Students at Kansas City Kansas Community College have been volunteering at the community food giveaways held this month at the KCKCC-TEC, 6565 State Ave. One is scheduled for today.

Andrica Wilcoxen, outreach and prevention coordinator at KCKCC, said 400 families were served at the food giveaway held at the site earlier this month. There was a one-hour wait in line at that event.

Some of the recipients of the free food are KCKCC students, and there are also a lot of student volunteers from the college.

Wilcoxen said many students want to give back to the effort, and are volunteering their time.

Among the KCKCC students who have been volunteering were members of the soccer team, the girls basketball team, students in the psychology classes who have a service component in their classes, and the honors student group at the college.

“I’m pretty proud to see our students giving and not just receiving,” Wilcoxen said.

The food giveaway is scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at 65th and State in Kansas City, Kan. It is free and open to the public. Persons are encouraged to arrive early; there might be a wait at the site.

Those attending will receive free groceries on a first-come, first-served basis, and the amount of groceries is based on the number of people in the family. There are no income restrictions. The program is sponsored by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Harvesters food bank, with KCKCC a partner in the effort.

Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are among the groceries that are given away.

by Mary Rupert

Lottery tickets are not a good holiday gift for children, according to the “Gift Responsibly” campaign.

Andrica Wilcoxen, outreach and prevention coordinator at Kansas City Kansas Community College, said the National Council of Problem Gambling is sponsoring the holiday campaign this year called “Gift Responsibly.”

“Lottery tickets are not suitable gifts for children under 18 years of age,” Wilcoxen said.

The holiday campaign encourages parents and loved ones not to give lottery products as gifts to minors.

Wilcoxen said research shows the majority of adolescents gamble occasionally, and holiday products may be a gateway to problem gambling.

“Youth gambling has been shown to be linked to other risk-taking and addictive behaviors such as smoking, drinking and drug use,” Wilcoxen said.

There is problem gambling among some youth in Wyandotte County, according to Wilcoxen.

She held a problem gambling booth at a middle school in Wyandotte County last week to bring awareness and education to that age group.

While there, she met a middle school student who gambles and loves to play the lottery, she said.

He pulled out his wallet and had two lottery tickets that he was excited about. He told her his dad buys the tickets for him. He told her he was excited about getting out of school and cashing them in for a win that day, she added.

“I was shocked to see the young man with lottery tickets,” Wilcoxen said. “It is a form of entertainment, but they don’t understand how that can turn into an addiction.”

She said she is finding that young women in middle school are often more responsible than the young men.

“We’re finding that our young men, middle school boys, are not as concerned about becoming addicted to gambling as the young ladies are,” she said. “The young ladies are more responsible. Young men want the chase.”

She asks students if they think gambling is right or wrong, and many young men say it’s right because one can win money and pay the bills. Many young women say it’s wrong because one can lose money and that money could have bought other things, she said.

She advises parents and relatives not to buy lottery tickets for the youth so they don’t become problem gamblers.

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Cheryl Coleman
Cheryl Coleman

by Kelly Rogge

Cheryl Coleman might not have been at Kansas City Kansas Community College for a long time, but as she prepares for retirement, there is quite a bit she will miss about the community college.

“I will miss the staff and faculty here at the college,” said the human resources director at KCKCC. “I have learned a lot and enjoyed working with everyone.”

Coleman has been director of human resources at KCKCC, for the last five years. Prior to coming to college, she was the director of human resources for 18 years at Swope Parkway Health Center and spent three years at MAST Ambulance. She also worked for three years at KCATA and for five years as a civil rights investigator for the city of Kansas City, Mo.

“I am a baby boomer and just thought it was time to retire,” she said about her decision to retire. “I want to spend more time with my mother and do whatever I desire.”

Looking back on her time at KCKCC, Coleman said she is proud of the annual open enrollment sessions, starting formal new employee orientations and always being available for KCKCC employees whenever questions needed answered. She said she believes in learning, so she enjoyed learning something new every day no matter how big or small.

“What I hoped for was to do a good job every, single day,” she said. “I think I have learned something from every division and employee I have come in contact with.”

In retirement, Coleman said she plans to volunteer at her church, volunteer at a social agency and perhaps take an exercise or dance class – after she takes the first few weeks to sit and enjoy the free time. She said she is also thinking about possibly working full-time and of course, spending more time with her grandchildren.

“My hope for KCKCC is to see an increase in enrollment and for divisions, employees and management to work together more often,” she said. “I just want to see continued growth in the great programs at the college.”

Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor for Kansas City Kansas Community College.