By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays Leadership Class of 2023 is partnering with Camber Children’s Mental Health Center of Hays on a recreational item donation drive.
The Camber facility includes acute and residential pediatric mental health beds. Camber was formerly known as KVC which was at the Hadley Center.
Camber prefers young West Kansas. It can accommodate 14 children in the acute ward and 18 in the residential ward.
The Leadership Hays group each year chooses a community project that benefits young people.
Camber, who is in a new facility, is in need of craft supplies and toys. The trip will start on Sunday and will last until June 24th.
The supplies should be for children aged 7 to 17
Items may be new or gently used.
Paper, no spiral notebooks
Craft projects without strings, wires or metal. No pipe cleaners
“If you have a board game that’s been in the closet for four years, [donate it]. I have several that will be donated,” said First Call for Help Hays Leadership Class member Laura Allen.
Items will be sorted before they go to Camber to ensure all items are appropriate for the youth in that environment.
Camber’s Sarah Berens said the need for these items is twofold.
“The only thing is, a lot of these items can be used in therapeutic treatment,” she said, “Whether it’s group therapy or individual family therapy, you can use a lot of those expressive therapy techniques to help them process the their trauma.
“The other is while they’re there, we want to provide ways for them to even be a child. If you were doing the treatment 24/7, it would be very difficult to process emotionally. You have to have times where you have some relief from that and some normal activities.”
Drop off locations will include:
Hays Room, 2700 Vine
Forsyth Library on the Fort Hays State University campus
Hay Bank, 1000 W. 27th
First Bank of Kansas, 1200 E. 27th
Nex-Tech on 13th Street
The Hays Leadership class has received seed money from Hays Chamber, which will be used to purchase an outdoor inflatable screen and karaoke machine.
Camber may also accept cash donations. If you’d like to make a cash donation, you can do so through the Camber website. Select the location of Hays. If you choose “Other” under “Designation” on the donation page, you can specify this project.
You can also deposit a check at the Hays Chamber office labeled Camber or Leadership Hays.
Cash donations will also go to Camber for the construction of an outdoor shelter at its new location and playground equipment. The equipment must meet the needs of young people with mental health problems.
“The Chamber Leadership program, I think, was an eye opener. I walked in not knowing what it was, and it brought this group of people together,” said Janice Jacobs, a member of Vyve’s Hays Leadership class. “We went to a leadership conference in Wichita and learned a lot about developing our leadership skills in our community.
“I feel like we’ve had different ideas and suggestions, and you work as a group and a team … It’s just been fun.”
JAG-K, which is a Hays High School program that builds support around at-risk students, will continue the program after this year.
JAG-K already participates in service projects on a regular basis, including blood drives and an HHS pantry hygiene drive last year.
“Toy driving seemed like a good thing that we could perpetuate from year to year,” said Bryan Zollinger, JAG-K instructor.
Zollinger said high school students benefit from hands-on learning.
“There are a lot of people that if you get them involved in actually doing the project rather than getting the information, they collect that stuff,” he said. “They learn some transferable skills that they can bring to the workplace after graduation.”
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