Since the 1960s, years of urban decay, increasing violence, and unmitigated poverty have taken a toll on the east side of Kansas City; on its neighborhoods as well as its residents…including the youngest among the local population. Which is why, over the last 20 years, The Hope Center (THC) has been embedded on the east side, formed by east siders – established, in fact, by a group of teens and four caring adult volunteers – for east siders. Because when hope roots, our young people rise.

Throughout the year, thanks to support from donors like you that keeps costs to deliver faith-based after- and out-of-school programming to <$8 per day per child served throughout the year, programs are stair-stepped by grade level, for Kindergarten children through young adult seniors in high school. All programs are grounded in asset-based programming, meaning that activities and supports (i.e., homework and/or literacy assistance) focus on the strengths, not deficiencies, of each child or youth served. Current program offerings include:

S.A.Y. Yes!, an acronym for “Save America’s Youth – Yes!”, begun by Campus Crusade for Christ, and offered for K-4th graders, Mon-Thurs 3:30-6pm and Friday from 1-5pm to accommodate early school release. S.A.Y. Yes! provides structured opportunities for children to create a positive self-identity; begin to understand social and cultural competencies; and foster positive values.

Character in Training (CIT), a faith-based evening offering for 4th-6th graders Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5-8pm. Guided activities support personal character and citizenship development through a variety of interactive lessons focused on compassion and conviction, personal empowerment, and restraint and resistance to negative peer pressure.

Junior Leaders in Training (Jr LIT), includes curriculum-based and experiential learning opportunities for 7th & 8th grade students on Tuesdays from 5-8pm. Lessons include conflict resolution skills, constructive use of free time, boundaries (rules and consequences), and expectations for personal responsibility and conduct. Service projects teach community responsibility and neighborhood pride.

Leaders in Training (LIT) is a continuation of Jr LIT for 9th-12th grade youth on Tuesday evenings from 5-8pm. Lesson plans continue re-enforcement of positive values and encourage family communications and parent/caregiver involvement. Structured activities promote service learning, thus enhancing personal engagement and motivation.

AMPED is offered to high schoolers on Wednesday evenings from 6-8pm and is a small group Bible study (3:1 student to adult ratio) to enable deeper exploration of personal faith to encourage positive decision making skills, values and morals, and personal motivation and integrity.

Summer Camp experiences are offered to youth ages 13-19 to reinforce character and leadership development as well as to connect students to other urban youth outside of Kansas City. Kids Across America (KAA) in Branson, Missouri, is a faith- and sports-based camp specifically designed for urban youth, utilizing a spiritual framework empirically proven to enhance resiliency and self-confidence for youth from poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

Through our work together, the east side will flourish, not flounder. Though these children and youth may be vulnerable, they will also be victorious for our community and faith-based engagement in their developing lives. And where they find hope, we will discover unlimited potential and possibility.

The east side. The Hope Center.

Individual, Family, and Community Development