to support the all-accessible Fred and Shirley Pryor YMCA Challenger Sports Complex. During that time, many employees at Pro Athlete have had an opportunity to attend the event. As a result, more than 20 employees have been inspired to volunteer their time as buddies for the YMCA Challenger program for children with special needs. Buddies are matched with each athlete to offer assistance as needed throughout the game, allowing parents to relax and cheer from the sidelines. In addition, Pro Athlete employees have assisted with special projects, such as helping to build the all-accessible playground at the

This award recognizes an individual or organization that has shown extraordinary dedication to advancing the Y’s mission throughout the greater Kansas City community.

Challenger sports complex. They also donated their time to create two videos that show how the YMCA Challenger program helps young people with special needs be active, build confidence and learn important social skills. Their video production for YMCA Challenger has been recognized with local and national awards. The videos have been viewed by thousands of people at events, on the web and social media, and have helped the Y engage more donors, volunteers and participants. Pro Athlete is also represented on the YMCA Challenger Community Mission Board. Longtime volunteer buddy and key leader at Pro Athlete Andrew Dowis joined the Challenger Mission Board in 2014. The Mission Board is an advisory group that expands Challenger’s reach through advising on the direction of the program and assisting with events and fundraising. CEO Scott Hedrick has also engaged his own family with the Y. His daughters Chandler and Cassidy are volunteer buddies. His wife Sherri is a part of the Challenge Your Fashion event committee.

“Pro Athlete is truly a company that gives back to their community, gets their employees involved and is a role model for other companies.” Michelle Ford, Chief Development Officer

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Carl Price (center) volunteers his time every week at the Linwood Family YMCA to teach youth the game of chess.

Spirit of Service Award Each year, more than 3,600 volunteers give their time and talent at the Y to strengthen the community. This award recognizes top volunteers from each of the Y’s centers and programs throughout the greater Kansas City area.


Spirit of Service Awards Each year, more than 3,600 volunteers give their time and talent at the Y to strengthen the community. This award recognizes top volunteers from each of the Y’s centers and programs throughout the greater Kansas City area.

CENTER VOL•UN•TEERS Thanks to volunteers, our 14 Y centers throughout the metro are able to give men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life the resources and support they need to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. Volunteers serve in a variety of roles. Volunteers on each center Community Mission Board advise on the future direction of the Y, take an active role in fundraising, help the Y partner with other organizations to expand our reach, and assist with special events. In addition, many opportunities are available for volunteers to share a talent or unique interest with others through social groups at the Y, free classes, special projects and community events. And sometimes a volunteer may be the first person you see, greeting guests at the Welcome Center.

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STACY BENNINGHOFF Platte County Community Center North operated by the YMCA Stacy shows her dedication on many levels. She and her family have been members of Platte County Community Center North (PCCCN) for more than 10 years, and she has served on PCCCN’s Community Mission Board for five years. Through Stacy’s work at the Platte County Health Department, she collaborates with PCCCN for the Platte County Back-to-School Fair, which gives 800 kids in need each year a backpack full of school supplies, hygiene products and other resources. She also collaborates with the Y on the Platte County Senior Fair, raises funds each year for the Y’s Annual Campaign to make sure membership and programs are available to all regardless of their financial resources, and consistently collaborates on grant opportunities to support programs at PCCCN.

“Stacy’s passion for the community she lives in is tireless. Her involvement with the Y and serving the community and surrounding areas is an amazing example of cause driven leadership!” Matt Eaves, Executive Director, Platte County Community Center North

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin ANISSA BROWN 8th Street Family YMCA Since Anissa joined the 8th Street Family YMCA Community Mission Board in 2013, she has had a strong impact by supporting staff development and connecting with volunteers to support the 8th Street Family YMCA’s Annual Campaign. Anissa has shared her professional expertise in corporate finance, staff development and donor relations to help the 8th Street Family YMCA reach their annual fundraising goals. In addition, her advocacy for the Y has helped create opportunities for the Y to deliver programs and services that strengthen the Kansas City, KS, community and help residents develop healthier lifestyles. As a member of the 8th Street Family YMCA Community Mission Board, Anissa has also been actively involved in the YMCA of Greater Kansas City’s strategic planning process.

