TOPEKA (KSNT) – Over 800 volunteers signed up for in-person and virtual volunteer projects Friday, Sept. 23. A Kick-off Breakfast and Volunteer Awards program was held in the Kay McFarland Japanese Garden at the Topeka Zoo on Friday morning.

“We are embarking on a new adventure. We are joining forces with the United Way of Douglas County. We are proud to be a local United Way and we will continue to be a local United Way, but we are going to expand our capacity and share with our neighbors a few miles away, so we can do even more and have an even bigger impact among our communities.” Jessica Williams Lehnherr, CEO of United Way of Greater Topeka.

The United Way volunteers recognized at today’s kickoff were,

  • Kirstianna Guerrero – Youth category
  • Lauren Wolf – Professional category
  • Jim Daniel – Marge Heeney Award

“What an honor to have a day named after you. It is such a privilege. This day is so special. It is so exciting to see all these wonderful people that are going out and volunteering today. Without volunteers, we are in trouble. We are a nation and a community of volunteers. Through the years the United Way has been great. It just continues to get better and now that they are merging with Douglas County, that’s a great move and we can do many things for Northeast Kansas.” Nancy Perry, former CEO of United Way of Greater Topeka.

A few of the Nancy Perry Day of Caring projects scheduled for Friday include,

SENT Prep Academy – Trimming trees and cleaning up brush

Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library – Remove, haul and load old shelving units from several rooms in the basement to a recycling dumpster

Topeka Civic Theatre – Cleanup and beautification

Kansas Children’s Discovery Center – Outdoor classroom maintenance

Topeka Zoo – Help with putting the holiday lights up

Topeka Housing Authority – Grounds beautification at Echo Ridge and Deer Creek

In 1984 Nancy Perry was appointed President and CEO of the United Way of Topeka which she served until 2008.

United Way brings together people, companies, and nonprofits in Shawnee, Jefferson, and Jackson Counties to create positive sustainable change in education, financial stability, and health. United Way remains dedicated to supporting Basic Needs, including food, rent and utilities, health and prescription access, and safety from domestic violence.