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  • Writer's pictureStefania Lugli

Meet the woman devoting her everyday to easing Planeview residents’ lives

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Merary Trevino has spent 21 years as an administrative aide for the City of Wichita

Wichita Kansas | July 2023 | By Stefania Lugli

LEA EN ESPAÑOL AQUÍ


Nestled between two interstates, a Wichita neighborhood born during wartime sits southside, boasting a uniquely diverse population of Latinos, Vietnamese, and Black people: Planeview. Working for the city of Wichita — but really, the people of Planeview — is Merary Trevino, the administrative aide working inside of the Colvin Neighborhood Resource Center, a city resource for District 3 residents.

Merary in her office at Colvin Community Center in Wichita
Merary Treviño has served Planeview residents for more than two decades. Picture by Fernando Salazar

She speaks Spanish and works to guide Planeview residents through municipal services and connect them with a wealth of resources: ranging anywhere from pet spay-and-neuter clinics to filling out emergency rent assistance applications.


Planeta Venus interviewed Trevino on how her role positively impacts the community in Planeview. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Can you define for me what your role and duties are?


I’ve worked for the city for 21 years, specifically here in the Planeview community. I’ve gotten to meet a few generations of families here. My role is a little bit of everything. I stay on top of resources. Even when I’m not at work, I’m researching what programs exist that could benefit the community. We help with notary services. We help people navigate through the City of Wichita system with different programs that the city may offer.


For example, we partner a lot with the Wichita Housing and Community Services. The most popular one we help residents with is the Emergency Rental Assistance program. We help clients with the application process, figure out documentation, and build familiarity with a computer. We try to be supportive. We also assist with Section 8 signups and Housing Choice Vouchers. At our office, we have a kiosk machine that housing services placed here at the resource center. It’s more like a touchscreen, so that can be easier for some to navigate more than a mouse.


We’ve also helped various homeless people. We have a hygiene pantry we’re trying to expand to meet the demand in Planeview. We also have a food pantry from the Salvation Army (held every Tuesday, beginning at 2 until supplies last). Wichita Animal Action League also has a specific program here for people with pets to spay and neuter them and get their pets vaccinated. We’re partnering with them. So, really, a little of everything!


What characteristics have you noticed are unique to Planeview?


The reason why I love working here is because it’s a big melting pot. You see Hispanic, Asian, African Americans. It’s lovely to work with different ethnic backgrounds.


I noticed right away when I started working here that there was a lot of newcomers (to the area). Rent’s very cheap out here, so it’s kind of the first spot to hit — being economical. Then, from here, some stuck around and some move on as they progress financially. Whether they came from out of state or a foreign country, this is a first stopping point for many.


In 2018, you won a ‘Raving Fans’ award at the city of Wichita’s Administrative Professionals event. A Facebook post from District 3 City Councilmember Mike Hoheisel noted it as the event’s “highest honors.” Was there any specific work you did to be nominated for it?

They’re basically looking for someone they thought was going above and beyond. I remember this gentleman. He was disabled and a veteran. He needed assistance with health, housing and communication. I was helping him get connected with a phone and other resources. There were times that he would come in that timed to my lunch hour and I stuck around [not taking lunch]. I knew he needed the help. I came in contact with a social worker at the Veterans Hospital who offered to set him up with better housing and a phone.


It is rewarding when you feel that you’ve accomplished something.


I think the only downfall sometimes with this job is that you may run into situations where you can provide the person with the information, and when the next step depends on them following through or not, you never find out what happened to them. Whether they got the help they needed.


Is there anything you would like residents to understand about your work? Or anything you wish residents would take advantage of more?


Do not be afraid! I know that sometimes people might come to a point in their lives where they need help they hadn’t needed before. It can be tough to leave pride aside. But that’s what our services our for — to be used. We’re here to help provide resources to the communities. We want to help you navigate goods or services.


Even if someone comes in and I’m not available (to translate), the other staff can call to provide over-the-phone interpretation.


District 3 residents can connect with Trevino by emailing mtrevino@wichita.gov, calling 316-303-8029, or visiting her at the front desk of the Colvin Neighborhood Resource Center, located at 2820 S. Roosevelt, Wichita, KS 67210.

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