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“Anissa’s dedication, leadership and creativity allows us to expand the quality and quantity of our programs.” Simeon Henderson, Executive Director, 8th Street Family YMCA


JON BURKE Blue Springs Family YMCA The Y is simply a part of life for Jon Burke and his family, who are active members of the Blue Springs Family YMCA and familiar faces at special events and programs. Jon expanded his involvement in recent years when he joined the Blue Springs Family YMCA Community Mission Board in 2012. Jon is known as a strong advocate of the Y’s areas of focus--youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. He shares his passion for the Y and creating a healthy community for all, and has been involved in everything from fundraising to special events such as the Kids Triathlon.

“Jon is always willing and able to assist with any YMCA events and programs.” Ben Coffey, Executive Director, Blue Springs Family YMCA

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire U•ni•ty Com•mu•ni•ty Help•ful Gen•er•os• PAT BURNS Paul Henson Family YMCA Pat is known for her commitment to moving the Paul Henson Family YMCA forward. She currently serves as a member of the Paul Henson Family YMCA Community Mission Board and as Chair of the Annual Campaign. She is always willing to help. She especially encourages active old adults to increase their involvement at the Y, whether by opening their hearts to volunteer or to donate to the Annual Campaign. Pat brings a variety of ideas to the Paul Henson Family YMCA staff to support growth in areas such as volunteer recruitment, Board development, membership and much more. Her contributions include recruiting volunteers to assist as greeters at the Welcome Center. She continues to come up with great ideas to advance the Y’s mission and ability to serve the community.

“Anyone who comes into contact with Pat values her insight, passion and dedication to the YMCA movement.” Vivian Livanos, Executive Director, Paul Henson Family YMCA

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BRADEN CURD Cleaver Family YMCA Throughout the summer, Braden helped with every youth sport offered. He stands out for his dedication and willingness to serve wherever needed. Braden was there every step of the way throughout the summer sports season, serving in a variety of roles. He helped coach the Cleaver Family YMCA’s new Bitty Sports Sampler program, umpired in baseball leagues, prepared fields, made numerous phone calls to participants, recruited new participants, and always had a positive attitude. Over 12 weeks of regular volunteering, Braden became indispensable. He quickly became known for being ready to help when no one else was able to.

“He became our goto guy for sports! Despite the hot and rainy days we had during the summer season, he always had a positive attitude.” Robin Jordan, District Vice President, Cleaver Family YMCA

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin DON GRIMM Platte County Community Center South operated by the YMCA Thanks to Don’s hard work for the Platte County Community Garden, gardeners have the opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables for their families. In addition, the garden is able to donate more than 400 pounds of fresh produce to the St. Therese food pantry that serves more than 300 families in our community. Don first got involved because he is a member of Platte County Community Center South and recognized he could fill a need at the garden. Most of his time is spent preparing the garden to open in the spring, doing everything from tilling 34 garden plots to moving wheelbarrows of mulch to removing weeds. He serves on the Grounds Committee at the garden and has volunteered more than 100 hours over the past two years.

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“His hard work and dedication have helped 75-plus gardeners plant their crops for the year.” Kathy Armitage, Active Lifestyles Program Director and Platte County Community Garden Coordinator, Platte County Community Center South


AL HUPP YMCA of Greater Kansas City Association Resource Center For more than 25 years, Al has been a dedicated and consistent leader on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. He’s known for bringing together his logical approach with his passion for the Y in a way that advances the Y’s Mission. Al is currently chair of the Foundation Board, leading the management of the Y’s endowment fund. His involvement with the Y began in 1989 as a member of the Board of Directors. Since then, he served on the Executive Committee from 1990-2011. He also has served as Assistant Secretary of the Board since 1990. In addition, he led the Y’s annual fundraising campaign in 1995.

“Al is highly respected for his integrity, credibility and passion. His unique ability to focus on the Y mission with his heart and mind have been very valuable to the Y for many years.” David Byrd, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Kansas City

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire U•ni•ty Com•mu•ni•ty Help•ful Gen•er•os• SONJA LUKE Bonner Springs Family YMCA Sonja makes an impact with her ability to tell the Y’s story and share with others how the Y is strengthening the community. She and her family were charter members of the Bonner Springs Family YMCA when it opened in September 2001, and she deepened her involvement when she began volunteering as a member of the Community Mission Board when it was founded in 2013.

“Sonja is a positive role model for our YMCA and our community.” Nancy Winchip, Executive Director, Bonner Springs Family YMCA

She has learned more about the financial assistance the Y provides to make sure all in the community have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive at the Y. Since then, she has been dedicated to raising funds for the Y, working diligently to make sure fundraising events are successful and helping to launch the first Bonner Springs Family YMCA Annual Campaign Kick Off Breakfast.

SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 13


SHARON (SASSY) MALCOLM Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center As a volunteer and member at Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center, Sharon— also known as Sassy to her friends at the Y—has impacted the lives of hundreds of people in the community. She first connected with the Y in 2013 when she participated in the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program for cancer survivors. She started giving back to help with the Active Older Adults program later that year and continues to help secure guest speakers and promote monthly potlucks and other social activities. In 2014, she expanded her volunteer involvement at the Y by joining Togetherhood, the Y’s signature program for social responsibility that invites Y members to lead and participate in volunteer service projects that benefit the communities where they live. She is currently the lead volunteer for the group. She has participated in seven Togetherhood projects across Wyandotte County, ranging from collecting school supplies for kids in need to helping at a local soup kitchen.

“Sassy’s passion for the Y and the community make her an outstanding volunteer. She always has an encouraging word, a bright smile and even wears bright colors that inspire those around her.” Bill Blunck, Executive Director, Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin DARREN ODUM Olathe Family YMCA Darren’s support of the Olathe Family YMCA has helped improve the health and well-being of hundreds of people in the Olathe community. He has been a member of the Community Mission Board for the past five years, serving on the Friendraising and Annual Campaign Committees. As a representative of Olathe Medical Center, he was instrumental in introducing the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program at the medical center. His outreach efforts have connected hundreds of cancer survivors to LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a healthy living program that helps cancer survivors regain strength and endurance, and find support from others. He also has helped to integrate Olathe Medical Center’s physical therapy programs with the Olathe Family YMCA to give patients in need of continuous physical therapy the opportunity to connect with a YMCA trainer for the ongoing support they need.

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“Darren has been a great advocate for the YMCA in the community and helping YMCA staff to get connected to local and regional leaders.” Scott Clark, Southwest District Vice President, YMCA of Greater Kansas City


VALERIE PETERSON Atchison Family YMCA Through countless hours of volunteer service over more than a year, Valerie has contributed her talent to help members reach their healthy lifestyle goals through yoga. She currently teaches two classes weekly with strong attendance. Members benefit from Valerie’s expertise. The relaxation skills, strength and flexibility they gain allow them to lead healthier lifestyles. Valerie embraces the Y’s inclusive mission through her ability to adapt her classes to any skill level. Thanks to Valerie, people at any stage of their healthy living journey are able to experience the benefits of yoga.

“Valerie’s ability to adapt to any skill level in her class allows members in all stages of their journey be a part of it.” Kelsey Wolfe, Healthy Living Director, Atchison Family YMCA

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire U•ni•ty Com•mu•ni•ty Help•ful Gen•er•os• CARL PRICE Linwood Family YMCA As the volunteer leader of the Linwood Family YMCA Knights Chess Club, Carl does more than help youth master the game. He also helps them build selfesteem and important critical thinking skills. For the past three years, Carl has given his time to lead the chess club. He’s known for his consistency and for serving as a loving, caring adult young people can look up to. He has faithfully volunteered more than 300 hours to teach countless youth, and it’s already having an impact in helping youth reach their fullest potential. Families appreciate the support he provides to each young person.

“Mr. Price’s enthusiasm for learning is contagious. Mr. Price is a true difference maker.” Stephenie Smith, Executive Director, Linwood Family YMCA

SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 15


MARTHA SHADLEY Red Bridge Family YMCA Martha steps in to offer her support in a variety of ways at the Red Bridge Family YMCA. She runs a knitting class, keeps the coffee full in the lobby whenever she’s in the building, donates supplies for Kids Zone and Kids Night Out, and hosts craft tables at community events. Through her donations of time and supplies, she has helped hundreds of kids and dozens of adults, and she does it all with a joyful heart. For more than two years, she has been involved in supporting Kids Zone and Kids Night Out events by providing art and play supplies. A year ago, the knitting class started after a program director noticed Martha’s love for making crocheted and knitted garments for children of staff and members. The staff member asked Martha if she would like to begin a regular class to share her skills with others, and Martha embraced the opportunity.

