What is Signature Mission? This fund, which is generally combined with the Mission Legacy Funds from Endowment, provides the monies for a larger than customary gift from Village Church to a community nonprofit. These funds may help start new programs, expand infrastructure and/or serve new clientele. In general, Signature Mission provides funds to help a local organization grow. It offers an authentic opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ through service work and an identifiable place to grow in relationship with God.
Every year, the Village Church Mission Committee invites selected nonprofit organizations to apply for this grant. The Mission Committee reviews each application and tours the applicant organizations as a part of the decision-making process. The recipient is announced in the fall during a Sunday services. During the succeeding year, Village Church continues to follow the program’s progress and highlight the recipient through various electronic and print publications.
Since 2008, Signature Mission grants have been awarded to the following programs:
THE 2020-2021 SIGNATURE MISSION
The Village Church Mission Committee has selected Literacy KC’s Entry to English and High School Equivalency program expansion for this coming year’s Signature Mission. Funding from Village Presbyterian Church will be used to further renovate Literacy KC’s space at 3036 Troost Ave with an additional classroom allowing them to run up to 5 classes concurrently in their home site, while still managing classes at various partner sites in the community. With $50,000 from Village Church Endowment and the Mission operating budget along with donations from Kansas City foundations, companies and individual donors, funds for the HiSET and ETE program expansion will hire qualified staff to run the operations and provide programming that will double Literacy KC’s capacity.
Literacy KC was founded in 1985 to provide a one-on-one volunteer tutoring reading program. It has since grown to offer a robust portfolio of basic reading and writing, digital/computer skills, workforce readiness, and English language skills.
In August 2018, Literacy KC relocated to the intersection of 31st Street and Troost. The new location provides five classroom spaces, increased visibility, access to wrap-around services, and a convenient location for their public transportation-dependent student population. In 2019, Literacy KC served over 2744 students and families annually across all programs.
Shortly after the relocation, Literacy KC launched their Entry to English (ETE) program for English Language Learners (August 2018) and the High School Equivalency (HiSET) program in March 2019. The need for these programs in Kansas City is significant. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 225,000 Kansas City adults lack basic literacy skills and 145,000 function at the lowest literacy level. In addition, the Kansas City Public School graduation rates are at only 71.2%, and many area neighborhoods host foreign born populations of over 40% who are struggling with English language skills.
Literacy KC’s HiSET and ETE programs will increase over the coming 18 months, serving 2460 more individuals at 15+ locations throughout the metro; thereby increasing opportunity in workforce development, economic mobility, and post-secondary education spaces for adults. Students work simultaneously on earning workforce credentials, and/or placement in post-secondary education. With this expansion, Literacy KC expects to be able to serve a total of roughly 5000 students when at full capacity.
Literacy KC has a vibrant volunteer program where individuals can work directly with students as tutors. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved, call 816-333-9332. To see more about Literacy KC HiSET program check out this video at https://youtu.be/DgM9sfGm36w and for the ETE program, watch this video at https://youtu.be/G-6OTJCSkPQ . You can also learn more about Literacy KC on their website at https://www.literacykc.org .
The 2019-2020 Signature Mission
The Village Church Mission Committee selected Avenue of Life’s Unaccompanied Homeless Youth House as the 2019-2020 Signature Mission. With $15,000 from Village Church Mission operating budget and $28,328 from the Village Church Endowment Least of These Fund along with gifts from Kansas City foundations, companies and individual donors, donations are being used to hire qualified staff to run the operations and provide programming assistance to care for the teens’ day-to-day needs.
Launched in 2013, Avenue of Life (AOL) focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, housing, healthcare and economic development. AOL’s two primary sites are the Business Training Center in KCMO and the Equipping Center in KCK. Kansas City, Kansas holds the highest concentration of poverty in Wyandotte County, Kansas, the county with the highest poverty rates in the six-county Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area.
The Equipping Center in KCK provides a comprehensive range of programs and services designed to meet the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs of families throughout the urban core of Kansas City. Collaborative outreach space is offered to 17 partnering organizations to provide their specialized services. AOL hosts community classes such as GED, ESL, financial and employment readiness. In KCK, AOL has become the backbone agency for a collaborative called Kansas Community Leadership Enterprise and their Impact Programs at the Equipping Center, which began to strategize ways to dramatically lower the overall poverty rates for children in Wyandotte, as well address the high school dropout rates.
