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Lied Plans for Quality and Relevance

Derek Kwan, director of the Lied Center in Lawrence, explained the process that he and his staff use to book a winning season of programs. The goal is to devise a selection of options where every potential patron can find something that appeals to their taste. The task is to juggle quality with relevance, Kwan says. A successful selection will bring the necessary critical mass of audiences to the Lied.

A judgment about quality involves research about what awards and positive reviews a program has received in other places.

Relevance is an educated assessment of the needs of the various stakeholders that the Lied serves: the Lawrence community and schools; KU and its students; and supporters such as Friends of the Lied, Kansas Public Radio, Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning, and local businesses.

As Lawrence is a secondary market near Kansas City, the Lied seeks to avoid over-saturating the market. In addition, they must consider the size and cost of the production itself as well as exclusivity concerns.

Kansas Land Trust Treasures Are Nearby

Jerry Jost returned to tell the story of the Kansas Land Trust once again. At this presentation, he highlighted the various types of protected lands: farmland, prairie, woodlands, streams, and wildlife areas. The Trust protects 77 lands in 22 Kansas counties covering 39,000 acres.

Trail in Lawrence Nature Park

Many Rotarians had not visited the Lawrence Nature Park on the Lichtwardt Conservation Easement in northwest Lawrence off of Folks Road. Its trails wander through 37 acres of woodlands.

To find prairie and wildflowers, visit Akin Easement south and east of Lawrence.

Wildflower at Akin Easement

Other Douglas County areas held by the Trust include the private lands of Earles Woodland, located east of Baldwin City, and the Hamilton Farmland near Eudora. A list of places you can visit is available on the Kansas Land Trust website.

Action in the Kansas Statehouse

Despite the shortened session, the Kansas Statehouse was full of action during the recently-completed legislative session, according to Stephen Koranda, award-winning Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service. 

Koranda highlighted the arguments that arose related to Governor Kelly’s closure of the State in the face of the coronavirus. The recent spike in infections will fan differences of opinion, as will strategies to manage the projected 8% shortfall in the State budget. He also commented on recent events in the State Department of Labor, on the new vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court, and on Kansas competitions for national office.

Koranda encouraged everyone to express his or her opinions by voting in the upcoming primary and general elections.

Program Impacts Are Both Big and Little

Big Brothers/Big Sisters serves Douglas  and several other counties in northeast Kansas.  The Northeast Area Director is Jeff Jack, a retired juvenile court judge and now an enthusiastic advocate for the non-profit. 

Jack explained that in Kansas, the program focus is on at-risk youth ages 5 to 17.  These youths face adversity for one reason or another and need an adult mentor and role model.  About 85% of “littles” are from single-parent homes and/or live in poverty.  Sixty percent come from environments involving drug and alcohol abuse; 40% have witnessed domestic violence; and 30% have an incarcerated parent.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters finds that 52% of the young people in the program are able to finish school, go on to further training or education, and become strong wage earners.  Participants tend to avoid violence and drug/alcohol use. 

Fifty-two “Littles” are waiting for a match in Douglas County.  the program needs not only volunteers but also referals and contributions. Money raised in Douglas County stays in Douglas County, Jack declared.  Two fundraisers are in planning stages:  a Disc Golf Tournament on July 25 and a Gingerbread House Gala in December.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters creates life-long and life-changing friendships.  One Rotary member noted that his wife was a Big Sister many years ago and that she still keeps in touch with her “Little” who has grown up to become a successful young woman.  

Mindfulness during Stressful Times


Central Rotarian Julia Guaghan, Prevention and Education Manager at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, addressed how to maintain behavioral health during times of stress, an ideal topic for the Club’s first virtual meeting during the COVID-10 crisis.  Julia declared that resiliency and well-being can be enhanced with mindfulness practices.

Julia shared several apps and other resources that people can use to cultivate mindfulness practice.  One is an app called  myStrengths Ten Percent Happier is a great book/app/resource/podcast to learn more about the science behind meditation.  She also noted that Yale University has a free course on the Science of Well-Being.

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