Konza United Way: Streamlining volunteering for 6 Kansas counties

Students from Konza United Way provided information about the Organization at Bosco Plaza. Free gifts, pizza and volunteer opportunities were provided for students that stopped at the booth, on Tuesday 17, 2018 (Gabriela Faraone | Collegian Media Group)

Konza United Way brought three of its partners to Bosco Plaza on Tuesday to raise awareness in the Kansas State community for the services the organization provides.

United Way, a privately funded nonprofit organization, has about 2.6 million volunteers and 9.6 million donors worldwide. The Konza United Way, which serves six Kansas counties, serves as a funding entity for its partners and aims to create opportunities to strengthen communities by strengthening the people who live within them.

Konza United Way came to K-State to encourage students to get involved with their Young Leaders Association or one of their many operating committees.

“Students should get involved to help those that may be less fortunate than they are or are in a tight situation from any number of misfortunes,” Mark Claussen, CEO of Konza United Way, said. “I hope that each new generation learns that the service to community is what makes a strong community.

“We hope that people will check out our website and learn more about it because there are so many opportunities to help these partner agencies,” he said.

United Way’s services can also be extended to college students in need of rent assistance, legal services or counseling.

Madison Pehlman, junior in hospitality management and business event coordination, hosted Claussen alongside three of United Way’s partners: Thrive, aTa Bus and Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas.

“It’s amazing to see these organizations lean on college students for help and I was happy to give them a platform to draw awareness to their causes,” Pehlman said.

Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas, another charity partnered with Konza United Way, seeks to reduce poverty for the vulnerable, regardless of religious background. The organization offers a variety of services including, but not limited to disaster relief, financial help, adoption services, immigration services, pregnancy support and counseling.

“Through the efforts of our volunteer allies and staff, we help to build stronger individuals and families,” Susan Wendland, youth and research development coordinator, said.

Claussen said that in conjunction with Konza United Way, these programs exist to serve the community and are available to all K-State students free of charge.

“I think it’s important to learn that everyone doing something, no matter how small, can make an impact on someone’s life and that we can all do something even if financial means are not available,” Claussen said.

Visit the Konza United Way website to see what ongoing projects need volunteers. The projects are from a range of sponsoring charities, so there are opportunities to volunteer in many areas from health care to disaster relief to food drives.