November brings to mind many things — family gatherings, turkey-laden meals and the comforts of home. It also is an ideal time to give thanks, and Darol Rodrock feels he has much to be thankful for this year.
It was in January of 2014 that Rodrock announced the formation of his own charity, The Darol Rodrock Foundation, to help children in foster care realize their self worth and overcome the loneliness and uncertainty they may feel. It was a daunting prospect for Rodrock and a departure from his role as Johnson County’s largest residential real estate developer. But the idea of giving back, in particular to a cause that helped shape his personal and professional path, was too compelling to ignore.
Uncertain how colleagues and friends would respond to his announcement, Rodrock was incredibly humbled to find so many willing to give of their time, treasure and talents to support The Darol Rodrock Foundation. At a gala in January, hundreds in the community came out to celebrate Rodrock’s 70th birthday and help kick start his foundation.
“I never believed so many people would come out and celebrate, but more importantly, would give so much to help local foster kids,” Rodrock said. “I’m so humbled, so thankful for all those who gave.”
There were dozens who donated, more than can be included here. A complete list of donors, to whom Rodrock is beyond grateful, can be found here: darolrodrockfoundation.org/Sponsors.html.
Among those who’ve gone above and beyond is James Engle Custom Homes, which built a stunning home in Stonebridge Park in Olathe. This Charity Home, in the ever-popular “Emery Expanded” floor plan, has four bedrooms, a full office/optional bedroom, upstairs loft and 31/2 bathrooms. A large gourmet kitchen features an expansive kitchen island, granite counter tops, and walk-in pantry. A large dining area next to the kitchen boasts vaulted ceilings and arched transom windows.
While these opulent extras are exciting, it all pales in comparison to what the sale of this house will mean. That’s because all proceeds from the sale of this incredible home go directly to the Darol Rodrock Foundation.
“James Engle chooses to support local charities, giving back to the residents in our community who’ve so graciously embraced our organization,” said Jim Engle, owner of James Engle Custom Homes. “This specific charity, which raises awareness and support for foster children, has touched our hearts. We wanted to be a part of it.”
It’s an extraordinary combination: an incredible home from one of Kansas City’s top builders in one of the best Rodrock Development communities all for a most worthy cause. And such remarkable generosity on behalf of James Engle Custom Homes and so many others has led to a very exciting announcement for The Darol Rodrock Foundation — and yet one more reason to be grateful. The Foundation, after careful consideration and thorough vetting, has chosen to align its efforts with Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP (KKGU) for the next three years.
While there are many incredible groups aiding those in the foster-care system, KKGU seeks to help those aging out of the system, which is where Darol Rodrock’s heart is likewise called.
Rodrock, himself a foster child, said, “After conducting dozens of meetings with all of the fine, caring people involved in the foster-care world, we were touched and overwhelmed by the number of people doing amazing work. We’ve tried to find ‘our place’ in the field, and my heart has always been with the kids who are aging out. I understand this better than anyone, because I lived this life myself until I found a loving family to guide and believe in me. If LaVonne and Ray Robinson hadn’t taken me in, I would have been lost.”
Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP is a one-of-a-kind organization that sets up shop within different high schools throughout the state of Kansas, including Miami, Franklin, Wyandotte and Johnson counties. There, walking the halls of the high schools, mentors interact with foster children on a daily basis, helping them through the ups and downs of school … and life. They keep students on track with their studies, provide financial aid and ACT/SAT workshops, travel for college visits, and provide kids the support they need to succeed. The talented mentors “parent” these children and help them find their path.
With the support of The Darol Rodrock Foundation, KKGU can serve more schools, hire more mentors, and provide a higher success rate for those in the foster-care system. As Rodrock so humbly acknowledges, none of this would be possible without the support of countless businesses and individuals in the Kansas City area. For this, he wants to take a minute to say “thank you,” though the words fall short of his immense gratitude during this holiday season.
For more information, visit DarolRodrockFoundation.org.
Darol Rodrock Foundation