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Volunteers from IMA spread paint, cheer at Starkey offices, group homes

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, April 27, 2013, at 4:06 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, April 27, 2013, at 4:06 p.m.

It’s amazing what a new coat of paint can do.

On an otherwise dreary Saturday morning, a host of exceedingly chipper volunteers from insurance brokerage IMA spread sunshine and beige paint in the similarly dreary cafeteria at Starkey Inc., a nonprofit that cares for the developmentally disabled.

About 75 IMA associates painted and did light maintenance at Starkey’s main offices, 4500 W. Maple, and a couple of its nearby group homes.

“It’s nice to have help with some of the large projects we wouldn’t get to for a long time,” said Colin McKenney, CEO of Starkey.

It’ll be a big deal for their clients, he said.

“They’ll be talking about this for weeks,” he said. “It makes the whole place brighter.”

Starkey has 450 clients in 43 residential homes and is building a 22-unit residential complex at Central and West streets. They are typically bused in to the main office for social and occupational training.

It was still pretty early Saturday when the IMA crew started bustling around, moving tables and drink machines, hauling paint cans and getting to work.

They repainted the cafeteria and loading bay in the main building. Other crews worked at Starkey group homes.

Plans to do some landscaping were scrapped by the weather.

Ashley Weston and Betty Jantz were two of a large crew that painted the exterior of a group home.

“It’s a good thing for the community and it gets us out there,” Weston said.

Jantz said she volunteered “to give back,” although they both admitted it was a pretty fun time.

Starkey is a long-time client of IMA, so it was a natural when the company was thinking about who to visit during its service day.

“Part of our mission is to make a difference in the community,” said Jeff Grace, president of IMA in Wichita.

The company has a foundation to oversee its charitable donations. It donates 2.5 percent of its profits, Grace said.

This is different, he said.

“Sometimes you just want to get out and do it in person,” he said. “The check is nice, but sometimes this is better.”

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6588 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com.

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