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The mission of the Kansas City Urban Youth Center is to offer Christian hope, community, and wholeness to urban youth. We empower youth with resources to develop faith, character, knowledge and skills.
History and Need
Kansas City Urban Youth Center (KCUYC) offers Christian hope, community, and wholeness to urban youth by providing them with the resources to develop faith, character, knowledge, and skills. While KCUYC was founded on Christian principles regarding God’s love for his children, Kansas City Urban Youth Center exists to create an environment that presents positive values to young people, connecting them with other youth and positive role models, to instill in them a moral lifestyle, and to train them to serve others with their lives. Faith-based programming is not included as part of the After-school Enrichment Program.
Since its inception in March 2004 Kansas City Urban Youth Center has served youth in mid-town Kansas City, specifically the Longfellow and Beacon Hill neighborhoods, out of the community room at the Courtyard Apartments at 2732 Troost Ave. in Kansas City, Missouri.
This first service site continues today and, as of Spring 2008, a new program site was added at the East Hills Village apartments at 75th and Monroe to meet the needs for youth services in the Marlborough East community as well. Just a few blocks from the Center’s second site, at Satchel Paige Elementary (where many young people from the community attend), the test scores are ranked 1077th out of the total 1112 elementary schools in the state of Missouri demonstrating the need for educational enrichment for these young people. The youth served by the youth center at both sites are 99% African-American, 50% male/female, and are 1st grade through 12th grade students. Nearly all youth served live in low-income apartments and housing and over 90% qualify for free or reduced lunch. In 2008, 260 youth were served by the after-school program in both locations. And now in 2010, the after-school program will begin serving yet another set of needs through a partnership with a low-income apartment community in Kansas City, Kansas. With the implementation of this third site the after-school program is planning to serve approximately 280 youth in 2010.
Out-of-school education program
We provide out-of-school time educational assistance, recreational activities, healthy food, homework help and literacy and keyboarding program. The goals of this program include raising students academic achievements and increasing their self-esteem through adult mentor relationships.
We are developing small group communities of mentoring relationships between adults and underserved youth. The goals of this program include increasing student's character and self-esteem through adult mentor relationships.
Healthy Choices Program
After-school program to provide family health events as well as nutrition education, cooking classes, gardening, and daily fitness opportunities to students.
Engages our students in one hour of reading each day using the Accelerated Reader and Star Reader programs. While using these programs we have seen 100% student reading levels increase -- some as dramatically as 3 reading levels in six months! Moreover, three out of four first graders who could not read at the beginning of the 2009/10 school year are now reading independently and with volunteers.
Skilled community volunteers and certified teachers are brought to our center to help with homework and give specialized instruction to students
In 2010 our students began their Play Therapy groups. Each week our students meet with a certified Therapist supported by trained staff and mentors to increase self-esteem, self-control, peer relations and interpersonal problem-solving skills.
In the summer of 2010 KCUYC will hold an 8-week academic camp at the Troost and East Hills Village locations. More than 70 youth will participate in the all-day camp, which will include strict reading and math instruction each morning, followed by field trips and other enrichment activities in the afternoon. This year the camp will also include a nutrition curriculum using Children’s Mercy’s Healthy Habits curriculum. Through this hands-on program, the children will cover topics of eating breakfast, family meals, physical activity, fruits and vegetables, decreasing screen time, and sugar sweetened beverages. In conjunction, youth will also be given the opportunity to learn how to prepare healthy meals and snacks.
- Liz McClure
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