Keana Palmer, a dedicated social work student at Pittsburg State University, embarked on a mission that transcended the boundaries of a classroom assignment. Her endeavor, a diaper and book drive for KCSL mothers, was fueled by a deep-rooted inspiration and a commitment to alleviate the challenges faced by families in her community. In her women’s studies course, Keana’s assignment urged students to apply their knowledge and become catalysts for change. Drawing from her upbringing, Keana was intimately familiar with the hardships faced by single mothers. Witnessing her own mother’s relentless efforts to provide for their family without external support ignited a passion within Keana.
“Although my mom made every effort to shield us from her struggles, I could not help but notice the weight she carried,” Keana said. “It inspired me to relieve the financial burdens and foster a love for learning in children facing similar circumstances.”
Planning the Drive
With the costs of diapers and children’s books soaring, Keana aimed to provide tangible support to mothers enduring circumstances like those her own family had once faced. The journey from idea to impactful initiative was marked by community support and strategic planning. Keana initiated her fundraiser by spreading awareness through social media and setting up donation boxes across the campus. Leveraging connections within her family and seeking guidance from KCSL professionals, she received an outpouring of support. Families, friends, and even local businesses contributed generously, both with donations and monetary support. She collected a range of items including diapers of all sizes, pull-ups, wipes, formula and children’s books.
Committed to Helping Others
Reflecting on her experience, Keana offers valuable advice to aspiring volunteers and donors. She emphasizes the importance of genuine passion for the cause, meticulous planning and leveraging resources within the community. Challenges are inevitable, she notes, but staying committed and patient is key to surmounting them.
“No matter how much power you may think you have or how little of a difference you may think you can make, it holds value,” Keana said. “Embrace your passion and make that initial step to engage in projects that resonate with you. You will not only impact individuals in the community, but you will grow as an individual.”
Driven to Empower and Inspire
Beyond her current initiative, Keana remains deeply involved in volunteering efforts. From serving meals at the Lord’s Diner to plans with organizations like Happy Bottoms and Big Brothers Big Sisters, her commitment to making a tangible impact remains unwavering. Her academic aspirations revolve around advocating for vulnerable communities, particularly juveniles. Keana’s goal is to empower and inspire marginalized populations, improve mental health services and expand resources for those in need. With a resolute determination to bring about positive change, Keana aims to be the support system she once yearned for during challenging times.
The story of Keana’s initiative is a testament to the power of personal experience, empathy and the unwavering commitment of individuals dedicated to building stronger families—one diaper and one book at a time.