Children entering the Salvation Army Children’s Shelter in Kansas City often are going through a dark period in their lives.
About 90 percent of them have been removed from their homes by social service workers because of allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment. The rest have been placed there by parents who are trying to prevent a crisis in their homes.
Still, it doesn’t mean the shelter itself has to be dark.
“You want the kids to see this as a bright, cheery place,” said center director Amanda Buehler.
The center, which has served more than 6,300 children since 1981, depends on volunteers to not only help with the children, but also keep the facility at 101 W. Linwood Blvd. looking fresh and inviting.
On Saturday, about 15 employees and agents of the New York Life insurance company and their friends and families spent the morning repainting the entry hallways, replacing a dull institutional gray with a more vivid, kid-friendly yellow.
It was the group’s second visit to the shelter. In May, New York Life volunteers spread two truckloads of mulch on a shelter playground.
Marla Christie, who coordinates the foundation’s volunteers in Leawood, said she encourages employees and agents to involve their children in these efforts. They learn lessons that last a lifetime, she said.
“When children learn that there are kids who don’t have it as well as they do, they get excited about it,” Christie said.
Salvation Army Maj. Andrew Miller said the good will and support of its volunteers allow his group to make the most of scarce resources.
“For them to do this is just wonderful,” Miller said.