Every year Rainbows sets aside a day to honor staff members who have dedicated 10 or more years to making a difference in the lives of Rainbows’ children with special needs and their families. This year the 10:15+ Club celebration will be a virtual event for most of the 60 Club members who will congratulate milestone honorees via Zoom.
The day of surprises begins with a specialty beverage courtesy of Rainbows’ Board of Directors and Executive Leadership Team. The Sunflower Espresso truck will be serving up deliciousness from 8-10 a.m. in the Kids’ Point parking lot. Staff members can drop by to get a drink and a muffin to go before activities begin. Other surprises and special guests will be revealed as the celebration continues.
Twelve special staff members celebrating 15, 20, 25 and 30 years at Rainbows will be honored during the Awards ceremony. Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services staff members Pam Chiles and Dawna Weed will be honored for 30 years of service.
Pam is a physical therapist for the Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services program. Among her many accomplishments, Pam was the leader in establishing a Hydrotherapy program at the West Branch YMCA in 1999. “The YMCA has been generous in donating their pools and our program is now in 3 of its branches,” said Pam.
“Pam is a dedicated therapist, advocating for her families and taking on extra visits because she wants to be sure that her families have access to the best resources available,” said Alexia Foster, Sedgwick County Infant/Toddler Services Coordinator. “And then Pam is right beside those same families, cheering for them as their children make progress.”
After 30 years of caring for Rainbows’ children, Pam’s favorite part of her job remains the same. “The faces of the parents when they see their child walk for the first time,” said Pam. “It’s always my favorite memory!” Read more of Pam’s story.
Dawna Weed is the occupational therapist for Sedgwick County’s ITS program. Dawna decided to join the Rainbows’ team 30 years ago, after she “experienced the sadness of being unable to provide services to children and families due to lack of financial means through another agency,” she said. “I was delighted to be able to help children, no matter their financial status.”
“Dawna has so much experience and knowledge about all things pediatric,” said Alexia. “And even though she has all that knowledge she continues to seek out new knowledge from her co-workers and from experts in her field. She even traveled out of state to learn a new evaluation tool that she could use to help her families. She uses all of that knowledge to help the children on her caseload progress and thrive.”
“Dawna makes a child’s family her first priority, doing whatever it takes to accommodate their needs because she knows a strong family is key to meeting a child’s developmental needs,” said Alexia.
“Starting a visit with a parent sharing feelings of success for themselves and their children is probably my favorite part of my job,” said Dawna. “I also love learning from my families and being able to share their wisdom with others.” Read more of Dawna’s story.
“Pam and Dawna are both life-long learners,” said Alexia, “continually seeking out new information from co-workers and outside resources. They are exceptional representatives and ambassadors for Rainbows.”
Also celebrating 2020 milestones are Jane Eby, Research Coordinator, and Beth Watkins, Speech Therapist, 15 years; Wes Cantrell, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Kerri Dixon, Foster Care Social Worker and Targeted Case Manager, Yolanda Castillo, Para-educator, Brenda Marr, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Rossana Gonzales, Mental Health Assistant, and Amy Foster, Physical Therapist, 20 years; Tina Beems, Management Information Systems Coordinator, and Paco Price, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, 25 years.
Thank you to all of our 10:15+ Club members for your dedication and passion for sharing the mission of Rainbows to enhance the lives of children with special needs and their families by bringing together community resources and providing customized services. You are the heart and hands of this organization.