Hands on Wichita

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Hands on Wichita

United States
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Hands on Wichita ultimately strives to bring the community together in a cohesive effort to make Wichita a better and more supportive place for a young person to grow. To accomplish this goal, Wichita's Promise Youth Council (WPYC) is coordinating Hands on Wichita, a one day event that brings together hundreds of volunteers to clean-up local elementary schools.

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Venture Field

Youth Volunteer Service

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Role in the Venture:

Team Leader

Venture Description:

Hands on Wichita ultimately strives to bring the community together in a cohesive effort to make Wichita a better and more supportive place for a young person to grow. To accomplish this goal, Wichita's Promise Youth Council (WPYC) is coordinating Hands on Wichita, a one day event that brings together hundreds of volunteers to clean-up local elementary schools.

Venture Origin:

Washington D.C. does have "Hands on D.C." and this is where we got the idea for Hands on Wichita. Hands on D.C. is very successful, and has become a tradition involving over 2,000 community volunteers each year. WPYC's president worked very closely with Hands on D.C. to organize Hands on Wichita.


Hand on Wichita brings community members together to better public elementary schools in our city. It helps to make life better for the children who attend these schools and it shows the community that teens care. Our venture is also unique because it directly engages youth and adults to make a difference so that children can dream more, do more and, become more.


<ul><li class="entry-label">Impact: <span class="entry-text">At Hands on Wichita 2006, 15 high school students (WPYC members) served as site coordinators for the event. Collectively, these site coordinators managed over 180 volunteers at seven different sites. In addition, site coordinators worked with school personnel to identify specific projects. These projects ranged from landscaping and painting to cleaning and decorating classrooms. Total enrollment numbers of the elementary schools is 1873. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Engagement with the community: <span class="entry-text">We partnered with USD 259 to identify the schools that have the most need. USD 259 has been our biggest supporter, providing funds for each school site. We solicited the support of the local United Way Volunteer Center which assisted us in the recruitment of volunteers. WPYC members made presentations to six city District Advisory Boards to recruit volunteers from local neighborhoods.</span></li><li class="entry-label">Impact and engagement progress since launch: <span class="entry-text">To better understand how we can improve our Venture, we asked each school representative to complete a site evaluation at the close of the project. They ranked and provided comments in the areas of communication, project completion, and a general project overview. The evaluations came back with an overwhelming positive response! When asked if they "would participate again?", 100% said yes!</span></li><li class="entry-label">Impact and engagement strategy: <span class="entry-text">We plan to increase our efforts in recruiting volunteers and gaining monetary support. We have already requested support from the City Council, County Commission, and the Board of Education through "call to action" presentations made in January and February 2007.</span></li><li class="entry-label">Awards: <span class="entry-text">Hands on Wichita has received the YOU Make a Difference Award from the Kansas Volunteer Commission.</span></li></ul>


<ul><li class="entry-label">Amount of Youth Venture seed grant: <span class="entry-text">$1000.00</span></li><li class="entry-label">Money raised: <span class="entry-text">Since receiving the seed grant money, we have raised $1371.00. Wal Mart donated $85.00 in gift cards, the local school board gave us $1250.00 ($250 per school), and we raised $36.00 by recycling. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Creative ways of raising resources: <span class="entry-text">We have used a variety of measures to gain support for Hands on Wichita. One of our greatest assets was establishing a partnership with Community Housing Services and its "Tool Lending Library". We were able to borrow over 60 tools such as wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, and paint supplies.</span></li></ul>


<ul><li class="entry-label">Expansion plan for next 6 months: <span class="entry-text">In the next six months, we hope to establish relationships with seven new elementary schools. The third annual Hands on Wichita is scheduled for April 21. We have already targeted the local Boy Scouts in hopes to recruit top notch volunteers. </span></li><li class="entry-label">Plans for sustaining the project: <span class="entry-text">In addition to calling on those agencies we have received support from in the past, we are also conducting a general fundraising campaign. Each WPYC member will be asked to find one donor. Also we have collected donation request forms from local stores such as Wal Mart, Target, Lowe's, etc.</span></li><li class="entry-label">Vision for three years from now: <span class="entry-text">WPYC plans to maintain a Hands on Wichita committee each year that will organize the event's funding and coordination. Our Venture will become an ongoing initiative by continuing to invite new schools to apply for assistance. We will also continue to recruit youth from the community to help out on the committee. We will consistently strive to become closer to the great model of Hands on D.C.!</span></li></ul>

Project impact:

The support we receive from various sources and then in turn, give back to the schools provides the community as a whole with an inspiring sense of unity. Hands on Wichita has been such a rewarding project to be involved with. I appreciate the positive recognition that we have received from school site councils, local leaders, and the media. However, the most meaningful thing for me has been the hand-written, crayola-colored notes that we get from the elementary students themselves thanking us for cleaning up their schools. We hope to continue this legacy and ensure a lasting impact on younger youth. Not only is this project a great cause, but it is a whole lot of fun!

Youth Venture movement - what it means and how you can contribute:

Being part of a Youth Venture team through Wichita's Promise Youth Council has shown me that I am not alone. I now know tons of community members my age who also want to make a difference. To know that this mentality exists throughout our nation and our world gives me hope. As I move on from high school and pursue my college education, I am reassured that I will find other people my age with similar values and aspirations. WPYC is committed to the Hands on Wichita project and it is only one of several community service opportunities and prevention activities that we host throughout the year. WPYC intends on maintaining a relationship with Youth Venture so that we can connect on a global level. We are more than willing to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. WPYC firmly believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s statement "Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve."