Thursday, December 18, 2008

UMKC Gives Back

“As the cold winds blow, literally and metaphorically, I thought the following news might be warming,” said Peter Witte, Dean of the Conservatory of Music and Dance. Charles Robinson and Ryan Board delivered funds totaling $1,314 and four barrels of canned goods to Harvesters. The funds and food were collected as part of their Sixth Annual Choral Concert called “A Season for Giving”. A cooperative effort with Visitation Catholic Church, the December 6th benefit concert attracted more than 800 people to learn about Harvesters Community Food Network and celebrate the season.

We at the Provost Office were touched by this news and asked other academic units what they have been doing to keep joy of giving alive. Here are some of the replies. We hope that they will also keep you cozy in this winter weather.

UMKC Friends of the Library sponsored a food drive in support of Harvesters Community Food Network. Friends board members kicked off the drive by bringing contributions to their December 2 board meeting. Collection bins then were placed at the entrances of the Miller Nichols and Health Sciences libraries during finals week. Library faculty and staff closed the event by bringing donations to their annual holiday potluck luncheon, Dec. 11. Three barrels of nonperishable food and household items were collected.

At the Bloch School of Business holiday party this year, a collection for Harvesters gathered $150, which is equal to 750 meals.

The Computer Science Electrical Engineering department in the School of Computing & Engineering partnered with US FIRST and hosted a middle school robotics tournament at Liberty High School on December 14.

In the School of Education, the faculty and staff recently collected donations for Plaza de Niños at the Guadalupe Center. The total from faculty and staff donations came to just under $600.

At the School of Dentistry, the single biggest effort has been the kick off of the Miles for Smiles program in the Olathe School District this past semester. This Reach funded project represents collaboration between dental hygiene faculty and students and four Title 1 Olathe Schools to provide preventive services to un-served or underserved students ages 5-14. The program goals are to provide preventive dental care every six months, improve students' overall knowledge about oral health, and reduce the proportion of children and adolescents who have untreated dental decay in primary and/or permanent teeth.

Students in the DH 4220 Community Oral Health Field Experiences class visited and provided dental hygiene care for a diverse group of children. Over 450 children in four Central City Catholic Schools received oral health education and fluoride varnish applications during the fall semester. Dental hygiene students also educated and applied fluoride varnish to over 300 children with diverse health issues including those who are hearing impaired, disabled and autistic. These programs were offered at the Sherwood Center, Kansas School for the Deaf and Special Olympics. All of these programs were conducted as part of service learning experiences for the students and were supervised by dental hygiene faculty.

The UMKC School of Pharmacy chapter of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) had a number of events this holiday season to help give back to the community. The group organized a challenge between each class year as well as the faculty and staff to see who could collect the most non-perishable items to be donated to Harvesters Community Food Network. The drive collected more than 850 non-perishable food items! ASP also organized another class competition to collect items to be donated to Soldiers Angels, an organization that puts together care packages to be mailed to soldiers in the U.S. military. The classes were able to collect enough items for five full care packages.

Throughout the year, faculty, staff and students at the UMKC School of Nursing contribute their time, energy and expertise to numerous community service projects and initiatives. Recently, faculty and students worked with the Visiting Nurse Association to administer free flu shots to members of the community; the UMKC chapter of the Student Nurses Association sponsored a very successful food drive for Harvesters; and Dean Lora Lacey-Haun spearheaded an effort to collect toys and other gifts for the Sheffield Place Christmas Store (Sheffield Place is a transitional-living program for homeless mothers and their children).

In years past the School of Graduate Studies did a Secret Santa gift exchange amongst themselves. In view of the current economic situation they decided this holiday season to provide a gift to a family in need through the Salvation Army. They were given a family of six and in order to provide properly for this family they wanted to open it up to others. Employees from the Provost office and the Finance office joined in their efforts and raised a total of $362 plus individual items. They were able to get everything on their list plus a little more. Excited and proud of this result, they plan to do it again next year.

-Thanks to everyone who replied with information about gifts to the community.

In picture: Quincy Bennett Johnson, Constance Mahone, Sherenna Clinton, Teresa Crew and Alphia Curry pose with the holiday gifts donated by UMKC employees to the 2008 Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program.

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