Within each Advance Kansas class, groups are formed to work on diversity-related issues within the community. Participants put their learning to action as they create and carry out community action projects. Throughout the implementation of their projects, participants acquire and apply leadership skills for addressing diversity efforts in the workplace and in the greater community.
Class V, 2013
Child Trafficking Prevention
This project saw the need to increase awareness of human trafficking among middle-school aged children. Along with local law enforcement, they developed curriculum on raising self-esteem and awareness of exploitative relationships which can lead to child trafficking. The curriculum is used in the Boys & Girls Club and at the Gordon Parks Academy. The group secured funding from the City of Wichita for an SRO (student resource officer) at Gordon Parks for the 2013-14 school year.
Foster Parent Care Packages
One of the projects taken on in Class V was collecting items for foster parents. These items allow a child in an emergency drop-off situation to come with the items they will need for their stay, instead of forcing foster parents on diaper and/or toiletry runs when a child is brought to them in the middle of the night. These care packages offer support and help foster parents serve the children they welcome into their homes.
Men, Real Heroes
This project helped organize a recognition event and provided Real Men, Real Heroes with an event planning model for future activities. Real Men, Real Heroes provides mentors to boys who lack father figures in their lives.
Curb Painting Project
Curb Painting Project
Many homes in Wichita do not have visible house numbers. Numerals fade, get painted over or just fall off costing First Responders valuable time as they rush to residential emergencies. This can mean the difference between life and death. The curb painting project painted house numbers on curbs in a Wichita neighborhood.
This project raised funds for Youth Haven, a shelter for homeless youth operated by Interfaith Ministries. A Wichita study showed a lack of appropriate shelter and services for homeless youth. Adult shelters are unsuitable for them because of their different levels of developmental maturity and behavior patterns. Youth on the streets or in non-permanent residences are vulnerable to others, including those engaged in human trafficking. Youth Haven, designed to provide safe shelter and case management, stabilization services, information, and referral, aims to address these problems and provide hope.
Class IV, 2012
| Growing Oz
Growing Oz planned and created a sustainable garden for the Opportunity Zone, a Wichita Children's Home project. Research shows that transient children benefit from planting a garden and watching it grow. The youth provided input on what they wanted to grow, a raised bed was created and the garden planted. The neighborhood got involved by assisting financially and with manual labor.
The Community Connections group surveyed more than 20 community nonprofits to see if there was a desire for younger members of the community to serve on boards and committees. The overwhelming answer was "yes." The group produced a video to help connect young leaders with nonprofits in need of their talent. The video is on YouTube for YPW, the Non-profit Chamber of Service and others to view and utilize as needed. This project is a "win-win-win"— a win for young leaders, a win for nonprofits and a win for the community.
For the Love of Chance
The For the Love of Chance group helped structure an advisory council to assist in the nonprofit's programs. Before the Advance Kansas team extended their assistance, the program had been run by one mom. The group also helped the Miracle League, a baseball league for kids ages 5-18 with special needs, which is also run by For the Love of Chance.
Foster Kids to Camp
Foster children often don't get to participate in summer camp because the families who support them receive such a small stipend each month for care. This group's goal was to send 10 foster children to camp during the summer of 2012. They exceeded their goal, sending 17 foster children to camp, thanks to donations and scholarships from the Girl Scouts, Butler Kids College and Camp Allegro.
Step Out for Diabetes
The Step Out for Diabetes group's goal is to raise awareness of diabetes and recruit more and more diverse walkers for the American Diabetes Association Step Out for Diabetes walk event in October 2012.
Class III, 2011
The Continuing the Conversation Group in 2011 created Advancers, the Advance Kansas Alumni Association, to focus on building a critical mass within our state through recruitment, building bridges/networking, and increasing awareness.
One of the community projects undertaken in 2011 was to host a Bare Necessities Drive to benefit the Wichita Children's Home. The drive had a donation goal of collecting 2,500 diapers, socks and underwear in order provide the bare necessities to children who are brought to the home.
This 2011 community action project resulted in a video developed for awareness of hunger issues. The group will distribute this video to organizations that deal with hunger to serve as a resource for other organizations that are trying to develop awareness of the issue.
Project High 5
In 2011, the Project High "5" group developed a directory of qualified people willing to mentor, advise and speak to children in the community to address the issue that childrens' futures are impacted by the people around them.
Asperger's Disorder: Meeting the Needs
In 2011, the Starting the Conversation group established a focus group to identify and understand the needs of parents and adults with Aspergers Disorder and to create a forum to build awareness, make connections, and network.
Name: Mary Moon