Newman University diversity clubs on campus want to help spread Christmas cheer. The clubs have joined forces to throw a family-friendly "Holly Jolly Holiday Party," sponsored by Student Government Association, that will raise money for South Central Mental Health (SCMH) center.
SCMH is a nonprofit organization in Kansas that provides mental health and community-based services to 412 children in Wichita and its surrounding areas. Nearly 70 percent of the children SCMH helps come from poverty-stricken families. With a goal of keeping children out of hospitals, SCMH provides outpatient care in a safe environment.
Cassie Stull is a team leader in the Andover center and said the services are tailored to each individual.
"Our staff is highly trained and only use evidence-based practices," said Stull. "South Central Mental Health is dedicated to providing the highest quality of behavioral health services. Our services are offered to everyone in the greater Wichita area, regardless of the severity of illness or income level."
The diversity clubs co-hosting the event include the Black Student Union, the Hispanic-American Leadership Organization, the International Student Association, the Multi-Cultural Leadership Organization and the LGBTQ club, Kaleidoscope.
The party will be filled with Christmas-oriented activities including sugar cookie decorating, ornament decorating, a hot chocolate bar, Christmas carols sung by the Newman University Troubadours and, of course, an appearance by Santa.
Delaney Hiegert, president of Kaleidoscope, said, "We felt that a partnership with SCMH would be a great opportunity to provide care and service to the youth in our community who may not always get to experience the holiday season in as cheerful of a light as most children."
The goal of the fundraiser is to "adopt” children and their family who are receiving services from SCMH program. It takes approximately $150 to help make one family's holidays a little brighter.
An employee of SCMH said the money raised will help children in more than one center. She said a family in El Dorado needs a Christmas tree and a 5-year old boy and his older brother who live in the home will receive gifts such as take-apart sensory toys and construction toys. Families from Andover and Augusta will also benefit from the fundraiser, receiving gifts for their young children, Christmas decorations and more.
The party will take place 6:30-9 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center. The event is open to anyone in the community who would like to join in on the fun. Admission is $3 per person or $10 for a family ticket. Children 2 and under will be admitted free of charge.