Giving Back in Wichita
Do you watch an SPCA commercial with Sarah Mclachlan’s sorrowful melody and hold your pet closer? Does your stomach turn when you hear about a child abuse case on the news? Do you wish you could help the person on the news whose house burned down? Well, you can and it’s easy! There are many organizations in the Wichita area that could use people like you, who are inspired to change lives.
April is National Volunteer Month, and I challenge you to reach out to a local organization and offer your support in the best way you can.
I’ve made it even easier for you to start your philanthropic journey, by providing a list of non-profits in the area that includes their mission and a link to their websites. These not-for-profits are based out of Wichita, or are a local chapter of a national organization, and were chosen because of their roots to Wichita and having multiple ways to give support.
This is by no means a complete list of local non-profits. Please feel free to comment with other charitable organizations and how to help!
Volunteering for the Arts
Music Theatre of Wichita: This musical theater company has a mission of advancing the musical theatre art form by education and nurturing creators, artists, and audiences through the production of their shows. There are many ways to help Music Theatre of Wichita, and you can find this information on their website.
Volunteering for Animals
Beauties and Beasts: Founded in 2014, Beauties and Beasts purpose is to rescue death row animals from the shelter and place them in foster homes, where they can be shown the love that they deserve and become adoptable. They conduct fundraisers and post multiple times daily about dogs that need saving. They have many options for helping, volunteering time, donating money and items, fostering and adopting.
Lifeline Animal Placement & Protection (LAPP): LAPP is the only no-kill animal shelter in Wichita, and often times rescues animals from overflowing shelters, saving them from being euthanized. This shelter would benefit from gaining foster parents, donations, and volunteers to help showcase animals. You can put in a volunteer application on their website.
Kansas Humane Society (KHS): The Kansas Humane Society has adopted almost 2,000 pets to good homes since the beginning of 2018. Located on Hillside off of K-96, where they not only have their adoptable animals, but also hold camps for kids and offer education classes to pet parents. They have an entire section on their website titled “How to Help.”
Wichita Animal Action League (WAAL): This rescue is dedicated to rescuing animals in crisis. They were founded in 2013 and rely on volunteers to foster, rescue, work at their adoption center, and assist with fundraising and marketing. There are foster and volunteer applications on their website.
Volunteering for Children
Carpenter Place: Since 1943, Carpenter Place has provided a home for girls who suffer with family issues, homelessness, abuse and much more. You can find a volunteer application on their website and help them with upcoming events.
Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County: Started in 2006, CAC’s goal is to serve in a child’s best interest by using partner agencies. Their needs include volunteers for multiple events, financial assistance and more, which is listed on their website.
Heartspring: They are the leading provider of services and therapies for children with special needs and developmental disabilities; offering residential school, pediatric and autism services. You can donate money, items from their wishlist and participate in their annual Autism Care Walk.
Volunteering for the Community
Wichita Festivals: The organization that plans Riverfest every year is always looking for volunteers to make their ever growing events that much bigger. There are many ways to donate and volunteer for this organization.
Volunteering in Education
Fundamental Learning Center: Founded in 2001, Fundamental Learning Center (FLC) has been dedicated to the mission of “All Children Reading. All Children Succeeding.” FLC is a resource for educators, parents and children for dyslexia and other reading difficulties. You can best help them by becoming educated and spreading the word about dyslexia and donating funds for their private school and teaching programs.
Volunteering for the Environment
ICTrees: ICTrees is a volunteer-only organization that has planted 1500+ trees around Wichita since 2015. They are dedicated to planting trees across Wichita as they provide cooling shade, reduce air pollution, reduce water runoff and erosion, and add value and enhance beauty to our community. You can contact them about ways to get involved on their website. Pssst, one of the ways you can help is by planting a tree at home!
Volunteering for Health
Positive Directions: This organization offers HIV testing, Syphilis testing, condoms and sex education, all 100% free of charge. They started in 1992, focused on assisting HIV positive individuals, and have now turned their efforts towards prevention. You can help them by donating funds to help them purchase materials for their services. You can also attend their 2018 Aids Walk.
Victory in the Valley: This organization has spent 34 years providing emotional, spiritual and other services to improve the quality of cancer patients lives. You can donate money or volunteer your time.
Volunteering to Prevent Hunger
Kansas Food Bank: Based out of Wichita, the Kansas Food Bank has the mission of providing hunger-relief whenever and wherever it is needed. They provide meals to over 215,000 Kansans. Help them by donating money, food and volunteering within their facility.
Volunteering for Human Rights
Equality Kansas: Established in 2015, the Wichita chapter of Equality Kansas has a mission to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They do this through education, public policy advocacy and political action. You can help by donating or becoming a member.
Harbor House: Harbor House is a part of Catholic Charities. They want to help break the cycle of violence against women, men and their children. Offering free support, counseling, housing referrals, parenting, domestic violence education, and other classes and resources, as well as a safe place to stay. Visit their website for a wishlist of items and other volunteer opportunities.
You might already be helping a non-profit in the community and that’s great! Keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re helping to make a difference and your efforts are appreciated by many.
Be sure to learn about the non-profit you are interested in helping. There is always a fascinating story behind the birth of a not-for-profit organization. The story usually goes something like this: a moment or experience affected someone so deeply, that they were then inspired and knew their purpose was to help something or someone to have a better experience or to share a similar fantastic experience.
The people who start these organizations see a need and have a crazy amount of passion for what they do. They pour their energy, time, money and resources into making it work, and the greatest way that these organizations can thrive is by having the support of the community.