“Martha actively asks us what is needed and desired in our center, and does what she can to fulfill our requests. Whether teaching her class, visiting in the lounge or interacting with our children, Martha’s reach can be seen as she positively shapes the lives of those she meets.” Ashley Gault, Member Engagement Director, Red Bridge Family YMCA

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin AL STEED North Kansas City YMCA Al grew up involved in YMCA sports. Today he gives back to the Y in many ways. He volunteers as a youth sports official, mentoring children and teaching them teamwork. He also is a member of the North Kansas City YMCA Community Mission Board and spends time volunteering at the Y’s community events. He’s been part of the Vivion Road and North Kansas City YMCAs for more than 10 years, and has touched the lives of many people during that time. He’s known for his friendly presence, positive energy and passion to help others. Whether he’s greeting others in the Y center or out on the fields encouraging youth to reach their potential, Al is a valuable part of the North Kansas City YMCA family.

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“Al helps strengthen our Y and our programs by contributing his time and positive energy. Al is always sharing his positive thoughts, his encouragement and energy to everyone he encounters.”

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Katie Vivas, Associate Executive Director, North Kansas City YMCA

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ANDREW TATE Quality Hill YMCA

As a volunteer, Andrew is known for his leadership at the Quality Hill YMCA. He is currently the chair of the Community Mission Board, and has served on the Board for two years. During that time, he has led the recruitment of other volunteers to serve alongside him on the Community Mission Board and developed ways to improve Board participation. His leadership of fundraising efforts has helped the Quality Hill YMCA achieve its annual fundraising goal. Andrew is generous with the time he gives the Y, volunteering nearly 100 hours a year. He is always available and willing to support the Quality Hill YMCA in any way. He has also supported the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Association by representing the Quality Hill YMCA through his involvement in the Y’s strategic planning process.

“Andrew is a true cause-driven leader. He is passionate and cares about the Y and the community.” Robin Jordan, East District Vice President, YMCA of Greater Kansas City

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire U•ni•ty Com•mu•ni•ty Help•ful Gen•er•os•

RECEIVE

GRATITUDE

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THANKS BLESSING

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COMMUNITY BLESSINGS KINDNESS

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CHILD CARE AND EDUCATION VOL•UN•TEERS As part of our commitment to youth development, the Y offers early education through eight Head Start centers, three early learning centers and two preschool programs. We also offer before and after school Y Club and summer day camp programs at more than 90 sites across the metro. The programs count on dedicated volunteers who share their time to be positive role models, assist teachers, collect resources for children and their families, and educate children by sharing their unique talents. Because of volunteers, youth have more support and opportunities to learn and grow at the Y.

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Romanda Franklin (left), Thomas Roque Head Start community and family partnership coordinator, works with volunteer Andrea Hagens to develop relationships within the community to benefit Head Start programs.


STEVE AND LINDA ESPEER Maple Woods YMCA Early Learning Center Because of the support Steve and Linda provide at Maple Woods YMCA Early Learning Center, they have become the honorary grandparents of all of the children at the school. They first got involved four years ago when a grandchild began attending the school. They’ve continued their involvement since then, and currently another grandchild attends the school. Steve and Linda consistently join the school for field trips, providing extra help to support the teachers and make sure the kids are safe. That means pushing strollers, swimming, climbing in mazes, going on hayrides and participating in many activities alongside the children. They also visit the classrooms regularly to have meals with their grandchild and his classmates and encourage literacy by reading books to the children.

“All of the children in their grandchild’s class would say that they were helped, cared for and felt safer, knowing that ‘Grandpa and Grandma’ Espeer were there for all the fun and learning.” Sondra Jones, Center Director, Maple Woods YMCA Early Learning Center

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin LIZ STONE Olathe Family YMCA Early Learning Center Liz has been a consistent member of the family advisory committee at the Olathe Family YMCA Early Learning Center for the past two years. She has given her time to help plan several center events, organized teacher appreciation week, and set up Annual Campaign fundraising events. Liz not only pitches in to help in whatever way she can, but she is also known for her ability to get other families involved, too. Her own involvement goes beyond her child’s classroom to include center-wide events. She helps get other families involved by creating signs to post in the center to promote events.

