Heartstrings Community Foundation® is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization

Staff

Bunny Higgins

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Position: Executive Director

Biography:

Bunny Higgins graduated from Emporia State University with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Services and Education and a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Bunny has over 35 years of experience working in the human service field. She has served in a variety of positions, providing direct care as a nursing assistant, medication aid, restorative therapy, job development, job placement, and job coaching. Bunny continued her career at the administration level developing programs along with grant writing, financial and supervisory responsibilities.  She also traveled for 5 years with CARF (Commission of Accreditation Rehabilitation Facilities) as a surveyor. Her primary objective as a surveyor was quality and results.

Bunny started with Heartstrings Community Foundation as a consultant in September 2001. In January 2002 she was hired as the Program Developer and was promoted to Executive Director in 2004.

Heartstring Community Foundation has been a dream come true for Bunny. She has been instrumental in developing a service for adults with intellectual developmental disabilities like none other in the country.  www.heartstringscf.org

Bunny enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, reading inspirational books, traveling, horseback riding, and fly-fishing with Dennis her best friend and husband.

Bunny’s passion is assisting in making a lasting change in peoples’ lives.

email: bhiggins@heartstringscf.org

Anne Hull

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Position: Founder Of Heartstrings

Biography:

Heartstrings Community Foundation was founded by Anne Hull, a former Special Education teacher and a parent of two sons who have Fragile X Syndrome. After working with the school district very closely in an advisory capacity building new programs it became apparent that school life was a small part of a person’s lifespan. She began to research the adult agencies and found that life as an adult with developmental disabilities was often isolating and purposeless. Anne & Mack began searching for a model of service that would offer more. After several years, the idea became a reality in Oct. of 1999 when the articles of incorporation were filed for Heartstrings Community Foundation.

Anne has a B.S. in Special Education and taught in the public school system for 7 years.

She is a mother of 3 sons, 2 of whom have Fragile X Syndrome.

Anne remains active on many committees: Special Education Advisory Council, Transition Council and serves as commissioner of the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns.

Anne is the founder of Heartstrings Community Foundation / Past President. She currently heads the Fundraising Committee.
Anne served on the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns.

Email: anne@heartstringscf.org

Rosanne Thiry

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Position: Director of Employment Services

Biography:

Rosanne has a Bachelors of Arts in Education and Speech Pathology from Wichita State University and a Masters of Arts in Communicative Disorders and Sciences from Wichita State University.
Rosanne is Heartstrings’ Director of Employment Services. She has been at Heartstrings Community Foundation since 2003. Prior to joining Heartstrings, Rosanne worked as a Speech Clinician. She was also a QMRP Case Manager for a Residential Program.

Rosanne’s also enjoys her family (especially being a grandmother), cooking, reading and NASCAR.

Email: rosannethiry@heartstringscf.org

 

Gene Holland

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Position: Day Service Coordinator

Biography: Gene has been with Heartstrings Community Foundation since 2002. Gene has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Baker University. His work experience includes: Case Management, Residential Program Supervisor, Group Living Manager, and Vocational Specialist. “Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”

Gene is a Senior Team Leader, Volunteer Coordinator, and directs Transportation.

Email: gholland@heartstringscf.org

Deb McQuay

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Position: Office Manager/Job Coach

Work Experience: Over twenty years of experience working with adults with developmental disabilities in day service, residential and administration.

Hobbies/passions/goals: She loves spending time with her family (especially her grandchildren), cooking, gardening, sports including NASCAR, and teaching her grandchildren. She is passionate about doing her best with helping others to succeed.

Email: dmcquay@heartstringscf.org

 

Amanda Henning

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Position: Director of Retail Sales & Team Leader

Biography: Mandy began with Heartstrings in June 2012. Her work experience includes Sofro Fabrics, being an EKG Tech at KU Med, working at Home Office Reference Laboratory, being an instructor at Curves Fitness Center, and managing several family restaurants including 29 years at Torreador Mexican Restaurant.

Mandy’s passion is her husband and two beautiful, talented daughters. She loves to spend time with family and friends, especially her niece and nephews. Her favorite thing to do is to go camping at their secluded property in the Ozarks. Mandy’s goal is to live a joy-filled, meaningful, and productive life.

Mandy is the Director of Retail Sales.

Email: ahenning@heartstringscf.org

 

 

 

Dionne Benedick

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Position: Case Manager

Biography: Dionne has been with Heartstrings since 2003. She has an A.A.S; a Clinical Medical Assisting Degree. Her work experience includes clerical and record keeping for Medical Billing Offices. Dionne has worked and volunteered with Adults with Developmental Disabilities for over 15 years.

