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August 2, 2017

The Final Post

Seeing wichita through fresh eyes, part 4

Alejo Cabral

We’ve discussed my favorite places and things, the thriving downtown entertainment area, adventures to be had and all the fab places to live in Wichita. You might be wondering what’s left.

Are you asking yourself, isn’t there still more we can do? Well, yes, there is! There are TONS of opportunity for community involvement in Wichita and many ways to give back. There are thousands of local, regional and national nonprofits based in Wichita. You can easily find one to fit your passion!

Keep reading for information on the wide variety of delightful nonprofits that Wichita has to offer, and as a bonus a couple of my favorites!

ENVISION

Envision is one of my personal favorite places to volunteer. Full disclosure, I heard about Envision through my mom, Heather Hogan, who is their Senior Vice President, Foundation & Mission Services. That is the reason I am so familiar with their volunteer programs.

They are a nonprofit that strives to improve the quality of life and provide inspiration for the blind and visually impaired. They provide employment opportunities, rehabilitation services, continuing medical education for low vision practitioners and close practice gaps through device, techniques and technology development utilizing applied research methodologies. If your sweet spot is helping others who each and every day have to create adaptations to function in everyday life this is the non-profit for you! The people Envision serves fight obstacles day in and day out. They learn to thrive in a world that is not tailored to them.

Envision has numerous opportunities for volunteering – from multiple programs geared toward children and young adults to seniors – there is something that will resonate with you. My personal passion is children and volunteering with youth. I love to see them building new talents and exploring ways to bring beautiful things into this world. Envision offers youth volunteer opportunities such as Homework Club, Golf Clinics, The Beat Goes On music workshop, Art Programs, Level Up Conference – a national conference for blind and visually impaired youth – and Heather’s Camp, a week long summer adventure camp. Choose what appeals most to you!

If you would rather work with all ages and love the great outdoors, then Envision Golf Program is for you! You can enjoy the beautiful landscape while getting a huge reward, helping someone who doesn’t have the same advantages as you.

If Envision sounds like the place that you want to volunteer, you can contact outreach@envisionus.com, or call Jennifer Brown, volunteer coordinator, at 316-440-1529. You can also visit https://www.envisionus.com/How-You-Can-Help/Volunteer-Opportunities.

KANSAS HUMANE SOCIETY

If you read my last blog I’m sure you caught the drift that animals are my second (maybe first) passion. Something about a furry friend with a wiggly tail and cheeky grin, greeting you at the door when you get home everyday warms my heart. That’s why the Kansas Humane Society [KHS] is toward the top of my favorites list.

Many animals are homeless and end up in shelters each day. The sheer quantity of animals that arrive in the system create hardships for the Humane Society. Staff does not have enough time to assist and process every single animal. Volunteers are so important to ensuring that all abandoned animals receive love and support.

As with Envision, the Humane Society offers many different ways to volunteer. You can socialize with the animals and dole out much deserved attention, or you can walk dogs so they get the exercise they so badly need. KHS is a great way to get your animal fix (after all, we can’t personally house them all). Fair warning, if you are a pet lover like me it is hard to say no to their adorable faces. Aspiring to be a veterinarian? You can help out in the veterinary clinic as a volunteer vet assistant. You can also work with potential adopters and help them on their way to pet ownership!

If you don’t think you can commit time to coming into the Humane Society, but still want to find a way to help you can also foster animals. As a foster parent you assist the animal with in-home rehabilitation. Being a foster parent removes the animal from the shelter environment. Hopefully, with your care, the animal becomes more socialized and prepares them to be placed with a new, loving family.

Animal lovers please apply! You can contact Dayna Boso, director of volunteers, at 316-524-9196, or visit www.kshumane.org.

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY

So working directly with children or animals isn’t your thing? Then try this on for size! Habitat for Humanity’s goal is to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. On August 19 from 8:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. YPW is partnering with Habitat for Humanity in A Brush with Kindness [ABWK]. ABWK is Habitat for Humanity’s newest program. They perform exterior home repairs on preexisting homes. Some examples of projects include, yard clean-up, fence repair or painting.

If you can’t make it out to this particular event, there are other ways that you can volunteer. Volunteers have the opportunity to build homes, work at their ReStore retail location, work on the building committee or even serve as a budget coach. Without volunteers Habitat for Humanity would not be possible. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as knowing that you built a stable and loving environment for a family in need.

Does this sound like your niche? Contact Jonathan Rivers, volunteer coordinator, at jonathan@wichitahabitat.org, or call at 316-269-0755. You can also visit https://www.wichitahabitat.org/volunteer/.

 

I could go on and on about nonprofits in Wichita. There are still so many AMAZING places that need volunteers, such as Catholic Charities, Wichita Children’s Home, Kansas Food Bank and many, many others. Want to know about even more great opportunities? Visit YPW’s Volunteer Opportunities page to learn more about two organizations that connect volunteers to organizations in need of volunteers.

NOT NEXT TIME, BUT THE LAST TIME

As I end this blog, I am sad that my internship time is up with YPW and The Chamber. I would like to leave them with a HUGE thank you for allowing me to learn and grow as a professional this summer. I have learned so much and they have allowed me to see Wichita in a new light. For anyone that has read my blogs throughout the summer, thank you as well! I enjoyed being able to share a few of my favorite things about this vibrant city.

As I leave I want to share a few things that I have learned over the summer.

  1. Do not be afraid to step out of your bubble. Meet new people, make connections! You never know where those connections may take you.
  2. Go to new places. Experience the city. Break out of the rut and try a new coffee place or a new restaurant. Who knows? It might just end up being your favorite.
  3. Always take the time to say hi to your coworkers. One of my favorite things about the Chamber is that they welcomed me with open arms and a smile. I never felt like I didn’t belong.

I hope that everyone enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them. I know that I will continue to learn new things about this city and I will always be able to see Wichita through fresh eyes.

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