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“Liz brings wonderful ideas and helps make the Olathe Family YMCA Early Learning Center a better place. She is one of the first people to volunteer if we need help.” Erica Ritter, Center Director, Olathe Family YMCA Early Learning Center


JULIE BATES Park Hill YMCA Head Start As the assistant principal at Gerner Family Early Education Center, Julie is an advocate for early childhood programs and is always introducing families to the Park Hill YMCA Head Start program. She has been involved with YMCA Head Start since 2011. Julie strengthens families of the Park Hill YMCA Head Start program by including them in activities and giving them access to resources provided by Park Hill School District. Overall, Julie helps advance the Park Hill YMCA Head Start program through her continued support of staff and families, and by sharing her passion for early childhood education.

“Julie continues to exemplify the core values of the Y through her ongoing commitment for early childhood education and school readiness.” Maria Purtle, Center Manager/ Family Advocate, Park Hill YMCA Head Start

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire U•ni•ty Com•mu•ni•ty Help•ful Gen•er•os•

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KANETHA KNOLLEY Thomas Roque YMCA Head Start A member of Thomas Roque YMCA Head Start’s Parent Committee, Kanetha shares her time in a variety of ways. Over the past three years, she has assisted with parent events, served on the Policy Committee, organized our free clothing table to give families access to additional resources, and assisted the family advocates with numerous tasks. Her contributions are particularly valuable at the Thomas Roque YMCA Head Start program because Head Start relies heavily on parent volunteers and in-kind service. Not only does Kanetha share her own time, she also has the initiative and drive to get other parents involved at our center.

“Kanetha is always available when we need a volunteer. She is just an all around helpful person.” Heather Gilliam, Center Supervisor, Thomas Roque YMCA Head Start

SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 21


ALICIA MCKNIGHT YMCA Head Start As the secretary of the YMCA Head Start Policy Committee, Alicia’s organized, consistent and timely meeting records are helpful for other Policy Committee members and staff. At monthly meetings, Alicia diligently records information, takes her notes home, types them up and shares them with other committee members at the next meeting. Alicia also assists during interviews for new staff, helping to make sure that the YMCA Head Start program is building a team of staff that can best meet the needs of families and their children.

“Alicia is timely and always willing to help out wherever, whenever needed.” Romanda Franklin, Community and Family Partnership Coordinator, YMCA Head Start

Alicia has shared her time with the Y for the past year. During that time, she has offered regular support and doesn’t hesitate to jump in to fill needs as they arise.

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin KATHY MEROLA Columbus Park YMCA Head Start Kathy makes a difference by helping children at Columbus Park YMCA Head Start develop language and literacy skills. She first got involved when she donated books to the center. In May 2015, she started visiting the morning and afternoon classes every Tuesday to read to the children and lead activities that explore the themes in the books. This is especially important to the diverse community of children and families served at Columbus Park YMCA Head Start. Many of the children there are English Language Learners, and reading is key to helping them become fluent in English. Kathy reads with lots of expression that makes it easier for them to learn and understand. She continues the learning by also providing activities to go along with the books, such as cooking activities, puppet shows and singing songs.

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“We have so many English Language Learners in our classes. Kathy provides them with exposure to books in English and is so expressive with the way she reads.” Suzan Schulz-Marks, Education Coordinator, Columbus Park YMCA Head Start


NORB STRACKER Northland YMCA Head Start Through sharing his time and resources, Norb helps make sure the 75 children at Northland YMCA Head Start have food to eat over the weekend. His volunteering began three years ago after he heard at his church, St. James Lutheran, about the increasing number of children coming to school at Northland YMCA Head Start very hungry on Monday mornings. Since then, Norb has been dedicated to delivering food for children at Northland YMCA Head Start to take home with them in Snack Sacks for the weekend.

“The children are always so proud to carry the Snack Sacks onto the bus, and parents are grateful.” Bev Sasek, Program Director, Northland YMCA Head Start

Norb consistently delivers food from St. James’ food pantry and Harvesters each week. He assists in unloading the food, which staff then bag for the children to take home. He is mindful of making sure each Snack Sack has a variety of foods for balanced meals, such as fresh fruit, a can of vegetables, meat and pasta, plus a loaf of bread.

