Junior League of Topeka Announces the Community Volunteer Award
The Community Volunteer Award is awarded annually to outstanding volunteers in our community. Nominations are made exclusively by members of the Junior League of Topeka.
Award Winners are given a donation to their charity of choice on behalf of the Junior League of Topeka. These individuals have given selflessly of their time, hard work, and acts of kindness to our community and deserve to be recognized.
“We are proud to honor Glendon and Sara for the work that they do to improve the lives of children and families in our community,” says Erin Aldridge, Junior League of Topeka President. “Their work aligns directly with the work that we are doing to address the negative influences of Child Welfare as impacted by violence and community instability.”
Glendon and Sara Wilhelm, of Topeka, started their Party with a Purpose (PWP) in December 2008 as a branch off of another big Topeka PWP run by Pat and Connie Michaelis. Sara, a Physician Assistant at Cotton O'Neil Pediatrics, was seeing a patient in the office whose family had lost everything in a house fire just 2 weeks before Christmas. The Wilhelms rallied a small group of friends and adopted the family for the holiday.
What once was a quaint party held in their basement, quickly grew over the years to an event that the Sunrise Optimist building can barely accommodate. In 2010 they adopted five families, in 2012 10 families, and by 2017 they adopted 42 families. Last year, on the 10th Anniversary, they adopted 59 families, totaling 289 people. The families they adopt stem from those listed with The United Way of Topeka, local schools, and local churches. The work for the PWP gets done on a single night in December through the generosity of the Wilhelm's friends and family in the Topeka community. The Wilhelms invite their friends to bring teams of people that shop for the families the night of the party. The gifts are wrapped that night and ready for delivery on a later date by the team captain. Last year alone, almost 300 people were in attendance. The PWP is a 501(c)(3) organization in partnership with the Community Resources Council (CRC) in Topeka.
Glendon and Sara are natives of Seneca, Kansas, and will celebrate 20 years of marriage in August. Glendon has worked for Laird Noller Ford in Topeka for the past 20 years. Over the years, Sara has worked for Stormont Vail Health as a Medical Assistant, a Registered Nurse, and a Physician Assistant starting in 1998. In 2017, Sara was honored to be named one of Topeka's Top 20 Under 40 by the Jayhawk Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, for her work as a PA and for the greater good of the Topeka community through the PWP. She also serves as a CRC board member and a member of the Advance Practice Practitioner Board at Stormont Vail Health.
The Wilhelm’s will be honored at the June 19th Junior League of Topeka Membership Meeting at Topeka Country Club. Event begins at 5:30PM with a social, program and dinner will begin a 6:30PM.
The Junior League to Topeka is an 87 year old organization of women committed to developing the potential of women, promoting voluntarism and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. For more information, please visit www.jltopeka.org.