Seeing that teachers and school staff are stressed trying to balance teaching and safety, Rick Krapes, Financial Representative at Country Financial, created the Best Teacher, Best Administrator and Best School Support Hero in KC Awards for the community to rally around their school heroes. “All deserve a word of encouragement and thank you for Thanksgiving,” said Mr. Krapes. “Having three separate awards also helps to acknowledge multiple people and maybe some that tend to defer recognition to others (like principals).”

Over $12,000 in funds was raised to support the awards, not including media sponsorships by Fox 4 Great Day, 102.1 and Mix 93.3. An awards ceremony will be held January 8, where winners will receive engraved awards, prizes and gift cards. Gift cards range from educational product gift cards, health & wellness gift cards to steak dinners for two.  Several Grand Prizes will also be raffled, including a retreat package to Hotel Avalon and massages from Lu Lavender, a gift basket from Olive Garden, and a health & wellness party package from In the Zone.  Some sponsors are providing consolation gifts to all that were nominated!

Many great stories have come out of the awards. Mr. Krapes recalls one of the most memorable to be when “a winner last year that said they were so discouraged they were planning on quitting until they got nominated as the Best Teacher. This encouraged them to keep teaching.”

Mr. Krapes has been an active Caring for Kids partner at many schools over the past few years, including Broken Arrow, Apache, Merriam Park, Nieman, Shawanoe, Santa Fe Trail, SM North, Hocker Grove, Lenexa Hills, Rhein Benninghoven, Rosehill, Tomahawk, and Warford. He also is involved with SMSD Project Home & Hickman Mills Impact. Projects he has participated in include remodeling a teachers’ lounge, community clean-up, STEM Nights, parent engagement nights, literacy nights (dressing in costumes and doing a show), career day, costume drives, and bike rodeos.

“Getting engaged in the schools not only gives back to the students, but you can build real relationship with the parents as well,” he said. For educators and school staff, his desire is “for each and every one to be appreciated and supported in school goals as well as their personal lives. Finding that balance enables long careers and lasting generational community impact.”

Mr. Krapes added, “Caring for Kids is a critical organization to keep engagement and help to facilitate a support network connecting businesses, non-profits and the schools in a way that can build a lasting community impact. This is a difficult but necessary task to keep all parties finding win/wins so schools can stay focused doing what they are good at: teachings kids while businesses and non-profits can come around the school within their own resources with ways to enrich the lives of the kids and parents, and become a real community more than any one organization could do.”