Collector - May 2017 - 56
Building a Team
Longtime Kansas Counselors Inc. employees volunteer to help at-risk youth.
By Katy Zillmer
ometimes the most fulfilling
initiatives have humble beginnings.
Take, for instance, Tana and
Cameron Karim's personal support of a
local youth mentorship organization in
Kansas City, Mo., which has grown into a
larger initiative backed by their longtime
employer, Kansas Counselors Inc. (KCI).
Youth RISE is a nonprofit charity
organization that aims to provide
opportunities at-risk youth may not
otherwise have been afforded due to their
socio-economic status and other factors that
hinder them from succeeding, according to
the group's website.
The organization coordinates
soccer-for the kids, in addition to other
resources and support during times of need.
In 2016, the Karims' daughter started
volunteering with the organization and now
is a certified assistant coach for Youth RISE
As parents of a youth volunteer, Tana
and Cameron, KCI's client liaison manager
and director of operations, respectively,
became more involved with Youth RISE, and
eventually their son started playing on one of
"As we started being a part of the team
as spectators, we got behind what the
coach is doing with the organization,"
Knowing their company's history of
supporting local organizations through
fundraisers and volunteerism, Cameron and
Tana approached KCI President Clarence
White about helping out Youth RISE.
"We're always looking for something
unique and different we can sponsor," White
said. "Their personal involvement in the
cause made KCI want to get involved."
In addition to leading soccer practices
and games, Youth RISE volunteers ensure
the kids participate in community service
projects and focus on their academics.
For example, Tana said the kids are
required to submit grade reports to the
organization's coach, Anabelle Murphy-
who also works with the Kansas City Police
Department-and focus on their homework
between games and practices. Parents also
volunteer as tutors to help the youth with
The Kansas City Police Department
supports the organization by allowing the
kids to use its community center facility,
including a gym, swimming pool and
outdoor soccer fields.
"It's more than just a soccer team," Tana
Kids on the team represent a variety of
countries, including Kenya, Haiti, Thailand,
Somalia, Congo, Ethiopia and Mexico.
Cameron noted that the Youth RISE
program helps them learn life skills, ethics
In January, Tana and Cameron had the
opportunity to chaperone a soccer team,
the Jaguars, on a trip to Texas for their first
soccer tournament. They drove the kids
to the tournament and provided donated
bags of toiletries, including toothpaste and
toothbrushes gifted from a client. Staying
at a hotel and going out to dinner, activities
others may take for granted, were especially
meaningful to the team.
"You can definitely tell in these kids the
appreciation they have for the things that
people are doing for them," Cameron said.
During the team's regular practices and
games in Missouri, volunteers like Tana
and Cameron attend games and provide
transportation for the kids. Tana said their
assistance at the games provides added
support to the kids and their parents, who
are often working and may not be able to
attend the activities.
Tana and Cameron intend to continue
their volunteer efforts with Youth RISE and
may become part of the organization's board
Cameron said the organization is also
planning more tournaments because of the
success of the Texas event and impact on the
"I am especially proud of these two longterm employees for their personal involvement
and unselfish participation to make this such a
great program," White said.
Katy Zillmer is ACA International's