Above photo, from left to right: Susan Crane-Laracuente, Jenny Jones, Mark Ayres (United Way loaned executive) and Larry Heck.
After decades serving as the Newman University United Way ambassador, Larry Heck, professor emeritus for the Division of Social Sciences, has passed the proverbial torch.
The newest ambassadors, Associate Professor of English Susan Crane-Laracuente and Wichita Master of Social Work Program Coordinator Jennifer Jones, will co-lead efforts to encourage Newman community members to take action.
Heck said he has enjoyed his time working with the nonprofit organization as ambassador but, after retiring, knew it was time to hand the task to someone new.
Crane and Jones had similar motives for signing up for the job — aiding United Way in spreading the message of hope to a community they love.
“I have long admired Larry Heck’s graciousness in this role and many other roles he has fulfilled over the years,” said Crane. “And I believe in the importance of United Way, with its powerful focus on local communities and significant help for many nonprofits and individuals.”
Jones said in the field of social work, she has referred many people to United Way and many of her students work in agencies that United Way supports and that are on the resource guide.
The pair will be “coordinating and promoting an annual fundraising campaign drive for United Way in collaboration with local United Way personnel,” said Crane. She added they would also like to focus on ways to get students, staff and faculty to volunteer for intermittent service projects.
The number of lives United Way touches each year is massive and even some Newman community members have benefited from services in a variety of ways.
“Last year, 35 Newman employees or family members of employees in various kinds of need received help from United Way,” explained Crane. “This focus on helping people in times of need strikes me as concordant with the Newman University mission and represents a way of upholding it.”
They are both looking forward to working with the Newman community as they begin their endeavor. For more information or to learn more about getting involved, contact Crane at [email protected] or Jones at [email protected].