The following are brief stories of how many local people are LIVING UNITED here in Reno County. We hope you'll recognize some neighbors and be inspired to LIVE UNITED too.
It started by someone telling me there was a great need of African-American homes for displaced children. 38 foster children and two adoptions later, my husband and I are LIVING UNITED daily with children who need temporary and permanent home placements. There's still a great need of stable homes for many children.
My Name is Pat.
Working full time and raising three active children keeps me real busy. Outside of helping at my children's schools whenever I can, I don't have a lot of other time to volunteer right now. I know that someday I will again. But for now, I give to United Way at my workplace through payroll deduction. It's easy and convenient, and I know that it makes a difference in the community where I'm raising my family. That's how I LIVE UNITED.
I'm known as Grandpa Silly.
Over the past seven years, I've told many stories, some funny and some just interesting. Of the thousands of kids I've read to, told stories to, helped with homework, and had lunch with, a rough-around-the-edges kid named Bailey stands out because one day he said, "I love you Grandpa Silly". My name is Virgil. I LIVE UNITED by volunteering at the schools, because I refuse to give up on these kids.
I've been involved in the arts ever since I can remember from early childhood. It was part of our family. I've learned that people need people and art helps people connect with others. Even if they don't like the art, it still makes them connect. Art expression is like being given permission to do something. There's freedom in it. I share the art of music, which helps people connect.
My name is Earl.
Employees are valuable to our bank and to the community. To encourage new community volunteerism and support employees who have already made volunteering a priority, Central Community Outreach was developed as a program that rewards employees for volunteer work. Employees receive up to 2 hours per month of regular pay for volunteer work during normal banking hours. I believe this supports our business strategy of putting employees first, customers second and shareholders third. And we ultimately all benefit from improved community conditions.
I've always believed it's important to make my voice heard and get involved in important community issues. Communities don't change without active members. A few years ago, I suffered a stroke and couldn't speak. I now have the gift of voice back and use it as an active board member for three non-profit organizations. These nonprofit organizations help speak for those who don't have a voice for themselves.
I have no idea how many teams or kids I've coached as a volunteer, but I've been doing it for 15 years. I mostly enjoy being involved in my own sons' lives, who are each enthusiasts for football, baseball, t-ball, basketball, dodgeball and soccer. But, I can also help other kids see the value of physical fitness, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Victory and agony of defeat are both great experiences for these kids. Coaching little league, while being an involved dad, is how I LIVE UNITED.
It's important to me to do anything possible to make Hutchinson a better place for my kids. I have a dream of kids wanting to come back from college and live in Hutchinson. I don't feel like we're there yet, so I participate in community issues, make my voice heard, encourage others to speak out, and support efforts like United Way and Boys & Girls Club. My wife and I use our web design business to support local charity and civic groups. That's how I LIVE UNITED.
My name is Helen.
Nearly 20 years ago, I saw a need for affordable housing in Hutchinson. So, I founded Interfaith Housing Services. Today, I continue the quest to ensure good housing for all Hutchinson residents. Making my experience known and voice heard on the Hutchinson Housing Commission and Hutchinson Housing Authority has helped. I was taught to take care of my neighbor from my Christian faith, so I do and that's how I LIVE UNITED.
I'm Baylee and I'm eleven.
I'm interested in sharing information about what's happening inthe teenage and tween-age world. I write a column for the online newpaper, What's Up Hutch? Spreading information helps people connect.
My name is Carl.
I was a Boys and Girls Club member in Arizona as a youth. Now, that I'm in the position to help, I think it's just fun to. One time, I negotiated with a business to get some cool treats on a summer day for the kids at Boys and Girls Club. The look on kids' faces when someone does a random act of kindness is priceless. I advocate, volunteer and give to programs such as United Way and the Boys and Girls Club because they serve the greater good.
My name is Barbara.
I became good friends with Bertha through the Faith-in-Action program, so weekly we go shopping, have coffee at Metro, go to doctor's appointments, or just laugh and talk. Bertha became depressed after her husband died. It's so easy to become isolated when you live alone. I really enjoy seniors, so it's natural for me to listen and simply carry on conversation with her. Volunteering at something that comes natural is an enjoyable way to LIVE UNITED.
I give generously. Surprised?
I'm Beth and you could say kids are "my thing".
I believe in the cliche "it takes a village to raise a child". This comes from raising two of my own and knowing how important it is to be involved in their lives. So I assist my husband leading the youth group at our church and teach church classes for pre-K and kindergarten kids. I also enjoy lending my voice and experience on the Hadley Daycare Board of Directors. Not everyone has to help in a big way. The little things add up to big differences.
Growing up, my mother was a single mom working two jobs. I know how hard circumstances can be for some people. I enjoy being able to give my personal time and professional services to non profits and my daughter's school. I've been on the other side of the coin, and that's why it feels good to help out.
I'm a volunteer firefighter. My dad is a fire chief, so I was raised around it. It feels really good to help someone in crisis. That's how I LIVE UNITED.
Lynette is my name.
Early childhood learning has been a passion of mine since I came to this community. Children need a stimulating environment early on for their brains to develop to their potential, which affects the rest of their school and working lives. I advocate for children because they can't. I have good collaborative skills and use them to partner with others to launch programs like the Early Childhood Council, which later manifested into Smart Start. Advocating for those who don't have a voice for themselves and collaborating with others who can do something about it are ways I LIVE UNITED.
My name is John.
My parents grew up in years of drought and dust storms. They taught me what need is and about strong work ethics. My business was built on strong work ethics. Being one of the fortunate people in business, I've always thought it's important to give back to the community and help those that have needs. I see the integral work that United Way does so I support it. I also encourage the 120 people that my business employs to financially support and give time to the community in which they live and raise their families. Leading by example and encouragement is how I LIVE UNITED.
I enjoy mentoring youth so I volunteer 1 hour per week with Youth Friends. We read and play most days. Some days we do homework. I was blessed with a great childhood, so I want to pass on something stable and positive to someone that doesn't have that. It's how I choose to LIVE UNITED.
My name is Ralph.
I might be a Bostonian transplanted in Kansas, but I found my spot in Hutchinson. My wife and I volunteer weekly to deliver Meals on Wheels. We've been doing it for about two decades now. We're serving people who othewise wouldn't be having a hot meal.