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Volunteers are a fundamental part of Rainbows' mission.

The Volunteer Difference

Written by Sidni Garwood, Volunteer Coordinator

As our Mission Statement says, Rainbows brings together community resources to benefit children with special needs. Because volunteers are a resource of our community, they are a fundamental part of our mission here at Rainbows. Graycee Meyer is a 16 year old Nebraska native who attends high school in Wichita. Since November, Graycee has been volunteering at Rainbows’ Kids’ Cove, and logs an average of 6 hours of work per week. “I do whatever is needed of me, which mostly involves organizing, helping with projects, and spending time with the kids,” said Graycee. She loves volunteering because she feels like she is making a difference. “This experience has taught me that giving back to the community is really rewarding, especially when you get to be around the people at Rainbows,” she said. “My favorite part is knowing I am helping out such an awesome place.” Kendrall Drake, a Wichita native and also a licensed physical therapist, is another dedicated Rainbows’ volunteer. She spends several days a month supporting Rainbows’ therapists through the water therapy program. Despite Kendall’s full schedule as a wife and mother, she remains a strong advocate of volunteering at Rainbows.

“I would absolutely recommend volunteering at Rainbows; it is so rewarding,” she said. “You always receive more than you give when you work with children like this. If someone was looking to volunteer somewhere and they enjoy children, I would highly suggest that they look into the opportunities that Rainbows provides the community.”

Miss Autumn Hutchinson, the head teacher in classroom 7 at Rainbows’ Kids’ Point, really enjoys having Celeste Smith as a volunteer in her class. “The kids love Celeste,” Autumn said. “When she comes into the room they run to her and give her a huge hug.” Celeste has been volunteering at Rainbows since October 2015 and has observed the big difference Rainbows’ childcare makes in the lives of children. “I love witnessing all the support the kids get and I’m happy to be a part of that. You can actually see the improvements happen right in front of you,” Celeste said. Miss Autumn agrees that great things happen at Rainbows, and that Celeste is a part of the impact that takes place. “The smiles on the children’s faces tell me she really makes a difference in their lives,” Autumn said. “But, I can also tell the children make a difference in Celeste’s life as well. In 2015, Rainbows United benefitted from the donation of 12,993 volunteer hours from wonderful volunteers like Graycee, Kendall, and Celeste. Based on the 2013 Kansas dollar value of $20.88 per volunteer hour, Rainbows accumulated the equivalent of $271,293.84 in volunteer hours in 2015. In addition to those hours, Rainbows was also the recipient of 8,463 VISTA volunteer hours through our partnership with the WSU AmeriCorps program, 1,760 hours contributed by our Board of Directors, and nearly 500 hours that were given by the ladies of Friends of the Heart. From January 2015 to December 2015, Rainbows engaged 576 new and unduplicated volunteers and provided 35 group volunteer opportunities to the community. We love our volunteers at Rainbows! If you have participated as a volunteer for Rainbows, in any capacity, please know that we recognize the importance of your role in this organization and we THANK YOU for your service. We couldn’t fulfill our mission without you! You can read about some of our amazing volunteers and their personal stories here

If you are looking for ways to give back and volunteer at Rainbows, consider joining us as a volunteer for our next special event, Rainbows’ GLOW Run | Walk. Check out the opportunities here!