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Young Professionals award over $1,600 in Grants to Local Charities
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Members of the Barton County Young Professionals group and the Great Bend Rotary Club presented donations of over $330 to representatives from five different charities earlier this week. Representatives from the non-profit organizations include Laura Patzner with the Family Crisis Center, Dorinda Bussman and Jennie Gordy with the Barton County Food Bank, and Rebecca Ford with Catholic Social Service. Young Professionals members pictured include Brandon Steinert, Candice Moeder, AJ Chrest, Sarah and Panning. Rotary Club members pictured include Christy Tustin, Harry Willems, Mary Drake, and Jan Peters.

In late January, members of the Barton County Young Professionals group partnered with the Great Bend Rotary Club to collect donations for area charities in front of the Walmart Supercenter. Despite the cloud cover and windy conditions, the two groups managed to collect a bus full of non-perishable food and supplies for five non-profit organizations in Barton County.
“The Young Professionals group is designed to provide networking opportunities, develop young leaders in today’s workforce, and engage members to give back to our communities,” says YP Steering Committee Chair Candice Moeder. “Brian Ewing brought his Kapow Party Bus to haul the donations, and we had that bus full by the time we were done. That speaks to the commitment of our group, but also to the generosity of our community residents.”
Between cash donations collected from shoppers during the Supply Drive and a $1,500 grant provided by the Great Bend Rotary Club, the two groups were able to present donations to five different charities totaling over $1,600. Charities benefiting from the Young Professionals project include the Family Crisis Center, the Central Kansas Dream Center, Prodigal Ministries, the Barton County Food Bank, and Catholic Social Service.
“Our club was proud to partner with the Young Professionals group on this project, which supports our mission of creative positive, lasting change in our community,” says Rotary Club President Harry Willems. “We are already beginning plans to build on our partnership with the YP Group in 2015, and hopefully do something even bigger and better.”
The Barton County Young Professionals group is targeted for anyone 21-40ish who lives or works in the Barton County area. To learn more about the benefits of membership or to see an event schedule, visit or call the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development at 620-792-2401.

Family Crisis Center – The Domestic & Sexual Violence Center provides survivors of domestic and sexual violence with advocacy and services while encouraging social change through awareness, education, and prevention. The Dell Hayden Memorial Child Advocacy Center provides victims of child abuse and their families a multidisciplinary response, advocacy, and support to reduce trauma and hold perpetrators accountable while creating a safer community through awareness, education, and prevention.
Central Kansas Dream Center – We are reaching hurting people, restoring families, and realizing dreams. The Dream Center is made up of the Daniel Trickey Memorial Life Giving Center for women and children in a state of homelessness, the Hungry Heart Soup Kitchen, and a 6-month residential treatment program for individuals dealing with life controlling issues. We are also preparing to open a program for children aging out of the foster care system.
Catholic Social Service - Catholic Social Service helps and advocates for those in need, regardless of their faith.  Services include pregnancy counseling, adoption, teen mom support, healthy relationship classes, addiction and recovery counseling, economic assistance and disaster relief.
Barton County Food Bank – The Food Bank and the Emergency Aid Council work to provide food and limited financial assistance for utilities and rent for those in Barton County facing difficult economic times. They are located at 3007 10th Street in Great Bend and hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-3 p.m.
Prodigal Ministries – We are a transitional living facility for men facing homelessness or economic hardship and have been in operation since 2004. We disciple our residents and minister to their real needs, working to create lasting change through Christ.