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Pawnee County citizens back UWCK
Dolly Parton Kids in Larned
United Way of Central Kansas director Julie Bugner-Smith and volunteers join youngsters in th Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Children 5 receive a free book every month. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

LARNED — United Way of Central Kansas has been a presence in Pawnee County for two years and the director reports that community involvement has grown tremendously.
It is often asked what does United Way of Central Kansas do?
“We help local people get the services and needs met to have a better quality of life,” said Julie Bugner-Smith, United Way of Central Kansas director.
United Way of Central Kansas fund raises for 21 local agencies that directly affect the community. UWCK promotes these agencies, and by United Way raising the money, less fundraising is needed on the part of the agencies. This allows them to help more people.
Member agencies are American Red Cross; Barton County Youth Care; Barton County Young Men’s Organization; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Boy Scouts of America; Caring Hands Day Care; Catholic Social Service; Central Kansas CASA; Child Abuse Prevention Education; ElderCare, Inc.; Family Crisis Center; Golden Belt Home Health Hospice; Great Bend Children’s Learning Center; Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland; Meals on Wheels; RSVP; Salvation Army; Teen Court; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Larned and Ellinwood.
“Big or small a dollar makes a huge difference, and remember that the money stays right here in your community,” Smith said. “We’re proud to be part of Pawnee County and the support shown towards United Way and their mission.”
The goal of the 2014 campaign is $250,000 and only 1 percent goes to United Way National.
“That means that 99 percent stays right here in Barton and Pawnee counties,” Bugner-Smith said. “How many non-profits can say that? That 1 percent gets our United Way access to their national resources, such as 211 toll free number which operated 24/7 and give citizens access to any local need they may have, such as food, shelter, work placement and counseling.”
United Way National was also a resource on implementing the local Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This program started by United Way of Central Kansas and funded by UWCK, Shopko and Kiwanis. More than 60 local children are enrolled.
The program is open to all children in the 67550 zip code age 5 and under. Once enrolled in the program, the child will receive one book every month in the mail until age 5 and under. It is recorded at age three; children whose parents read to them daily for at least two preceding years had significantly higher language and cognitive scores. Enrollment is available at Jordaan Library.
Male leadership staff at Larned State Hospital participated in “Movember/No-Shave November,” to provide an opportunity to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues, both physical and mental.
Leadership members participating were Duane Dipman, Cory Turner, Ben Ramsey, Will Tice, John Golightley, Hal Staats, Dr. Michael Klemens, Dr. Thomas Kinlen, and Chris Baker. They raised money on campus and in the community and people voted for the person who would have the “Magnum P.I.,” of mustaches.
On Dec. 3, the participants revealed their new look. Duane Dipman raised the most money and was selected as the winner. LSH staff donated $600 to the United Way of Central Kansas.  
Smith said United Way of Central Kansas has achieved several goals.
• Funded locally to Larned, Caring Hands Day Care and Central States Scout Museum.
• Coordinated a successful fan drive with the city of Larned during the drought.
• Implemented Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
• Helped fund Camp Pawnee.
• Helped fund Volunteers in Action for Pawnee County and helped get Child Abuse Prevention Education in the pre-school and elementary school systems to educate the youth about child abuse.
• Has connected Larned State Hospital employees and staff with the community.
• Added local leaders Tama Hanson and Jane Fox to the UWCK board of directors.
• Built a UWCK local goal thermometer in the courtyard lawn.
• Implemented the fifth-grade UWCK poster contest to teach children about volunteering, the UWCK agencies and giving back.
• Have included local business leaders as co-chairs. The 2014 co-chairs are Kevyn and Paulette Soupiset.
“United Way of Central Kansas is committed to bettering the Pawnee County community and helping your friends and neighbors,” Smith said. “They have had a Duck Race and the Larned High School football team has helped raise money through a T-shirt blackout. UWCK has also teamed up with USD 495 on Stuff the Bus. To help grow Untied Way and bring more programs to the area your help is needed.”
Payroll deduction raises 70 percent on the United Way funds for the 21 agencies and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It is a easy way to give to a wide diversified group of non-profits from child abuse, cancer, elderly, education and teens.
“What a great way to help a wide variety of people in one donation,” Smith said.
If your place of business would like to set up a tax deducible payroll plan or you would like make a personal contribution please contact Julie Bugner-Smith @ or 620-792-2403.
Go to for more on what is happening with United Way of Central Kansas. Local contacts are Kevyn Soupiset, Tama Hanson and Jane Fox.