Joanne Wondra has been named executive director of the Family Crisis Center. She had been serving as interim director since April and the board of directors made her promotion official on July 25.
Wondra was brought on board a year and a half ago as the community engagement coordinator, to recruit new volunteers and to raise funds for the nonprofit organization. She will add those duties to the executive director position.
A longtime Great Bend resident, Wondra earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, is a certified grant writer and is completing her master’s degree in community counseling from Fort Hays State University. She has worked at Sunflower Bank and sold Mary Kay cosmetics, and has served on the Holy Family School Board, Sunflower Diversified Services Foundation board of directors and other community and church groups, including the Family Crisis Center’s board of directors.
“There are a lot of good causes in town,” Wondra commented. “I really just want to give back to the community.”
The Family Crisis Center operates in 10 counties and has offices in Great Bend, Larned and Pratt. It provides advocacy and support to all survivors and secondary victims of domestic and sexual violence, child abuse and neglect. The Center also encourages social change through awareness, education and prevention.
It offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, 620-792-1885, and a Wednesday night support group that meets at 5 p.m. at the Great Bend office, located at Broadway and Main.
Wondra also has grant-writing experience and has applied for more staff. “Sadly, our numbers are getting bigger across all 10 counties,” she said.
Community support is also strong, and the Family Crisis Center is a United Way of Central Kansas agency.
“We have great community partners here,” she said. “We like it here in Great Bend; it’s a great place to raise a family.”
Wondra is the Family Crisis Center’s third executive director in a year and a half, but hers had been a seamless transition, said Willie Allen, president of the Center’s board of directors.
The board was pleased with the last director, but she was commuting from Hays and found another job opportunity there.
“I’m so glad that Joanne was an employee at the Family Crisis Center at the time,” Allen said. “We’re excited. Joanne’s well known in the community and she’s done a lot of remarkable things for the Family Crisis Center. She’s top notch.”
The first presentation that Wondra made after being named executive director of the Family Crisis Center netted the organization more than $10,000. That was her presentation to the 100+ People Who Care. “We’re very proud of that,” she said.
Wondra may also be able to restore stability to the position. For her, the work is more of a calling than a job. And she’s not alone.
“We have a fabulous leadership team,” she said. “We have great staff here that cares about everyone that walks in the door, and that’s a blessing. It’s not just a job to them; most people here feel like this is their God-chosen career, I think they were picked for this. You know their hearts are in it.
“That makes all the difference in the world.”