Kansas City, January 26, 2017: Kansas City Public Schools celebrated the volunteers who give their time, talents and energy on behalf of students during its debut Breakfast of Champions Thursday morning, Jan. 26 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
About 200 people were on hand to be honored for their volunteer efforts and to hear about why volunteering is vitally important as KCPS continues to move forward. Volunteering takes dedication and commitment, according to Partnerships and Volunteers Coordinator Nicole Collier White, and it’s important for KCPS to make its volunteers feel valued.
“Today, we are here to honor the ways you go above and beyond for KCPS students and families,” Ms. Collier White told the attendees. “You give your time generously without any expectation of reward. Yet you win with lasting friendships when a child sees gains in reading, a teacher gives you a hug in the hallway, or from just seeing kids be kids.”
Volunteering is thriving in KCPS, according to Collier White. In 2016, there were 1,500 people who volunteered in KCPS, an increase of 500 over the previous year.
The event program included brief remarks from KCPS Board of Directors Chair Melissa Robinson, GiGi Wolf of the Federal Reserve Bank and Greg Housel of the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation.
KCPS staff and partners nominated 184 outstanding volunteers to attend the breakfast. Collier White expressed the school system’s appreciation for all volunteers, while also showcasing a handful of specific individuals.
The event was also an opportunity to recognize partner organizations who do an extraordinary job of marshalling volunteer support on behalf of KCPS. Friendship Baptist Church, Front Porch Alliance/PAL Program, Church of the Resurrection and Lead to Read all had representatives at the breakfast.
Lead to Read Interim Director Pauly Hart spoke about her organization’s efforts to help kids in grades one through four improve their basic reading skills by pairing them with a trusted, caring adult from the community.
KCPS Superintendent Mark Bedell delivered the keynote address at the breakfast. He focused on how volunteers and partner organizations can “coach up” students by doing things like serving as a mentor.
“Our students need deep, long-term relationships with caring adults who can listen, guide and serve as role models,” Dr. Bedell said. “Our goal is to pair mentors with about half of our students. That’s a big lift and we’re going to need everyone to lift with us.”