In more than 27 years of serving families through Rainbows, Occupational Therapist Laura Barnes finds joy in working with children as well as their families and caregivers. “I chose to work with children because I love them,” Laura said.
Incredibly dedicated and ready to serve
Melissa Baumgartel is the newest addition to Rainbows’ Bright Beginnings in Butler County. Before coming to Rainbows, she worked with children ages 3-5 through the school district as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher for 12 years.
For Family Resource Specialist Lutfe Begum, Rainbows is like home. She enjoys coming to work every day with her coworkers that are more like family. Lutfe has served with Rainbows for more than 23 years, ten of which were spent as an Occupational/Physical Therapy Assistant.
Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Kenda Belknap, says there was no decision making in how she became a teacher. “I came from a long line of teachers so I think it was just always in the back of my mind,” she said. Kenda has served at Rainbows for 10 years, doing what she loves.
Since she was little, Annabel Bentley knew she wanted to be a teacher. Now, serving as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Annabel is the lead teacher for Classroom 6 at Rainbows’ Kids’ Point.
“I was just looking for a job,” Parker Broadfoot said. “My mom, who has worked with Rainbows for years as an Infant/Toddler Early Childhood Special Education teacher suggested Camp Woodchuck. Once I started, I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
For Allison Bruntz, July 2015 marks two years of her career as an Occupational Therapist for Rainbows’ Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services. Allison received her degree in Occupational Therapy from KU Medical Center in 2001.
Linda Cathey’s mother was a pediatric nurse and, growing up, Linda loved going to work with her to play with the children. In high school, Linda began volunteering with the Special Olympics. These experiences led Linda to pursue a career as a physical therapist assistant at Rainbows.
After volunteering at Rainbows, Kendra Chanda knew she wanted to pursue a career here. Kendra is now a Respite worker with the majority of her work being in the homes of the children she works with.
Denise Chichester began her career with Rainbows in 1993 as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher and worked her way through many other positions until 2001. In 2010, Denise returned to Rainbows as an Autism Specialist and Respite provider.
Kathy became part of the Rainbows family in 1993 when her previous employer, Wichita Council for Preschool Blind (WPCB), was acquired by Rainbows. She is now the only WPCB staff still employed by Rainbows.
“I love going to work,” said Cassie Coyan, Lead Teacher of Classroom 5 at Kids’ Point. Cassie celebrates 2 years of serving at Rainbows in August 2015. She has an associate’s degree in child development and is working towards completing her associate’s degree in early childhood education.