Many people feel called to donate their time and money to causes that they champion. John Barnes, Chief Operating Officer at the workplace food solutions provider Company Kitchen, knew that he wanted to support a nonprofit that helped kids in his community. When he discovered KVC Health Systems, he knew it was the right organization for him to support in order to make a difference. Learn more about what drives John to give back and be involved.
Q: How did you hear about KVC?
John: My wife, daughters and I moved to the Kansas City area when I took a position at Pepsi as the Vice President of Operations. Through my work at Pepsi, I was introduced to the President of Ball’s Foods, Fred Ball and his son, David Ball. The Ball Family is deeply involved with KVC and has been since its inception. Fred was serving on the KVC Executive Board of Directors and talked to my wife, Lori, about the KVC General Advisory Board. Lori was really moved by the mission at KVC and the desire to help kids that she ended up joining the KVC General Board and served for over ten years.
Q: When did you join the KVC Executive Board?
John: The former President and CEO of KVC, Wayne Sims, called me 11 years ago when KVC was moving their corporate headquarters to Olathe, Kansas from Kansas City, Kansas. Wayne asked me to join the Executive Board because KVC would be new to the Olathe community. He thought I could be an ambassador for KVC since I worked in Olathe and had many professional and personal connections that could help KVC in supporting the families they work with. My role on the board has shifted to more general business information since KVC has become an integral part of the Olathe community.
Q: What motivated you to get involved with our organization?
John: The more my wife and I learned about KVC by serving on boards, the more we wanted to help. We already support KVC’s fundraising events but wanted to be able to contribute on a more continual basis. We helped KVC launch its Everyday Hero monthly giving program in June 2011 at the KVC Hero Luncheon. Everyday Heroes are people who commit to contributing some amount — any amount they choose — on a recurring monthly basis to financially support the families served by KVC. These are families in crisis due to mental health needs, lack of support networks, and exposure to childhood adversity. Most people don’t realize that KVC is a nonprofit and there’s a huge gap in paying for the services that families need. KVC really needs more people to support the kids and programs that are helping people.
I’m proud to say we were some of the first people to sign up to become Everyday Heroes. While there’s a huge need for people to become foster parents to care for abused and neglected children, Lori and I knew that wasn’t the right fit for us. We both travel too much and don’t have the stable schedule that kids need. But we can donate. It’s not the exact same impact as caring for a child — foster parents are the most courageous people I know — but even a little bit every month can add up to a lot in the long run. Kids don’t get to choose what kind of circumstances they’re born into. Everyday Heroes provide support to foster families so that kids can focus on just being kids.
Watch this video to learn about John and Lori Barnes’ childhood heroes:
Q: Why do you like working with KVC?
John: I’ve really loved being a part of the board and making an impact in that way. It’s helped me to understand the needs of the kids and families that become involved in the child welfare system. I’ve also learned about mental health and how someone can be affected by trauma. It’s so important to me that we help kids be safe and happy and help them to be with their families.
KVC’s Everyday Hero program is easy to join. When you become an Everyday Hero, you will be empowering foster families to give children and families the love and support they deserve. Learn more here.