During the fall of 2019, Avenue of Life renovated and opened an Unaccompanied Homeless Youth House in Kansas City, Kansas. In AOL’s district, there are currently 46 unaccompanied homeless youth, and no youth shelters exist in Wyandotte County. In response to the need, AOL has secured a house in Wyandotte with 18 bedrooms and adequate space to provide transformational, wrap-around support for youth. AOL plans to provide a long-term home for youth through graduation with assistance in transitioning to career and college. In order to get the youth to graduation, AOL will provide proper care and guidance through licensed therapists, case workers, mentors, and personal tutors. They will provide teachers and mentors to teach residents how to manage personal finances, cook well-balanced meals, engage in healthy recreation, develop entrepreneurial skills, and help them apply to colleges and places of employment.
AOL offers many volunteer opportunities ranging from serving meals and sorting clothing to teaching a class and mentoring youth. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved, call 816-787-6101. To see more about Avenue of Life, check out the online video at https://www.avenueoflife.org.
THE 2018-2019 SIGNATURE MISSION
The Village Church Mission Committee has selected the Reconciliation Services (RS) Donate-What-You-Can Café formally known as Thelma’s Kitchen for the 2018-2019 Signature Mission. With $15,000 from Village Church Mission Operating Funds, $13,824 from Village Endowment’s Least of These Fund and $50,000 from a Village donor along with donations from Kansas City foundations, companies and individual donors, Thelma’s Kitchen has become a reality during the summer of 2018.
For more than 30 years, RS has made the urban core of Kansas City, Missouri, along the Troost Avenue corridor, a focal point for Healthy Community Initiatives, Social and Mental Health Services, and Economic Community Building. RS works to cultivate a community seeking reconciliation, to transform Troost from a dividing line into a gathering place, revealing the strength of all.
RS offers housing and utilities assistance and ID and document assistance and partners with the KC Medicine Cabinet to provide access to needed dental and medical care and supplies. Also, RS Mental Health Services provide evidence-based, clinical support under the direction of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW); offering individual and group therapy and intensive case management for clients struggling with depression and trauma. In addition, RS Economic Community Building Services provide volunteer and employment opportunities. RS’s two programs in this area include the Foster Grandparents Program (a federally-funded partnership with the Senior Corps), which recruits, trains and mobilizes low-income senior adults to volunteer with at risk area youth and RS Social Ventures, a company founded by RS that aims to provide living wage employment opportunities to our clients.
After several years of listening to RS’ neighbors and surveying community needs, Reconciliation Services launched Kansas City’s first Donate-What-You-Can cafe, based on the proven One World Everybody Eats (OWEE) model, which encourages community-driven solutions through engagement and mobilization. The cafe is a community gathering hub that provides access to affordable, healthy and wholesome food. An embedded case manager provides access to RS’ holistic continuum of care, which includes a suite of social and mental health services and access to economic opportunities. Additionally, clients can “earn” meal tokens for the kitchen as incentives for arriving on time for appointments and completing milestones for recovery. Ultimately, this program brings neighbors together for food and community in an area that is racially and economically segregated.
With Thelma’s Kitchen, Reconciliation Services serves 500 lunches per week during 2018. Village Church funding provided needed food and supplies and furniture for the pivotal first start-up year as well as funds to cover some remodeling costs. RS’ goal is to bring operations of the kitchen to 60/40 (paid/free guest) ratio, which achieves monthly sustainability of core operations by the end of 24 months. Additionally, RS will measure diversity and level of community adoption through sales data, demographic tracking and customer user surveys.
Reconciliation Services offers a number of volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved, call RS at 816-931-4751.
THE 2017-2018 SIGNATURE MISSION
The Village Church Mission Committee has selected the Community LINC’s new Trauma Informed Care Program Operation for the 2017-2018 Signature Mission. With $15,000 from Village Church Mission Operating Funds, $25,300 from several Village donors and $8,257 from Village Endowment along with donations from Kansas City foundations, companies and individual donors, the mental wellness program will become a reality during 2017.
In 1986, a group of citizens from local churches created Community LINC to address ways to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Today, it is one of the largest single-site providers of interim housing for homeless families in Kansas City. The goal of the program is to stabilize families for sustained independence. LINC owns six buildings with 36 units and has an annual budget of $2.2 million. They serve 150 families a year.
Community LINC does more than rehouse families. Adults participate in employment services, budgeting, healthy lifestyles and life skills classes, mental wellness services and intensive and individualized case management. Services for children include bi-weekly classes on nutrition, resilience skills, academic advocacy and support and mental wellness services.