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire U•ni•ty Com•mu•ni•ty Help•ful Gen•er•os•

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BRIDGETT SWANSON Excelsior Springs YMCA Head Start Bridgett’s contribution of time has created a positive outdoor learning environment for the students at Excelsior Springs YMCA Head Start. Last year, Bridgett and her family volunteered on a Saturday, cleaning the playground and pulling weeds. The work made the playground inviting for butterflies, birds and other insects, which in turn helped to stimulate the students’ learning about nature. Bridgett has been consistently involved at Excelsior Springs YMCA Head Start for the past 11 years. She has had four children in the program, including a daughter who is currently enrolled. They have supported the center’s family activities with their regular attendance.

“The work that they did on the playground really helped our staff. There never seemed to be enough time for us to work on it, but Bridgett stepped in and took care of it so well.” Melanie Brewer, Center Manager/Family Advocate, Excelsior Springs YMCA Head Start

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IN MEMORY OF RICK ALVAREZ Youth Development Services Rick was a dedicated volunteer for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City’s after school program for more than 10 years prior to his death in July 2015. Rick dedicated his life to enriching the lives of every youth he met, and shared that passion through volunteering with the Y Club after school program at Rosehill Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District. Rick started off his work with the Y as the coordinator of the STARS program, and then moved into the role of coordinator of the tutoring program funded by the 21st Century Grant at Rosehill Elementary. Rick helped youth at Rosehill bridge gaps in their learning. He exemplified the Y’s mission by expanding lessons beyond academics to teach the youth honesty, caring, respect and responsibility.

“Rick was an integral part of enhancing the program at Rosehill. Rick dedicated each afternoon to enriching the lives of youth in the Y Club programs.” Nickolas Fleeman, Program Director, YMCA Youth Development Services

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•i•ly A•bun•dance Kin

RECEIVE

GRATITUDE

GIVE GENEROSITY AMAZING

SELFLESS

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THANKS BLESSING

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105

1,402

3,548

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3,653

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board volunteers gave

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program volunteers gave

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total volunteers gave

*Based on 2014 volunteer data

hours of service

hours of service

hours of service

SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 25


Spirit of Service Award Each year, more than 3,600 volunteers give their time and talent at the Y to strengthen the community. This award recognizes top volunteers from each of the Y’s centers and programs throughout the greater Kansas City area.


Volunteer Buddies help athletes with special needs experience the joy of being part of a team in YMCA Challenger sports such as baseball. Not only do Buddies offer physical assistance as needed, they also offer encouragement and friendship.

PROGRAM VOL•UN•TEERS Thanks to the service of volunteers, the Y is able to offer a variety of programs beyond the walls of our centers and out in the community. Opportunities range from helping kids of all abilities have the opportunity to play sports to mentoring youth to achieve higher education and career goals. In addition, Youth Volunteer Corps hosted by the YMCA of Greater Kansas City is a unique opportunity for ages 11-18 to give their time in service projects to make the community stronger.

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LISA FOITLE YMCA Challenger

As a volunteer for the YMCA Challenger program since 2010, Lisa assists children and young adults with special needs as they participate in sports or social activities. She has also helped at the Challenge Your Fashion fundraising event. Lisa has a unique ability to empower the athletes and help teens build confidence. Her calm demeanor allows her to get close to kids with autism and sensory issues and support them. Parents appreciate her ability to support athletes to do things themselves and build confidence in the process. Athletes and other volunteers also welcome her sense of humor, leadership, and positive and caring attitude.

“Lisa is a reliable friend, supporter and volunteer Buddy. She empowers others in the program by supporting our athletes and also by leading other Buddies, too.” Raegan Schurr, Adaptive Program Director

Giv•ing Faith Grat•i•tude Sup•port Im•pact Friend•ship Fam•il•y A•bun•dance Kin DARIUS JACKSON Young Achievers While working and studying for his master’s degree, Darius took time out to give back as an Adult Achiever and be a mentor to the youth in the Young Achievers program. As a first generation college student, he is consistently engaged with helping our youth prepare for college and careers. In the past three years, Darius has given more than 300 hours of his time to serve youth in the Young Achievers program. In addition, Darius helped plan and coordinate the annual college tour. He then went a step further by taking his spring break to spend seven days and 3,300 miles chaperoning a bus full of teenagers on the college tour. He is a strong role model who listens well and exemplifies perseverance.

