“Why would I go to Rainbows’ GLOW Run | Walk?”
I know you’ve thought it at least once…
Yet another GLOW Run | Walk post pops up on your Facebook feed prompting you to register, you get the event rack card in the mail, you see the event posters plastered on doors and windows at every business in town, and you think to yourself, “Why should I want to support Rainbows?”
That’s where I come in! I have spent the last year and a half working as Rainbows’ Volunteer Coordinator, and this Saturday will be my second GLOW Run | Walk with the agency. Though some might consider my time at Rainbows to be brief, I feel as if I have already learned so much about children with special needs, the services Rainbows provides for them, and the truly amazing people who are behind them. The nature of my job allows me to engage with the wonderful Rainbows’ staff from each of our locations on a very regular basis. I always enjoy hearing more about, and sometimes seeing first hand, what Rainbows’ therapists, teachers, case managers, and direct service providers do for the children and families they serve day in and day out.
I think if you knew what I know about the children we serve and the people who provide those services, you wouldn’t be asking why you should support Rainbows’ mission. If you saw the kids they see and the progress they make over the days, weeks, and years, you wouldn’t be asking yourself why you should attend Rainbows’ GLOW Run | Walk. If you already knew what I know, you wouldn’t miss it!
The GLOW Run | Walk is a fundraiser that makes vital services for infants and toddlers possible, and YOU can be a part ot it! This event directly benefits Rainbows’ children and families served in Butler County. Our Butler County employees adore the children and families they work with, and I think it’s safe to say that feeling is reciprocated. This team of 10 covers the entire county, providing early intervention for infants and toddlers through Rainbows’ Bright Beginnings program.
I want you to meet a few of them:
Joanna Wiebe chose to become a Speech-Language Pathologist because she enjoys working with people. She started college studying business, but by her sophomore year realized she should change career paths. “Speech Pathology came to me like a divine inspiration, and I have loved it ever since,” said Joanna. For her, a normal day begins and ends with a home visit. “I love that I am greeted with smiles when I come to a family’s door. The child usually knows this is their time to get extra attention and the parents are often eager to share their success or concerns of the week,” said Joanna. Commonly, the parents share their progress and Joanna asks them questions about communication or feeding. “My very favorite thing is when something new is modeled and the child copies immediately. You and the family have just carved a pathway that had never been made in that child before,” she said.
“I have wanted to work with special needs children since I was a child,” said Angela Pulaski, a Physical Therapist who has worked at Rainbows since 1997. She was inspired to study in this field because her Great Uncle Phil was diagnosed with Down syndrome. She always felt that more could have been done to challenge and teach him as he was growing up. Angela obtained a Master’s of Physical Therapy from Wichita State University and then started working for Rainbows’ Bright Beginnings in Butler County just after it opened. Each day she travels to her client’s homes to provide physical therapy for an infant or toddler. “There is no standard day in home based,” she said. “I have learned that I will never have ‘seen it all.’”
Melissa Baumgartel also provides services through Rainbows’ Bright Beginnings in Butler County. Before coming to Rainbows, Melissa worked with children ages 3-5 through the school district as an Early Childhood Special Education teacher for 12 years. While she was getting her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, she did her practicum at Rainbows’ Bright Beginnings, but also has another unique connection to Rainbows. “My son received Rainbows’ services, and as a parent I valued their input and new approaches for helping me to work with my son,” said Melissa.
Now that you know what I know, I hope you will join us in supporting Rainbows’ Butler County services and the staff who provide them. Join us this Saturday, May 20 for Rainbows’ GLOW Run | Walk in Augusta, Kansas. The event will be held at Lincoln Elementary School and is family-friendly affair, including: food trucks, Touch-a-Truck display, kids’ activities, princesses, music, GLOW photo booth, a live broadcast from B98, the Fireshark Gaming’s mobile gaming trailer, a timed 5K, 1-mile family-fun walk, contests and more!
-Written by Sidni Garwood, Rainbows’ Volunteer Coordinator