Truman Heartland Community Foundation will present this year’s Citizen of the Year honorees, selected by area mayors as a part of its 25th Annual Toast to Our Towns Gala, presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union, online on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
These local volunteers were chosen because they lend their time, talents and position to promote our communities. Grain Valley’s honoree will be Christina “Kiki” Claphan.
A pillar in the Grain Valley community for over a decade, friends and family were shocked when Christina “Kiki” Claphan passed away suddenly in February 2020. Kiki’s legacy of kindness continues to make an impact throughout Eastern Jackson County.
During her life, Kiki’s joyful spirit helped her connect with and instill confidence in every child with whom she taught. A paraprofessional, Kiki spent the last ten years working with students with special needs in the Grain Valley School District. An active member of East Side Church in Independence, in 2017, Kiki developed and led a Sunday school class for children with special needs at the church.
Kiki was always willing to lend a hand at school and in the community. For several years, Kiki played the role of Mrs. Claus in Grain Valley’s annual Holiday Festival and in the summer months, she supervised teenagers who worked for the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.
Kiki went above and beyond to make the programs fun and exciting for participants with her contagious sense of adventure and excitement. A thoughtful mentor, she went to great lengths to ensure that each child in attendance felt special and important.
Known for her big caring hugs, the Grain Valley community celebrated her life by championing the motto “Love Big, Hug On” and using #KindLikeKiki on shirts and social media.
Kiki’s siblings, Leslie Keys and Don Claphan, will accept the award on her behalf.
The Toast to Our Towns Gala will be held online on September 26, 2020. This one-hour celebration of philanthropy will start at 7:00 p.m. and broadcast to more than 40 different watch parties throughout Eastern Jackson County. Information about sponsoring a watch party is available at www.thcf.org/Gala.