To kick off an action-packed 2020 for both Goddard and the Chamber, we invited several of our civic members to speak at our January Luncheon, held at Dove Estates. Goddard is an amazing community with so many ways to get involved. Here’s a round-up of just a few of our amazing civic organizations.
Dane Baxa, Executive Director of the Goddard Education Foundation, spoke about the amazing community we have in Goddard. The generosity of both businesses and individuals have helped the Foundation grow tremendously in their ability to support students, teachers, families, and alumni of USD 265. The Foundation is in the process of planning activities for Teacher Appreciation Week, though they are always looking for businesses that have an innovative way to support schools.
2020 is going to be a busy year for the Foundation. In addition to their annual Distinguished Alumni inductees and the annual Boots and Bling fundraiser, the Foundation is planning to launch a new, exciting program. A community supporter with property I the Czech Republic approached the Foundation with the idea to start a teacher exchange program. Later this year, the first two teachers will be travelling to Europe to spend time in the classroom, share knowledge, and have an amazing experience.
Lisa Stoller of the Goddard Woman’s Club introduced Luncheon attendees to one of the oldest civic organizations in Goddard. Founded in 1933, the Goddard Woman’s Club is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, a national organization that has been active in shaping child labor laws among other nonpartisan legislation. The GWC’s core mission is that of volunteer service, and they have many programs that continue to have a significant impact on the community. This year, their focus is on health – healthy aging, keeping families healthy, art therapy, and mental health. In April, at their annual art show at Dove Estates, there will be a seminar about art therapy.
The GWC supports the entire community from birth to the elderly, with programs ranging from Parents as Teachers, partnering with the GEF on their books and blankets program, cooking at the Ronald McDonald House, and events at both Medicalodges and Dove Estates. In December, the GWC partnered with the Chamber to help collect items for Passageways, a nonprofit supporting veterans. The GWC usually meets the third Tuesday of the month and they will host an old-fashioned tea party on February 18th as a membership open house.
April Hernandez, Director of the Goddard Public Library, shared just some of the Library’s many accomplishments in 2019. April took over as Director in April of 2019 – the first of many positive changes last year. In May, the Library joined the Sunflower E-Library for e-books and audio books, which has been a very popular addition to the library’s offerings. New seating and shelving have also begun to transform the Library, a transformation that continued in December with the renovation of the children’s area. With the help of the Goddard Woman’s Club, the new Children’s Kingdom is officially open for business.
2019 also saw the establishment of a Teen Advisory Board, an increase in outreach programming (including programming at Dove Estates and Medicalodges), and the Library’s entry into a local consortium with neighboring cities to speed up local interlibrary loans. And, in very exciting news, the Friends and Foundation of the Goddard Public Library was incorporated in order to help raise funds for programming and capital improvements as well as to recruit volunteers. Coming up in 2020, the library will debut preschool programming at Earhart and CDS as well as Fitness Fridays, starting with yoga story time in January.
Representing the Goddard Lion’s Club, Teri Slavenburg reviewed some of the accomplishments of this long-standing pillar of the Goddard community. In addition to hosting bingo every third Saturday from January to November and hosting a tax free fireworks stand in July, the Lion’s Club has numerous projects that benefit the community. Their annual pancake breakfast, coming up on February 15th, raises funds for scholarships for Eisenhower and Goddard students. Last year, the Lion’s Club was able to award 6 scholarships thanks to these fundraising efforts. The Club also provides financial relief for neighbors affected by fire, maintains a natural disaster response trailer that can be mobilized anywhere in the state, and joins with other Lion’s Clubs at the state fair to host hearing, vision, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings.
Other community partnerships and activities include providing breakfast for Neighbors United, providing volunteer assistance at National Night Out, sponsoring half the cost of the annual fireworks display, founding the Fall Festival, and partnering with the Goddard United Methodist Church for the annual Thanksgiving Feast. The Lion’s Club also supports after prom programs at both high schools and donates to school projects and fundraisers on a regular basis. By far, the biggest undertaking for the Lion’s Club each year is the Mitten Tree, which helps provide holiday gifts to those in need. In 2019, the Mitten Tree program was able to help 361 students from 140 families. 3,000 presents were wrapped, 40,000 pounds of food were donated, and over 1,800 volunteer hours were logged.