A burn of determination for 2017

When I originally sat down to write this year-in-review, I was ready for the victory lap.

From our number of volunteers and completed service hours to the new partnerships and projects to our funding and staff increases, 2016 was the best year ever for The Call KC. By every measuring stick, the past 12 months was a huge success, and I was set to bask in that glory.

But as I poured over the numbers, files and photos, my pride quickly dissipated into something quite different — determination.

The best description I can give is a fire within a fire. That inner heart of a flame that sustains its outer whips of red, yellow and orange, no matter what surrounds it. It's a burning sensation — a desire to do more, to do better — and that's what I really want to share.

In the following bullets, please take a look at what we achieved these past 12 months. Then continue on to what I want to focus on...2017. It was too great of a year not to be excited for what's to come, and I simply can't wait any longer. The fire burns too deep.

  • The final impact statistics for 2016 were amazing. We tripled 2015's numbers and had our best year by a mile. In total, we helped connect and/or recruit 3,338 volunteers to complete 9,606 service hours.
  • That effort allowed us to surpass over 15,000 service hours since 2013, with the number currently sitting at 15,339.
  • Also, because of the 5,441 volunteers who amassed those hours, we've now helped 127 different charities in Kansas City and saved those organizations $353,871 over that span.
  • As far as collaboration, we were blessed to gain many great partners. So many that I'm afraid to leave someone out, so please check out the blog, our social media posts and photos and you'll see them all in action.
  • In addition, our education partners skyrocketed. We're now helping students in nearly 20 different schools volunteer. That ranges from kindergarten to college and includes our giant Service Learning Days as well as our classroom and club/team programming.
  • Through those initiatives, we helped 2,613 students complete 6,975 service hours, including our largest SLD to date last April.
  • Due to that success, we we're lucky enough to be profiled in the Kansas City Star and on Channel 41.
  • Socktober 2016 was also a massive success as we collected 8,848 pairs of new socks for 23 different homeless shelters in Kansas and Missouri. That took 37 groups, all of which are kind beyond words.
  • Lastly, we did all that with an operating budget under $16,000 and that was only possible because of a 26-person staff that is dedicated as much as it cares (which is a lot). Without our board of directors and committee members, none of this would exist. I wouldn't exist.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who supported The Call KC in some way, shape or form in 2016. Just by looking at the numbers you can see the direct impact we're having in Kansas City. It's a real, positive change that is lasting and meaningful.

Which brings me to my final note, what does the future hold? I spoke of a consuming fire that rests in the depths of my soul, and that's all because of you and your efforts. Reread the above notes and tell me you don't feel the same. We all desire to do more, to do better, to care as much as we possibly can for that is what we do as humans — we love, love, love.

What The Call KC has planned for 2017 will take that passion and this movement to the next level. From event planning to apparel to virtual reality, the future holds no bounds that we can't burn through. All that and more is coming this year, but until it does know this — we can do more and we will.

This fire will never go out.

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