The Transforming Generations/Trauma Informed Care project aims to expand LINC’s trauma informed care services in order to impact the next generation and reduce the likelihood of teens and children ever becoming homeless adults. This program will work hand in hand with mental wellness services that Community LINC already provides.
After 28 years of service delivery, Community LINC has discovered that most program participants have experienced some sort of trauma that contributed to their homelessness. Studies show that over 92 percent of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse. Compared to low-income housed mothers, they have three times the rate of PTSD (36%), twice the rate of drug and alcohol dependence (41%) and half have experienced major depression since becoming homeless.Incorporating a trauma informed program is critical to heal and break the cycle of homelessness. By increasing resilience and educating parents and children on the effect of trauma, Community LINC will increase the protective factors in a child’s life.
With the new program, Community LINC anticipates serving 300 children during 2017. The funding for the program will cover the following expenses:
Program success will be measured with pre and post testing, monitoring of debt satisfaction, employment and meeting attendance and through case management reports and reviews. Community LINC’s goal aims to have 80 percent of families who exit from transitional to permanent housing remain stable for five years. In addition, they want 70 percent of participating children to average 80 percent or higher on resiliency cognition.
Community LINC offers a number of volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved, contact Deborah White in the Mission Office at 913-671-2369 or firstname.lastname@example.org
THE 2016-2017 SIGNATURE MISSION
The Village Church Mission Committee and Village Endowment are excited to join other funders including JE Dunn Construction, Google, the Opus Impact Fund and Staples to help launch the creation of the first Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Smartlab in Kansas City. The total grant amount from Village Mission ($16,000) and Endowment ($14,000) is $30,000. Construction started in early May 2016 with renovation of the space and a launch of the program on June 1st in time for Operation Breakthrough’s summer programs.
With humble beginnings going back to 1971, Operation Breakthrough now serves 266 children from six weeks to 5 years in nationally-accredited early learning programs; 120 school-age children in before/after-school and summer programming, and the children's 215+ parents/caregivers. Eighty-seven percent of the children attending OB live below the federal poverty level and 21 percent of the families are homeless, living in shelters or staying with friends or relatives. Over 32 percent had experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences which is nearly three times the national rate.
The STEM lab that features fully integrated systems of hardware, software, furnishings, online curriculum, educational kits, manipulatives, and assessment tools. It is known to be effective at providing young learners with engaging STEM experiences from robotics, electronics, software engineering, mechanics and structures to the engineering design process. As a student-centered environment, the SmartLab is designed for personalized learning where autonomy and self-direction are encouraged and rewarded. Activities are also designed to develop critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication and project management. Student progress will be assessed through daily journals, presentations and a portfolio of work.
Thank you, Village Church, for helping make this new program possible with your annual gifts. Operation Breakthrough welcomes Village Church volunteers’ help mentoring students through their STEM learning activities and project work. If you would like to know more about Operation Breakthrough’s STEM lab or would like to volunteer with the program, contact Deborah White at 913-671-2369 or email her at email@example.com
THE 2015–2016 SIGNATURE MISSION
The Mission Committee of Village Presbyterian Church selected the DeLaSalle Education Center’s PACES program expansion as the Signature Mission for 2016. Founded in 1971, DeLaSalle Education Center is an innovative charter high school offering students, ages 14 to 20, who have struggled in other schools or dropped out, an alternative to traditional school. It is the only charter high school in the state of Missouri dedicated to serving the high risk urban core.
DeLaSalle’s PACES is an onsite early childhood education program, serving infants and toddlers ages six months to three years. Since 1996, the program has served children of teen parents attending DeLaSalle by providing a safe and nurturing environment for the children, teaching teen parents effective parenting skills and allowing for opportunities for parent and child interaction. PACES is licensed by the State of Missouri and through The Family Conservancy, by Head Start, Early Head Start and the Mid-America Regional Council.
Through grants from Village Endowment and the Mission Committee totaling $30,000, the program has expanded to its fully licensed capacity and now offers the program to other charter schools and to teen parents in the Kansas City, Missouri School District.
Success of teen parents in the program is measured in multiple ways including graduation and attendance rates, growth in academic competencies and state testing. Last year, 96 percent of DeLaSalle graduates decided to pursue further education and/or seek meaningful employment. More than 73 percent of former students are currently working. Teachers evaluate children in PACES through formal developmental assessments and parent involvement.
Contact Deborah White, director of mission, at 913-671-2369 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about Signature Mission.
Director of Mission