The Family Promise Good Neighbor Award highlights Family Promise Affiliate staff members who are doing exceptional work in their communities.
Meet Toyan Sims – a full-time Wichita State University student, mother of three, and advocate for housing-insecure families in her community. Sims joined Family Promise of Greater Wichita (KS) in August of 2021 through the Wichita State University Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Fellow Program. She immediately fell in love with Family Promise’s mission, vision, and core values.
“I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now,” said Sims. “Seeing the smiles on families’ faces after I’ve made a difference in their lives is why I love being a part of Family Promise.”
As an AmeriCorps VISTA Graduate and Community Coordinator, Sims primarily focuses on Graduate Stabilization at Family Promise of Greater Wichita (FPGW). She helps provide resources and services graduates need once they’ve completed the Sustainable Independence Program. Sims specifically leads FPGW’s Life Skills Classes, which are offered twice a month to Family Promise graduates eager to receive life advice and support upon graduation. These hour-long classes provide guidance on topics like voter registration, housing opportunities, employment opportunities, and legal advice. FGWC even partners with businesses like Mary Kay® and local instructors for makeup tutorials, art therapy, and cooking classes.
“I’ll ask our graduates what areas in life they need help in and help coordinate a class they will find useful,” said Sims. “Knowing I’m helping them as they enter that next step in their lives, whether it’s something big or small, makes it all worthwhile to me.”
Sims’ leadership at FPGW doesn’t stop there. She hopes to soon implement a recurring event called Entrepreneur Day – a way for guests to market themselves by utilizing their skills. Whether it be baking, braiding hair, canning goods, or anything else guests are passionate about, Sims aims for this event to shine a light on guests’ talents instead of their struggles.
Upon graduating from Wichita State University with her degree in social work, Sims hopes to become a housing case manager. Until then, she will continue to embody what the Good Neighbor Award signifies by making a difference in the Wichita community.
By Kacie Ricciotti