“It’s fantastic, I love it! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and being able to do this for the kids is just great,” explains Jennifer Polopolus-Meredith.
Jennifer’s excitement is contagious — and so is her sense of accomplishment. She is one of the first Thrive! leaders to plan an event. (Jennifer is pictured, dressed in her cat costume, in the photo on the right. She is pictured with Nicholle Scheibe, Thrive! youth programming volunteer.)
“Last year, I planned the party,” states Susan Wendland, Thrive! Youth Program and Resource Development Coordinator. “This year a leader and volunteer planned the party. It’s very empowering. Jennifer and Nicholle met with our executive director to plan the event. They provided me a list, and I simply went shopping!”
Thrive! leaders are area-residents seeking to improve their quality of life. Leaders commit to an 18-month program that meets weekly. Reaching a place of giving back is a significant milestone.
Another Thrive! Leader taking a leadership role is Aimee Berges. Known for her baking skills, Aimee volunteered to be head cook for the Young Trustees Chili Cook-Off held in November. Partnering with fellow Thrive! Leader Marcus Newman, they made Southwest White Bean Chicken Chili.
Wendland summarizes the day like a proud parent. “Aimee planned the theme.The team was up at 5 a.m. and cooking by 8:30 a.m. Aimee had samples of her baked goods and business cards for Aimee’s Kitchen. It was so rewarding watching the two take charge. No words can express what I felt. It was their day!”
Special thanks to The Trust Company for sponsoring Thrive! in the delicious chili event. Scroll down a few posts to see photos from the cook-off!
Traditions are on everyone's mind this time of year. For Thrive!, it started with Halloween.
Thrive! families enjoyed an evening of costume-clad kids, candy-filled bags and sugar-induced fun as community volunteers ran Halloween-themed games. It marked the second year of what is becoming an annual gathering.
Establishing holiday traditions is a Thrive! program goal. Why? Traditions bring people together. Traditions build memories. And traditions build stability.
“We like to provide a lot of experiences for our families, establish traditions, and model things that perhaps they hadn’t had in their life,” explains Susan Wendland, Thrive! Youth Program and Resource Development Coordinator. “It’s important to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. We continue to meet during holidays. If we miss a time, our families miss it.”
Intended to benefit Thrive! families, holiday celebrations also touch volunteers. Nicholle Scheibe volunteered with Thrive! as a K-State student and continues to volunteer as an alumna. “My heart is here. I love everybody here, and it really is like a family,” Nicholle warmly shares. “I’ve really grown attached to Thrive! and like seeing the outcomes of simply being with others.”
Thrive! was well represented at the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation Young Trustees Chili Cook-off on November 3. Our own Aimee Berges entered the cook-off and provided free samples of Aimee's Kitchen sweet treats.
Coach Tana said it went well. "Aimee and Markaus were awesome. They did all the promotion and cooking. It was magical to watch them," she said.
Congratulations to Aimee, and thanks to all from Thrive! who attended the event or provided other support. Special thanks to The Trust Company for sponsoring our participation in the event!
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