2019 COLGATE BRIGHT SMILES, BRIGHT FUTURES COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD WINNER
The Junior League of Wichita
In 2008, the Wichita area experienced a surge in child fatalities. Outraged, determined and compelled to take action, the Junior League of Wichita members started work on a project that would combat child abuse through spreading awareness and intervention.
They began with a traveling puppet show, which has now educated over 30,000 third and fourth graders on child abuse and sexual abuse. As awareness has spread, the puppet show has resulted in the reporting of 54 cases of abuse or neglect.
In 2013, the Junior League of Wichita funded the training wing of the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County. This Center provides services to 2,000 children and investigates 4,500 reports annually. Attacking another facet of the issue, the League engages their community with a project called Trash bag Handbag, which raises awareness and funds for children living in foster care – children at a greater risk for unreported child abuse.
The League has been able to accomplish incredible things with a number of organizations, including the Wichita Children’s Home, the Wichita Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention, Two Lives at a Time and ChildAbuseWichita.org, to name a few. As an example, through the partnership with Two Lives at a Time, the Junior League of Wichita purchased a van for local nurses to distribute self-care items, diapers, formula, clothes and safety equipment to young mothers still in the process of transitioning to independence. The fruitful partnership provided $25,000 in scholarships to go toward the support of young parents attending college.