Email: dbenedick@heartstringscf.org

Katy Palmieri

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Position: Case Manager

Biography:

Katy has been with HCF since April 2008.

Katy attended Colorado State University and graduated with a degree in Business Finance. Katy moved to Kansas City with her family in 2003. She is the loving mother of 3 children, one with MR/DD who introduced her to the wonderful world of special needs. Katy also loves to play tennis in her spare time.

Katy is a Targeted Case Manager for Heartstrings.

Email: kpalmieri@heartstringscf.org

 

Rob Cox

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Position: Senior Team Leader

Biography:

Rob Cox has been with Heartstrings since August 2011.

Rob has been married for 36 years, has 4 kids and 11 grandchildren. He is an ordained minister and has pastored for over 17 years. Rob is also a former realtor for JC Nichols.

Rob is a Senior Team Leader.

Email: Rcox@heartstringscf.org

Mary Uhl

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Position: Store Manager, Sacks on Santa Fe

Biography

Mary started her career with Heartstrings in February 2013. Mary attended KU and has a degree in Textile Design. She also attended Clarke College for Music Therapy. Mary is a full time wife and mother, having creative spots in imports and retail sales. Her hobbies include finding and repurposing treasures at stores, estate sales and thrift shops. Mary also enjoys growing, eating, and locating unprocessed food.

Mary is the Store Manager at Sacks on Santa Fe and is also a Team Leader.

Email: muhl@heartstringscf.org

 

Derek Crocker

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Position: Team Leader

Biography: Derek Crocker has been with Heartstrings since April 2011.

He graduated with his Bachelor of Science from Grantham University, and is attending graduate school.

He is a former debate coach from the Wichita area and Shawnee Mission South high schools. He has also been a corporate trainer for P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc., as well as a former youth basketball and soccer coach.

Derek’s passions include filmmaking, Legos, NCAA men’s basketball, NFL, Debate/Forensics, public speaking, motivating people, video games, sledding, and of course, his loving wife (Sarah), his step-son (Troy), and his son (Oliver).

“Rock-en-ja!”

Derek is a Team Leader, Marketing Director, Social Media Specialist, and our representative at the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce.

Email: dcrocker@heartstringscf.org

Chris Grennan

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Position: Team Leader

Biography:

Started at Heartstrings January of 2015. Graduated from the University of Kansas with a Major in English Literature, and Minors in Music and Advertising. He has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities for over ten years. His hobbies include music, writing, fitness, fashion and the visual arts.

Email: cgrennan@heartstringscf.org

 

Christina Johnson

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Position: Team Leader

Biography: Christina loves to read romance novels, swim and spend time with her family.

She has earned Associates degrees in Applied Science from Johnson County Community College, and General Studies from Fort Scott Community College.

She also spends time as a school bus driver for the Spring Hill school district.

Email: cjohnson@heartstringscf.org

Julie Lytton

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Position: Team Leader

Biography:

Julie began with Heartstrings in April of 2014. She graduated from Kodiak, Alaska in 1984 and currently has her CNA. Julie is also a massage therapist. She loves quilting, hiking, being outdoors, stained glass art, and is very devoted to her church. Julie’s goals include creating quillows for Believers, to comfort women in shelters with her quillow creations, and has a mission to help and support those women.

Julie is a Team Leader at Heartstrings.

Email: jlytton@heartstringscf.org

 

 

Veronica Rios

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Position: Team Leader

Biography: Joined Heartstrings in February of 2016, Veronica has worked with individuals with special needs in both residential and day service since 2011. To her this has been  fulfilling and gratiying career along with her cleaning business she owns. She loves to cook and ride her bike.

Email: vrodriguez@heartsringscf.org

Kim Wroldsen

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Position: Team Leader

Biography:

Kim was hired in June of 2016

She has more than fourteen years of experience as a para professional and job coach.  She has joined the Heartstrings family after several years with the Blue Valley School District.  She attended college at Gallaudet University, and Johnson County Community College.  She is an avid pet lover and enjoys bowling.

 

Loretta Levine

Open Bio

Position: Store Clerk (Part-Time), On My Own

Biography:

Loretta has been with Heartstrings since September 2008.

A graduate of Paseo High School and attended Kansas City Junior College. Her work experience includes Meadowbrook Country Club, Prairie ULG, and owning/operating Mattress Outlet in Kansas City, KS. Her hobbies and passions include attending theatrical productions, listening to music, being outdoors with nature and animals, gardening, exercise, reading, and doing volunteer work. Loretta also enjoys taking day trips.

 

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