Congratulations to our winners
1st place: Bonner Springs Animal Rescue, Inc.
2nd place: Kaw Valley Young Life & Wyldlife
3rd place: Edwardsville Kiwanis Club
Union Bank & Trust is once again shining a spotlight on a few vital organizations and the services they provide to Bonner Springs, Edwardsville and the surrounding communities. Community Choice Challenge allows area residents to show their support by voting for their favorite charity. Union Bank & Trust staff, along with community leaders, identified ten local non-profits eligible for the challenge. On November 14, Union Bank & Trust will issue grants to the three organizations receiving the most votes. First place will receive $5,000; Second place $3,000; and Third place $2,000.
About the Agencies
BONNER ANIMAL RESCUE, INC.
Bonner Animal Rescue, Inc. (BAR) was founded in 2010 and driven by the plight of abandoned, neglected, and unclaimed pets in Bonner Springs and surrounding communities. Each year, BAR rescues more than 300 cats and dogs; then houses, feeds, vets and rehomes them. In the past four years, these efforts have saved our city more than $145,000 by eliminating euthanasia of adoptable animals and working alongside animal control to deal with large, unmanaged pet populations.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, Bonner Rescue does not receive any city, state, or federal funding. They exists solely on the generosity of supporters and fundraising events. Their presence in the community also includes public education, social work and collaboration with local businesses. The shelter, located in downtown Bonner Springs, can house 4-5 dogs and up to 25 cats, plus a large network of foster homes. They are extremely proud of their 5 year, no-kill status, believing the life of every adoptable pet has value and potential to be placed in a new home.
Should Bonner Animal Rescue receive one of Union Bank & Trust’s Community Challenge grants, the funds would be used toward facilitating a program to offer low-cost (or no-cost) spay/ neuter services to our city’s residents. Our goal is to insure that no dog or cat is denied those vet services due to income or circumstances. This program will play a huge role in slowing the spread of pet disease, neglectful breeding and the over population of feral animals living at large in Bonner Springs.
BONNER SPRINGS ARTS ALLIANCE
The Bonner Springs Arts Alliance was formed in January 2014. Over forty volunteer members share the Alliance’s vision to partner with local organizations to create an arts center for cultural events and activities - making Bonner Springs a destination for the arts. The Bonner Springs Arts Alliance is funded by a combination of membership dues and donations.
The mission of the Bonner Springs Arts Alliance is to provide creative and artistic opportunities and education for all ages in the literary, performing, and visual arts and to promote art appreciation and participation in the Bonner Springs community and surrounding area.
The Arts Alliance sponsored the 2nd annual Festival of the Arts in downtown Bonner Springs this summer. They will also sponsor the upcoming Art Gallery Gala, featuring original works of art by members on November 7. They have presented several evening workshops on painting and clay sculpture, and Arts Alliance members create art once a month with residents at the Bonner Springs Nursing Home. The BSAA Writers Circle meets monthly to encourage those interested in writing.
If the Bonner Springs Arts Alliance were to receive a Community Choice Challenge grant, the money would be used to complete the renovation of the McDanield building 2nd floor as an arts center. They would also use the funds to provide community art projects and cultural events.
BONNER SPRINGS EDWARDSVILLE EDUCATION FOUNDATION
The Bonner Springs – Edwardsville Education Foundation, founded in 1999, is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization providing scholarships, grants, and recognition programs for the students and teachers of the Bonner Springs – Edwardsville School District. The Foundation welcomes and guides students, parents, alumni, business partners, and patrons in the promotion of continued educational excellence in the schools of USD #204. The Foundation works diligently to build and promote supportive relationships between the schools and the business community.
Since its inception, the Foundation has provided thousands of dollars in the support of the students and teachers in the district. The Foundation’s board of directors is comprised of fourteen community volunteers and one part-time director. The Foundation also has an auxiliary group, the “Friends of the Foundation,” who assist the Board’s standing committees with identified programs, events, and activities.
