Every parent of a young child likely remembers filling out a developmental assessment with trepidation.
Sitting in the pediatrician’s office, questions like, "Does your baby turn its head towards the sound of your voice?” “Can they stack at least two small objects?” “Do they say at least two words together?” suddenly have immense gravity.
Measuring against established milestones such as those can help teachers, doctors and family members understand if a child has a developmental delay, so assessment questionnaires are commonplace during pediatric “well-child visits” for babies and toddlers.
If a child isn't meeting a milestone, it can raise concerns for parents. Thankfully for the families in Johnson County, Kansas, there's a nonprofit providing comprehensive support and resources to children ages 0-3 with developmental delays.
"In our general pediatrics practice, one of the most common problems we deal with is a young child with some type of developmental delay," said Steven Lauer, Ph.D. MD, on the organization’s website. "When this comes to our attention, and this is a daily issue, it is crucial that we have the proper tools and training to screen the child and family, and then have easy access to the appropriate resources so that the child can be thoroughly assessed and treated if necessary. Infant Toddler Services of Johnson County (ITSJC) provides that crucial early intervention that can make all of the difference in the life of a child and their parents."
The nonprofit provides their services—including physical therapy, adaptive technology and social work—free of charge to anyone who needs them, thanks to a fundraising organization called Friends of Infant Toddler Services of Johnson County (FITS).
"The organization serves anyone in Johnson County that qualifies, so we have to get creative with funding," said Premal Kadakia, treasury senior product manager at BOK Financial® and treasurer of the FITS board of directors.
Feeling gratitude for your child's health is a feeling Kadakia understands well. "As a father of two young daughters, I feel very grateful that they didn't have health issues when they were younger," he said. "I want to make sure that anyone who needs help for their child gets it. That's why I am so passionate about the work ITSJC is doing."
As a FITS board member, Kadakia volunteered 200+ hours last year raising awareness and money and has served the organization for more than a decade. He first encountered the nonprofit when a friend invited him to their annual golf tournament—and then Kadakia was immediately hooked on the mission. Eleven years later he’s still volunteering, from serving as the Treasurer for four years to bringing in corporate sponsors and selling out the golf tournament.
“I see the impact this organization makes in my community and I want to help as much as possible,” Kadakia shared.
Much of his board service has been through BOK Financial's employee volunteer program, which provides every employee with eight hours of paid volunteer time annually to support causes or organizations that are making a difference in the community. The company also believes that building key relationships and strategic community partnerships is a key component to driving our success.
"BOK Financial's support for community involvement was one of the deciding factors for me when I was choosing my most recent career move," explained Kadakia. "The company not only encourages volunteering, they also go out of their way to recognize the employees that give back."