Volunteers Turn Out for Day of Caring

800 Nancy Perry Day Volunteers Mobilize for Nearly $100K of Service

September 23, 2022, Topeka, KS—Nearly 800 volunteers fanned out across the greater Topeka area despite a drizzly start to Nancy Perry Day of Caring.

People at tables

Only two projects had to be postponed or cancelled because of the persistent rain, according to Jessica Neumann Barraclough, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at United Way of Greater Topeka.

The day started with a kickoff breakfast, held at the Kay McFarland Japanese garden at the Topeka Zoo. As is tradition, Nancy Perry welcomed the volunteers as part of the program. Perry was joined by two tables of her family members, several of whom later volunteered in the wardrobe department at Topeka Civic Theatre.

Barraclough told the attendees that based on the current value of a volunteer hour in Kansas, their time today was collectively worth nearly $100,000 to the nonprofits they were helping.

volunteers in yellow shirts take a group photo

Barraclough also announced that UWGT had officially received its certification as a Service Enterprise organization, joining the top 11 percent of high-performing nonprofits nationwide. An SE Certification is awarded after a rigorous application process to organizations that strategically recruit, deploy and manage volunteers. Service Enterprise is an initiative of the national Points of Light Foundation and facilitated in Kansas by the Kansas Volunteer Commission.

Attendees heard from UWGT Board Chair Matt All, UWGT CEO Jessica Lehnherr, and Barraclough.

UWGT also presented the third year of its Ad Astra Honors to community volunteers. Last year’s recipients returned to introduce the 2022 winners.

Bryce Liedtke presented the Youth Service to the Community Award to Kirstianna Guerrero. Guerrero is actively involved in Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy and the Youth Leadership Forum. She also founded an organization, Disabled & Proud Foundation of Kansas, that helps support the Disabled and Proud Parade, an event that helps everyone celebrate the beauty and diversity of our disabled community. She is the Kansas Miss Amazing and the National Miss Amazing Queen, which included more than 800 hours of volunteer service during her year of recognition.

Brenda Blackman presented the Service to the Community–Professional honor to Lauren Wolf. As a teen, Lauren volunteered her summers at camp programs and a local hospital. When she was only 17 years old, she was asked her to give a testimonial to a committee of Legislators in support of Senate Bill 426; this bill allowed high school students, ages 16 and older, to donate blood without parental authorization. She continues to serve multiple community organizations on a regular basis.

The final Ad Astra Honor, the Marge Heeney Award, went to long-time UWGT volunteer Jim Daniel, who spent more than a decade helping guide community investments and making the transition to impact work. His nominator, Marlou Wegener accepted the award on Daniel’s behalf as he was unable to attend.

Sponsors of the 2022 Nancy Perry Day of Caring are:

  • Security Benefit/SE2
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Evergy
  • Capitol Federal
  • Stormont Vail Health
  • CoreFirst Bank and Trust
  • Edward Jones
  • Topeka Zoo

List of Day of Caring sponsors