Twenty-year-old Robert Zevenbergen, an alumnus of St. Patrick Elementary School, Kansas City, Kan., and St. James Academy, Lenexa, Kan., and a freshman at Drake University, Des Moines, was the tragic victim of a fatal crossover accident on K-10 on March 20.
On June 21, parents of the St. Patrick Class of 2009 will commemorate Robert with “Remembering Robert: A Luau with Love” to raise funds to construct a new emergency shelter for Wyandotte County children in crisis. The event is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. at the St. Patrick Parish Center, 94th and State Ave., Kansas City, Kan. Tickets for the dinner are available at $25 a person. Call 913-328-4667 or email email@example.com for more information or to make a donation.
“While the circumstances that prompted this special event are heartbreaking for all of us,” said Sheri Seeman, whose son attended grade school and high school with Robert, “we’re channeling our sadness into positive energy to bring people together to celebrate Robert’s memory and to raise funds for a very worthy cause.”
Robert was the son of Cindy and Pete Zevenbergen. Pete Zevenbergen is the president and CEO of Wyandot, Inc., a family of organizations that includes PACES, a nonprofit Wyandotte County agency that provides services to address behavioral and emotional issues of children and adolescents, and their families.
Since January 2009, PACES has provided short-term shelter for children, ages 3 to 17, in need of emergency shelter or respite care. Through no fault of their own, these children are placed in police protective custody due to suspected abuse in their homes. They need a safe place to stay. Or, parents of PACES clients may need temporary respite care for their children. When the kids are experiencing behavioral or emotional problems that are straining family relationships, the short-term shelter helps avoid out-of-home placement by giving the family time to stabilize.
“In both cases – emergency shelter and respite – PACES’ goal is to avoid out-of-home placement and to minimize further traumatizing already traumatized young lives,” explained Randy Callstrom, PACES executive director.
However, during the past year, PACES turned away more than 100 children needing services because of lack of space.
“The need in Wyandotte County has outgrown the current emergency shelter’s space, and a new shelter is urgently needed,” Callstrom said.
The goal of PACES “A Place to be Safe” capital campaign is to raise $1.1 million to construct the new shelter.
Visit www.paceskidsshelter.org for more information.
– From Therese Horvat, director of communications, Wyandot Inc.