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In This Issue

       

WSU Foundation staff ‘adopts’ TOP school as a volunteer project

Students at TOP Early Learning Center North with their new coats, donated by members of the WSU Foundation staff and several other campus entities.
Students at TOP Early Learning Center North with their new coats, donated by members of the WSU Foundation staff and several other campus entities.

When members of the WSU Foundation staff decided to “adopt a school” as a long-term volunteer project, they didn’t have to look far to find just the right opportunity.

The TOP Early Learning Center North, in fact, is just a few blocks west of the WSU campus. The facility for children ages 1 to 5 is part of a three-school system in Wichita dedicated to providing a high-quality learning experience for children living in poverty. TOP stands for The Opportunity Project.

WSU cheerleaders helped members of the WSU Foundation staff deliver coats to students at the TOP Early Learning Center North school.
WSU cheerleaders helped members of the WSU Foundation staff deliver coats to students at the TOP Early Learning Center North school.

“A group of us toured the TOP facility and immediately knew this was the school we were supposed to be involved with,” said Stacie Williamson, leadership annual giving officer for the WSU Foundation. “Not only do the children learn through their provided education, but the parents are held accountable as well. Children must be present 85 percent of the year and parents are encouraged to volunteer not only in the school but also in the community.”

The volunteer arrangement calls for six WSU Foundation employees to visit the school each month to perform a variety of jobs, including reading to children, shelving library books, setting up for parent meetings and holiday activities, cleaning the playground and other tasks.

In addition, WSU Foundation staff will organize several drives each year to collect goods for the students and school. In October, they coordinated a Candy COATed Drive to provide coats for the students. Four other WSU entities agreed to participate in the drives: Shocker OneStop, University Housing and Residential Life, Athletics and Student Involvement.

“We knew that if we really wanted to make an impact, we needed comrades,” Williamson said. “The Shocker culture is one of giving and nurturing, so we knew we would be in good shape. These groups quickly joined us.”

A food drive was held this month and a toy drive will be organized in December, she said. A book drive is planned for spring.