By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The 2019-2020 Leadership Newkirk class is in full swing, and participants are actively involved in learning about the community, including civic and county government. The new class is also setting a new standard for the program, as they are the first class to perform a community service project, with the end goal of benefitting handicapped children.
The group is actively raising funds, with a goal of about $5,000, to install handicapped swings at Lions Park so handicapped children can enjoy the park like all other children. It will tie in with the Newkirk Fitness Pathway project, and is in conjunction with Newkirk Go-Getters 4-H club members.
“(Participants will) walk the Pathway, and if they want to stop at the park, we want to offer that,” said participant Kellie Johnson, who proposed the idea to the class. “We’re wanting to include everyone in our community in our park.”
The idea of a service project came from Dawn Brakey, who is directing the current program.
“I’ve been involved in other leadership programs, and each of the other communities do a service project, so I brought the idea to Newkirk Leadership, and they wanted to do it,” she said. “They wanted to be the first leadership group to do a project.”
The group set a goal of $5,000, and one way they are attempting to raise those funds is through grants, as participant Bernadine Hicks writes grants with the Kaw Nation.
Much of the funding is being raised by members themselves, however. Volunteers sat up tables in front of Apple Market Nov. 22, braving cold temperatures and a bitter wind to sell baked goods, many of which were made by members themselves, or other community volunteers. Goods included cookies, cake, breads and candy.
Despite the cold, many community supporters visited Apple Market throughout the day, stopping at the tables to show their support of the organization.
“It went excellent. We had a lot of people donate,” said member Janell Leaming. “I’m happy with the support of the people who came out on such a cold day.”
The bake sale was successful, as it netted the group more than half the financial goal of the project.
“We’ve earned just over $3,000, and our goal is $5,000. We’re doing pretty good,” Johnson said.
The community also is selling raffle tickets for a handcrafted quilt, sewn by volunteers at the Senior Citizens Center.
“The Senior Citizens made and donated the quilt. It is (being) displayed at the Senior Center, and also at Equity Bank,” Johnson said.
Tickets for the quit are $5 each, or five for $20. The raffle will be held on President’s Day 2020, Monday, Feb. 17.
Additionally, Leadership Newkirk has a Facebook page where community supporters may donate to aid in the project.
The project is expected to be finished by April 2020, when this year’s Leadership class wraps up their program. Once installed, the handicapped swing will be a benefit to the community, allowing all children a chance to spend an afternoon in the park.
“This is a good idea, because it is adding something useful that is going to enhance the community, and it’s right in line with the Fitness Path,” Brakey said. “This is a great addition to our community.”