The DUI Victim Center of Kansas was started in 1987 by President/CEO, Mary Ann Khoury, after a childhood friend, three months pregnant with her third child, was hit by a repeat offending drunk driver who ran through a red light in Wichita. The friend and unborn child were in a coma for over two months before dying.
After seeing how the Orthodox Christian Church communities came together to support her friend’s family, Khoury, who was also hit by a drunk driver in 1971, realized there were no support groups or help for victims of drunk driving automobile crashes in Wichita. She decided something had to be done.
As the inquiry began, persons in law enforcement, prevention, intervention, education, treatment, victim services, etc. were all contacted to detect the real need for assisting DUI victims. After countless hours of research, and abundant support from the Wichita Orthodox Christian Clergy and parish members, the DUI Victim Center of Kansas was established.
In 1987, the services were an affiliated project of Interfaith Ministries before becoming a program of the YWCA in 1989. Affiliation with the YWCA provided growth and knowledge for the Founder and allowed volunteers to establish a 501(c) 3 non profit status as the DUI Victim Center of Kansas, Inc. by 1993.
Although it took several years, the Center has evolved from the founder’s family room, a few volunteers from her church, and an answering machine, to an Wichita office with six full-time staff and three part-time interns.
The DUI Victim Center of Kansas is now the only comprehensive program in the Wichita, Sedgwick County area, with expanding programs throughout the state providing services annually to more than 500 victims of DUI crimes and their families – mostly in the Wichita, Sedgwick County area.
More than 50,000 victims and their families/friends have received services from the DUI Victim Center of Kansas.
The DUI Victims Panel was developed in 1990 as a program to address DUI Diversion, Juvenile and Adult court ordered offenders. Other than victim advocacy, the panel program is now the most requested service of the DUI Victims Center of Kansas.
Since beginning the panel program in 1990, more than 80,000 offenders have attended.
What started as a small group of people wanting to help victims of DUI crashes, slowly became a non-profit offering Victim Advocacy and eventually grew to offers three substantial and important pieces to assisting victims with the tragic outcome of drinking and driving: Victim Advocacy, Court Watch and Victim Impact Panel Presentations.