The mission of the Bonner Springs – Edwardsville Education Foundation is to develop and distribute resources to USD #204 for programs, projects, and initiatives that enhance the quality of education.
If the Bonner Springs - Edwardsville Education Foundation were to receive a Community Choice Challenge grant, it would be used to help reach this year’s goal to distribute fifteen $1,000 Scholarships to the BSHS Class of 2016 and award the educators of the District $14,000 through the Teaching Grant program.
BONNER SPRINGS LIONS CLUB
The Bonner Springs Lions Club was chartered in 1950. In 1950-51, the club purchased 13.5 acres from the Rehm family. The Bonner Springs Lions Club donated the land to the City of Bonner Springs in 1954 for the purpose of building a city park. It was the largest donation of property to a municipality in Eastern Kansas.
The International Association of Lions Clubs’ main objective is fighting blindness all over the world. They are the largest service organization in the world, with clubs in almost 200 countries all over the world.
The Bonner Springs local club donates to many needy endeavors locally, but their main goal is buying eyeglasses and paying for eye exams for needy children within USD #204 school district. They spend thousands of dollars yearly for glasses and eye exams.
The Bonner Springs Lions Club is small, but the need is great, especially with the current economy. If they were to receive a Community Choice Challenge grant, the Lion’s Club would strive to help local students excel in their studies.
FEED HIS LAMBS
On November 11, 2011, the Feed His Lambs organization distributed its first meals to twenty struggling families (consisting of eighty people). The organization, who serves their community by providing physical, social, and spiritual nourishment, continue to see demand grow. Feed His Lambs now serves fifty-six families consisting of approximately three hundred members. They also serve 38 - 40 individuals who are senior citizens or have a disability that they struggle with, furthering their ultimate mission to eradicate hunger in the community.
Every Friday evening families receive a healthy meal which includes an entree, salad, fruit or vegetable, and bread to help them through the weekend when their children do not have access to school-provided meals. A delivery service is provided for those with transportation difficulties. This is a popular program component, due to fuel costs or simply because a vehicle is unavailable.
Caring community members have joined together to volunteer their time and share their hearts for their neighbors. Funding began with an anonymous donation of $2,000.00 and has continued through the incredible generosity of community members, and support of fundraising efforts.
Being awarded a grant by the Community Choice Challenge would assist with a much needed expansion of services. Statistics show that nearly 50% of USD 204 students are on free and reduced lunch. That’s over 1,000 children that Feed His Lambs could help nourish.
BONNER SPRINGS FAMILY YMCA - TWEEN CENTER
The Bonner Springs Family YMCA has been serving the Bonner Springs community for 14 years. Its unique partnership with the school district allows them to reach many students and families through family programming, wellness programs, youth sports, and aquatics. Our community faces new challenges that create a greater need for the work they do; where some see obstacles, they see opportunities for their members, volunteers, staff and generous donors.
If the Y is a grant recipient, the funds will go towards a much needed after school program for middle school students - The Tween Center. This would provide students a safe place to go where they can play games with their peers, work on their homework with volunteer tutors, or even participate in activities such as working out or volunteering. But that would only be the beginning. Other programs that would be housed out of our Tween Center include S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and even the Y’s Signature program
KAW VALLEY YOUNG LIFE & WYLDLIFE
Kaw Valley Young Life & WyldLife have established a youth program to assist students with growth in character, leadership and faith. Weekly programs, which include adult mentors, take place at a local “clubhouse” gym, donated by supporters. Kaw Valley Young Life also serves the community through several service projects, providing leadership training for students in high school and in college, as well connecting adults with kids in need of guidance.
Several Kaw Valley Young LIfe & Wyldlife teams exist, serving grades 6-12. These programs support the school districts of Basehor-Linwood, De Soto, Leavenworth, and Bonner Springs. They are also building areas of interest with adults and students coming to programs and groups from Piper, Tonganoxie and Bonner Springs.
