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 2019-2020 SIGNATURE MISSION
Update on Avenue of Life Unaccompanied Homeless Youth House, Village Church Signature Mission for 2019-2020
June, 26, 2020 - Last summer, the Mission Committee selected Avenue of Life’s (AOL) Unaccompanied Homeless Youth House as the Signature Mission for Village Church. This fund, which is generally combined with the Least of These Fund 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.
The new homeless youth house provides 30 long-term beds for homeless youth ages 16 to 18 and 10 emergency beds as well as adequate space for transformational, wraparound support. Youth can call this new facility home through high school graduation and on to career and higher education.
In March 2020, AOL was ready to admit an initial group of 21 youth to the house when COVID 19 hit. Following health department recommendations, admission to the house was put on hold. In the meantime, AOL has placed the youth either in host homes and/or hotels to ensure a private space to quarantine and shelter in place. AOL navigators have provided support and supplies that have helped the students remain focused on school. Furthermore, through the summer months, AOL is helping students remain stable until the health department in Wyandotte County gives the green light for communal living for the kids. Until that time, AOL is customizing their care for each youth as it is in their best interest during the pandemic.
The following are three AOL success stories about youth in the program from the past three months:
• AOL provided a F. L. Schlagle High School unaccompanied student with three months of temporary housing in a hotel as well as personal mentoring/tutoring, a personal Navigator and food and resources that she needed to complete her senior year school. She has graduated this past spring, and she has now secured a full-time job and is moving into her own apartment in a few weeks.
• AOL assisted a young mom and her one-year-old son with all the essential items and financial resources needed. She is currently working with an Avenue of Life partner, Alliance Workforce, to find new employment since COVID-19.
• A mom who is caring for her own daughter as well as another unaccompanied student in Kansas City, Kansas texted how much it meant to have the resources provided by AOL’s Impact KCK including food and hygiene supplies during this challenging time that she has been unable to work. AOL has assisted several host families who are taking care of unaccompanied youth with essential supplies (food, hygiene items, diapers, cleaning supplies) and financial assistance.
These stories are a few among many glimmers of hope during these difficult times. Despite the pandemic, the good work of AOL’s Unaccompanied Homeless Youth House continues.
About This Year's 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