28 — SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015

“Darius helps students achieve their dreams of finishing high school and going to college.” Garrett Webster, Program Director, Young Achievers


PAUL PRUE YMCA Sports Not only does Paul volunteer his time and care to coach our youth through local sports at the Y, but he also is passionate for the Y’s mission to serve the community. He has impacted countless youth and volunteers countless hours as a volunteer sports coach for flag football, basketball and baseball for more than 15 years. In the last year alone, he has coached more the 30 kids ages 8-10. Besides Paul’s support of leagues each season, he also extends his help to develop amenities at the Y and practice facilities in the community that will better serve sports participants and their families. Paul’s dedication and hard work help the sports program reach its goals so that more children have the opportunity to be active, learn new skills, build confidence and make friends in YMCA sports.

“Paul is a go-to coach for me. Not only does he have the heart to be a coach on the field but also a mentor off the field.” Ted Nelson, Sports Coordinator, Blue Springs Family YMCA

nd•ness Self•less Car•ing Fun In•spire Un•it•y Comm•un•it•y Help•ful Gen•er•os• SVETA QUICK Youth Volunteer Corps Sveta has given her time as a volunteer for Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) since 2012 and has served 408 volunteer hours with our program. Sveta is only 17 but has already made an impact at the Y through her involvement with YVC. Sveta not only volunteered her time to directly impact the Y summer day camp program in the summer of 2015, but she also has volunteered in the community representing the Y’s focus on social responsibility and youth development. She has served at many nonprofit organizations including Kansas City Community Kitchen, Metro North Recycling Center and Wayside Waifs. In addition, Sveta has served on the local YVC Youth Advisory Board and participated in the National YVC conference. She assisted in successful special events and projects, including planning the 2014 and 2015 One Homeless Night event and planning the Harry Potter Book Drive to support the Kansas City Reach Out and Read program.

“Sveta is a quiet leader but incredibly impactful. Often, the actions of a true leader speak louder than his or her words, and Sveta really exemplifies that.” Chelsea Mann, Program Director, Youth Volunteer Corps hosted by the Y

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BE PART OF A CAUSE

COMMITTED TO MOVING PEOPLE AND OUR COMMUNITY FORWARD. 30 — SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015


GET IN•VOLVED VOLUNTEER

FOCUS ON HEALTHY LIVING

Take an active role in bringing about meaningful, enduring change right in your own neighborhood. At the Y, help deliver the benefits of good health, strong connections, greater self-confidence and a sense of security to all who seek it.

Well-being and fitness at the Y is so much more than just working out. It’s about good health inside and out, fostering connections with others, and achieving a balance of spirit, mind and body.

GIVE Donate to the Y to nurture the potential of kids, improve our community’s health and well-being, and give back and support our neighbors.

ADVOCATE Champion our cause. Tell others about the Y’s mission to create lasting change in our community through nurturing the potential of our youth, improving our community’s health and giving back to our neighbors.

JOIN With your Y membership, you become part of a cause for strengthening a community that is committed every day to helping you, your family and your neighbors learn, grow and thrive.

STAY INFORMED Keep up to date on all of our events and the important work we are doing in our community. Sign up for email updates at KansasCityYMCA.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, tips and special offers.

HOST Party with a purpose. Gather your friends, have fun and raise funds! It can be as simple as holding a bake sale, hosting a dinner party or having a garage sale and donating the proceeds to the Y.

GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK At the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, we are always looking for ways to grow and improve to better serve the community. Let us know what we can do for you.

SPIRIT OF SERVICE 2015 — 31


RECEIVE

GRATITU

GIVE AMAZING

SELFLESS FUN CARING

NSPIRE

SUPPORTING OTHERS

THANK YOU

HUMANITY

RELATIONSHIPS COMMUNITY BLESSINGS KINDNESS FUN

UNITE ABUNDANCE

HOPE

FAITH

Profile for YMCA of Greater Kansas City

2015 Spirit of Service Volunteer Recognition Celebration  

The best way to understand the definition of “volunteer” is to get to know the special people who share their time and talents at the YMCA o...

2015 Spirit of Service Volunteer Recognition Celebration  

The best way to understand the definition of “volunteer” is to get to know the special people who share their time and talents at the YMCA o...

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