The Kansas DUI Impact Center was founded in 1987 by Mary Ann Khoury, originally named the DUI Victim Center of Kansas, after a childhood friend three months pregnant was hit by a repeat offending drunk driver who ran through a red light in Wichita. Mary Ann’s friend, Barbara Farha, and her unborn child were in a coma for over two months before dying.
After such a tragic DUI crash fatality, the Orthodox Christian Church communities came together to support Barbara’s family. Mary Ann, who was also hit by a drunk driver in 1971, realized there were no support groups, or other resources available for victims of drunk driving crashes in Kansas, and she took action. With 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. Volunteers formed the 501(c)3 as the DUI Victim Center of Kansas in 1993. Although it took several years, the Center emerged from the founder’s family room, with only a few volunteers from her church, and an answering machine, to having a downtown Wichita office with seven full-time staff and three part-time college interns.
The Kansas DUI Impact Center is now the only comprehensive program in the Wichita, Sedgwick County area, with expanding programs throughout the state providing services annually to hundreds of victims of DUI crimes and their families throughout Kansas. Since its inception, more than 50,000 victims and their families and friends have received services from the DUI Victim Center of Kansas.
The DUI Victim Panel was developed in 1990 to reduce recidivism, or repeat offending, by individuals convicted of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol thereby increasing public safety. The DUI Victim Panel was established in Dodge City and is currently offered in eleven locations statewide including Wichita, El Dorado, Emporia, Great Bend, Hays, Lawrence, Newton, Salina, Pratt, Junction City and Wellington. Thousands of people recently arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol participate in this program annually. Since beginning the panel program in 1990, nearly 100,000 offenders have attended.
The name, DUI Victim Center of Kansas, and the logo were changed in 2013 to the Kansas DUI Impact Center by current Executive Director, Andrie Krahl, when the organization broadened its name to incorporate new programs such as: Sober Drivers, a designated driving service providing a positive alternative to impaired driving, and a new Juvenile Advocacy program called “TMI” or Teens Making an Impact focused on teenagers who are forming opinions and making decisions about alcohol. Our organization will continue to grow and evolve by identifying new program opportunities for victim support services, DUI education and prevention, court watch, and victim panels.
The new logo was an inclusive, symbolic reminder of the negative IMPACT that DUI Drivers have on our society, the lives of victims that are permanently IMPACTED by vehicular crime committed under the influence of drugs and alcohol, the positive IMPACT of volunteers that give of themselves to raise community awareness through prevention and education, and the compounding IMPACT our donors make directly to victims and the entire community at large.
What started as a small group of people wanting to help victims of DUI crashes, slowly became a nonprofit offering victim advocacy, and eventually evolved to an organization with a diverse program offering of services and community outreach projects affecting thousands of people across Kansas.