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Season of Thanks: Spirit of Service 2023 Honors Y Volunteers

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
November 20, 2023
The Kansas City Chiefs Red Coaters accept an award on stage at the 2023 Spirit of Service Awards

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City honored its volunteers during the Spirit of Service Volunteer Celebration on November 16, 2023 at Starlight Theatre.

The event highlighted the impact of the more than 880 Y volunteers who worked throughout the Kansas City area to give more than 25,000 hours of volunteer service in the past year. More than 300 volunteers attended the celebration, which included dinner, fellowship and an awards ceremony.

"When I think of the passion and service of our volunteers, what comes to mind for me is kindness," YMCA of Greater Kansas City Chief Volunteer Officer Dr. Michelle Robin said at the ceremony. "The kindness you express in your work makes a huge difference for those you serve."

Spirit of Service awards were presented to 18 volunteers to recognize their impact and dedication to the Y's cause of strengthening the community. 

Additionally, The KC Shockers youth flag football team was recognized for winning their league and regional tournament, qualifying them to go to the Nationals tournament in Washington DC last July. They have also qualified for the Nationals at the NFL Pro Bowl in February.

The night concluded with the presentation of the Eagle Award and the Henry M. Beardsley Board Service Award.

The Eagle Award for excellence in philanthropy went to the Atchison Family YMCA/Cray Community Center for raising more than $123,000 in 2023, exceeding their goal of $95,000.

The inaugural Henry M. Beardsley Board Service Award was presented to YMCA of Greater Kansas City Board Member John Passanisi, who has demonstrated unwavering commitment to lead the Y. 

Passanisi joined the Board on September 20, 2012 - during a pivotal time as our Y embarked on the largest capital campaign in it's history to renovate the Atchison and Linwood YMCAs and build the Kirk Family YMCA in downtown Kansas City.

Passanisi went on to serve as Treasurer, Chair of the Audit Committee, and on several task groups before serving as Chief Volunteer Officer from 2020-2023. Board chairs usually serve two-year terms, but Passanisi added an extra year to his term to provide consistent leadership while the Y continued to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining the Board has been one of the most rewarding decisions he's ever made, Passinisi said.

"It is an amazing organization that does a tremendous amount of good work and builds great communities," Passanisi said. "There was so much that was terrible about the pandemic, but really the one thing that it did show us is how relevant the mission of this organization really is...There are so many things that make the mission really important, and probably more important today than it ever has been." 

PHOTOS | Spirit of Service 2023

2023 Spirit of Service Award Winners

  • Jack Adkins, Youth Sports
  • Jeremy Baum, Olathe Family YMCA
  • Jessica Bentley-Johnson, Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center
  • Cruz Gallegos, Youth Sports
  • Drew Hendricks, Platte County Community Center North
  • Harrah's Kansas City, North Kansas City YMCA
  • Kansas City Chiefs Red Coaters, Cleaver Family YMCA
  • Stephanie Moll, Head Start
  • Northland Clothing Center, Head Start
  • Theresa Reyes-Cummings, Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center
  • Michael Robinson, Challenger Program
  • Tim Schierbeck, North Kansas City YMCA
  • Deborah Sloan, Platte County Community Center South
  • St. James Lutheran Church - Food Pantry, Head Start
  • Kara Steele, Youth Sports
  • Tamara Weber, Head Start
  • Mary Whited, Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center
  • Daniel Zinser, Kirk Family YMCA

    KC Shockers, YMCA Youth Flag Football

    Atchison Family YMCA/Cray Community Center

    John Passanisi

Get Involved

Inspired to get involved with the Y? Whether you would like to help with a special event or sign up to coach a youth sports team, there are lots of ways to volunteer at the Y. Check out our volunteer opportunities to get started! 

Spirit of Service 2023