Staff, faculty, students and other members of the Newman community who attended the Newman University Staff Assembly silent auction on April 19 raised $2,375 for ICT SOS, a Wichita-based organization whose mission is to fight human trafficking.
The nonprofit was selected from among 10 nominated organizations to be this year’s auction funds recipient.
Jennifer White, ICT SOS founder, was recognized with the Russ Meyer Community Leadership Award during the 2019 Difference Makers for Wichita event.
The award is presented to an individual making a positive impact in the Wichita community through demonstrated excellence in leadership and outstanding initiative to create solutions for critical issues facing the area.
The silent auction committee was excited to welcome White and a few of her co-workers to campus for the fun event.
White said, “When community members hold fundraisers it’s a way to reach a new group of people that may not have known about us before. When groups take on the task of organizing a fundraiser or event, they reach out to their circle of influence and that may be a circle that we haven’t had any access to in the past.
“The more people that know about what we are doing, the more we see new donors and volunteers get involved. So the event itself is often the start of a bigger ripple.”
White added how grateful she and her team were to receive the donation resulting from the group effort of the Newman community. She said meeting those who attended, talking with them about what they do, gave her a better sense of what Newman was all about.
“I had the best time hanging out at the event this year. I got to talk to a lot of students and faculty. It has already resulted in a relationship with the social work department that will benefit our organization as well as their students. I also really felt like I got to know Newman better which was fun.”
White said donations such as the silent auction contribution are used to help purchase items for Fresh Start bags and Clean Start baskets as well as helping the daily operations of ICT SOS.
Fresh Start bags are given to youth in crisis and contain clothing, hygiene items, a journal or comfort item and a gift card for a meal.
Clean Start baskets are presented to individuals who are making the transition to their first independent living situation after foster care or juvenile custody.
“Our biggest program right now is prevention education. We saw more than 3300 students in the 2018-19 school year. Because our program has grown so rapidly, we’ve also had to increase our staff to keep up with the scheduling demand for facilitators.”