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Article by Kelsey Huber

Photography by Provided

Maybe you were a kid not that long ago, or maybe it’s been decades. Either way, we all have memories of childhood. For the lucky ones, those are fond memories filled with love, warmth, and security. But for others, life was not so kind. Situations out of their control caused emotional damage. Perhaps the loss of a loved one, divorce, neglect, or even abuse. These experiences can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, and a host of other emotions that young people are simply not equipped to deal with. Thankfully, there are places like Family Service & Guidance Center where parents and kids can turn for help.

Family Service & Guidance Center (FSGC) has been helping the Topeka community since 1904. It is one of 26 community mental health centers in Kansas, but is the only one that specializes in treating children and families.  

Last year, the organization served over 10,000 kids and families, 4,600 of whom were active clients. While their main service area is Shawnee County, clients came from 33 different Kansas counties for treatment last year. Approximately 265 caring staff members help children and families get back on track to having happy childhoods.  

The center offers a variety of programs and services including, 24/7/365 crisis services, outpatient therapy, an anxiety treatment program, a substance use treatment program and case management, just to name a few. 

Each year, FSGC hosts a very special fundraiser to support the kids and families it serves. The 17th annual Works of Heart fundraiser will be held on Saturday, August 5th  at the Townsite Avenue Ballroom in downtown Topeka. Fifteen FSGC child clients will be the stars of this year’s event, as their amazing artwork will be auctioned off live that evening.

“It’s so fun to celebrate these kids,” said Pam Evans, FSGC Marketing & Development Director said. “The looks on their faces when their pieces are being bid on are absolutely priceless!”

Another fun part of the event is an online auction that is open to the public. It includes professional art pieces, unique experiences, jewelry, household items, gift cards from local merchants, and more. It’s a great way to support the cause if you can’t make it in person. 

Online auction bidding will open on Friday, July 21st, and will close the evening of August 5th. You can start browsing the auction items now at More and more items will be added from now until Aug. 5th, so be sure to check back often.

“The Topeka community has always been so supportive,” Evans said. “We feel so lucky to be located here in this community of amazing people.”

Works of Heart Event

When: Saturday, August 5th - Doors open at 5:30

Where: Townsite Avenue Ballroom, 534 S. Kansas Ave.

What: Fun live auction featuring artwork created by FSGC kids

          Online silent auction 

          $500 Paper Airplane Challenge 

          Free livestream of the event

A limited number of in-person tickets will be available for the event. They will sell out, so we encourage you to buy your tickets early at

Proceeds for this year’s event will go to fund the new Youth Crisis & Recovery Center. The Center is being constructed on FSGC’s Frazier Avenue campus. It is a 24-bed, 24,000-square foot facility specially designed for the treatment of children and teens experiencing a severe mental health crisis. The center will dramatically enhance FSGC’s existing crisis services in innovative, proven ways and provide a higher level of services. The maximum stay for children in crisis will increase from three days to 28 days in the new facility.

“We are all so excited about this new Center,” Evans shared. “A couple of months ago, we did a pilot study at our existing Crisis Building to see what kind of an impact the longer stays and increase in individual, group, and family therapy sessions would have on our kids. There were 12 Crisis clients in this study, staying with us for approximately two weeks. At the end of the study, 8 of the 12 clients no longer needed long-term hospitalization. Needless to say, we were very pleased with the outcomes and look forward to even improving on that success rate once the new building opens.”

The Center will also house the new Substance Use Treatment Program. FSGC’s approach of treating substance use disorders and mental health challenges at the same time will maximize a youth’s chances for positive, long-lasting results. Eight of the 24 beds will be dedicated to youth participating in the Substance Use Treatment Program. Currently there are only 14 publicly funded substance use treatment beds in the entire state. 

Barring any unforeseen construction delays, Evans says the building should be open this October. 

We encourage all Topekans to join in the Works of Heart fun this year. Together we can help more children and families have happy, healthy lives!

For more information about the Works of Heart event, the new Youth Crisis & Recovery Center or FSGC’s programs and services, follow us on Facebook at or visit