If Kaw Valley Young Life & WyldLife were to receive one of the Community Choice Challenge grants, they would use the funds to provide scholarships to students with need for financial aid.
EDWARDSVILLE KIWANIS CLUB
The Kiwanis Club of Edwardsville has been providing service in the Edwardsville and Bonner Springs communities for 44 years. They provide scholarships, dictionaries to 3rd graders, and are also active in cleanup and landscaping projects. In addition, they deliver magazines to 3 local nursing homes and two members currently coach the Bonner Springs Special Olympics. The Kiwanis Club is a sponsor of the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and donates money to various local charities and civic organizations, including Boy Scouts, Vaughn-Trent, Bonner Springs City Library and Feed His Lambs.
Kiwanis has started two programs to motivate students in the Edwardsville Elementary school and a service club at Bonner Springs High School. They are in the process of starting another club in Clark Middle School. These programs and clubs have been developed by Kiwanis International and teach youth about self esteem, confidence, character development, how to deal with bullying, and leadership. They are also in the process of starting an AKTION Club that supports adults with disabilities.
With a Community Choice Challenge grant, the Kiwanis Club of Edwardsville would continue to support and promote the school programs started, increase High School Scholarships, and help support additional community charitable and civic programs.
Bonner Springs public transportation service “Tiblow Transit” began operation in 1979 – over 36 years ago. With five vehicles, three of which are wheelchair accessible, Tiblow Transit provides transportation to locations in Bonner Springs and Western Wyandotte County. Tiblow Transit makes it possible for mobility-impaired, senior, and low income residents to live independently. Residents ride the City’s public transportation service for a variety of needs: work, medical appointments, shopping, and to enjoy other opportunities. In 2014, Tiblow Transit made 12,295 trips, provided rides to 20,463 passengers, and drove 36,842 miles! That means Tiblow drivers and vehicles drove almost 1.5 times the circumference of the Earth or equivalent of eleven trips from the coast of Maine to the coast of California. In 2015 to date, Tiblow has provided more rides to more passengers and driven more miles than at this time last year. The need for our transportation service continues to increase each year.
Senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and those on a limited income ride for free. Other residents pay an affordable fare. A Kansas Department of Transportation grant funds 70% of the program with the remainder funded by donations, fares, and property taxes. Additional grants received would reduce the cost to taxpayers and help the City continue to provide the same level of service. Due to budget cuts, the City lost significant grant funds for Tiblow Transit in the last few years, which impact the City’s ability to fund this important program.
If they were to win, Tiblow Transit would use the funds from Union Bank & Trust’s Community Choice Challenge to purchase belts and straps to better secure mobility devices and send drivers for additional training. Additional funds also help operate the program while reducing the burden to taxpayers, and maintain our level of service while avoiding fare increases.
Vaughn-Trent Community Services, Inc. is a social services agency that serves individuals in the USD #204 school district (Bonner Springs & Edwardsville). Although incorporated in 1989, their roots can be traced back to 1965. The agency is named in honor of the late Marion Vaughn, Bonner Springs mayor and civic leader, and the late Lindy Trent, mayor of Edwardsville and civic leader.
Vaughn-Trent’s primary services include food assistance, utility assistance, and Christmas baskets for low-income residents in the area. Clients come to the center on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings to receive free bread, pastries, and produce. Vaughn-Trent also participates in the community-wide program Operation School Supplies.
Vaughn-Trent is funded primarily by donations from individuals, businesses, and area churches. Like many other non-profit agencies, Vaughn-Trent struggles during uncertain economic times. Despite this, they have never turned anyone away who met their established guidelines.
The Vaughn-Trent thrift store, Hidden Treasures, is located at 205 Oak Street in Bonner Springs. Hidden Treasures provides high quality preowned clothing and a variety of other items at very reasonable prices. Proceeds from the store help support the mission of Vaughn-Trent. If Vaughn-Trent were to receive one of Union Bank’s Community Choice Challenge grants, the funds would be used to continue serving low-income individuals and families in the community.