Fundraiser underway to help grow children's crisis center - KCTV5

Fundraiser underway to help grow children's crisis center

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The children's shelter's The CEO's son, Robert Zevenbergen, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in March. He was 20 years old. The children's shelter's The CEO's son, Robert Zevenbergen, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in March. He was 20 years old.
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

A children's crisis center is in its final stretch to raise money to build a new, bigger emergency shelter, and now one group is helping in the memory of the CEO's son who was recently killed in a horrific car crash.

PACES is an emergency shelter in Wyandotte County, KS, for abused and neglected children. They are currently involved in a campaign to raise $1.1 million for a new, bigger shelter.

"Last year we had to turn away over 100 kids that we were not able to provide shelter for. Sometimes those kids are taken away to shelters and foster homes across the state," said Randy Callstrom, the executive director of PACES.

Some turned away at the shelter end up spending the night on a cot in the sheriff's office.

"It's a horrible situation for kids who already experienced high levels of trauma," Callstrom said.

PACES is also struggling to heal from a tragedy of its own.

The CEO's son, Robert Zevenbergen, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in March. He was 20 years old.

"He had a beautiful soul," family friend Sheri Seeman said of Zevenbergen. "Our whole community was shattered."

Zevenbergen often volunteered at PACES and spent time with the children.

"He gave them hope that there's a better day and hopefully peace in their heart that, you know what, I'm going to get through this," Seeman said.

Zevenbergen's friends and family are getting through their heartbreak by raising money for the new shelter and setting up a memorial for him.

"So that when people see his name for years to come, they can say, ‘Who was this guy?' And we can say, ‘He was the kind, gentle soul that is here still today in spirit, guiding us to hopefully a peaceful life outside the shelter,'" Seeman said.

The fundraiser is Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the St. Patrick Parish Center located at 84th and State Avenue in KCK.

Tickets are $25. There will be food, games and a raffle. To purchase a ticket, call 913-328-4667.

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