Thanks to a sponsorship from Hallmark Cards, reStart was able to host our 2nd annual Advocacy Day for reStart! Residents, volunteers and staff of reStart traveled to Jefferson City April 29th, to visit the Missouri State Capitol and learn about issues affecting homelessness. They were able to meet with State Legislators and leaders from State Agencies talk about Medicaid and made visits to the Department of Mental Health and Department of Social Services.
A big thank you to Secretary of State Jason Kander, Senator Kiki Curls, Senator Ryan Silvey, Senator Jolie Justus, Senator Jason Holsman, Representative Randy Dunn, Representative Gail McCann-Beatty, Representative John Rizzo, Representative Jeremy LaFaver, Representative Brandon Ellington, Representative Judy Morgan, Representative Kevin McManus, and Representative Noel Torpey for taking their time to meet with our clients. And thank you to Senator Paul LeVota for hosting us for lunch.
Our annual ‘Warmth from the Heart’ Legislative Reception, Friday, April 25th, was a huge success! State representatives and government officials were invited to meet face-to-face with our clients who are struggling with homelessness to gain information about programs and services that are being offered, discuss proposed and pending legislation that may impact outcomes, and take some time to serve their community with hands-on volunteer work.
Big thanks to Councilwoman Melba Curls, Councilwoman Jan Marcason, Councilman Scott Wagner, Representative Randy Dunn, Representative Tom McDonald, Representative Theresa Garza Ruiz, Representative Judy Morgan, Sarah Woodward, Kendra Burgess, Matt Hasse, and Win Jamieson for serving lunch in the park on this beautiful afternoon!!
We are very excited to finally launch our volunteer management site through VolunteerMark! Volunteers now can sign up for opportunities online and receive updates and reminders of their schedule. This mobile-friendly software is exciting for us as we can now store and track volunteer data. Last year reStart had 4,214 volunteers provide 15,477 hours of service and now we will be able to maximize the volunteer experience through better communication. Sign up today!
We want to thank our many volunteers who could join us Wednesday, April 16th at the Cashew downtown Kansas City to celebrate National Volunteer Month. This time of year is when we celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service. A month where we focus on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership, it is not only our moment in time to celebrate our volunteers, but to share ideas, practices, and stories.
“Celebrate Service” is the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Month, which is being celebrated nationwide the month of April. And nowhere is that theme more evident than at reStart, where volunteers provide the expertise, the willing hands and the dedication to provide so many services for our clients.
Outstanding Congregation – New Life Fellowship
Honorable Mention Congregation – Chapel Oaks
Outstanding Corporation – UMB
Honorable Mention Corporation – American Century Investments
Outstanding Youth Service – Tori Bass
Honorable Mention Youth Service – Bishop Miege
Volunteer of the Year – Hannah Bettis
Outstanding Holiday Hero – Tamba Hali
Honorable Mention Holiday Hero – Elizabeth Williams
reDo reStart was inspired after we gave Swiss Re a tour of our facilities and they realized how many areas needed improvement. After naming us Charity of the Year for the next three years, they have decided to focus the first year on fundraising for our Youth Emergency Shelter, along with volunteering throughout the year. We are very excited for this opportunity and are truly thankful for Swiss Re’s commitment to reStart! The below video they produced for us highlights some of our youth residents and ideas of what’s to come!
We are so proud to have a continued partnership with the HALO Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers youth through art. Through the HALO Learning Center of Kansas City, along with volunteers and amazing staff that visit each Monday, our homeless youth within our supportive programs are able to partake in their art therapy classes.
We were excited to attend their 9th Annual ArtReach Auction and learn that they raised $125,000 that will go toward providing a brighter future for homeless, at-risk, and orphaned youth! For us, the night was particularly special because they showed this powerful video featuring one of reStart’s youth resident’s, Oscar. We are thankful each day for HALO and how they empower our youth through art. Learn more at www.haloworldwide.org.
We were excited to announce late last year that Swiss Re has named us Charity of the Year—for the next three years. They will focus on helping us update our youth spaces in 2014. We recently held a focus group with current residents of the Youth Emergency Shelter to get their ideas about ways to make the shelter more homey and youth-friendly. We received great feedback and some specific requests for each room:
Kitchen – Additional storage, new table and chairs, new appliances (including our first dishwasher!), larger refrigerator, over-the-range microwave (in increase counter space), and a second sink.
Common Area – New flooring, a mounted flat-screen TV (to create more seating space), a large l-shaped couch complemented by separate lounge seating and ottomans, and laptops to replace the cramped study space, so that youth can work from any room in the shelter.
Bedrooms – Built-in under-bed drawers and personal lockers for storage, ceiling fans, throw rugs, personal cork boards and other decorations to personalize the rooms.
Bathrooms – Full-size shower doors for more privacy, under-sink storage, more mirrors and new tile that is bright and easy to clean.
Overall – The youth wanted to see calming features such as soft lighting, colorful paint, non-institutional flooring and artwork throughout.
We are thrilled to get this project moving and are so thankful that Swiss Re is partnering with us to make this happen! Stay tuned for more updates!
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, volunteers took a chance to start the year off right by making an impact in our community. We had some amazing volunteers at reStart dedicate their holiday by helping those we serve on Saturday, January 18th; Monday, January 20th; and Wednesday, January 22nd.
We were thrilled to have Church of the Resurrection Downtown and Leawood visit with our residents and play BINGO with them, organizing our in-kind donations, clean our Family Shelter, and provide administration help. H&R Block provided more than 60 volunteers to clean, paint, serve in our kitchen, and provide administration help. Other groups and individuals provided lunches, crafts and games for our residents, and organization of our in-kind donations. We are so thankful for their dedication to reStart!
We are always in need of volunteers! Please contact Alissa Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your group or to get more details.
Thanks to a grant from H&R Block, all reStart employees from front desk staff to the management team participated in a week of Trauma-Informed Care training in two sessions—one last October and one this January. Lead by Elizabeth Power, M. Ed., CEO of EPower & Associates, she is a sought-after speaker, facilitator, teacher, and consultant. Because such a high percentage of reStart clients have experienced trauma—either before or after becoming homeless—this training will help all of our staff members provide services in a manner that avoids further victimizing or traumatizing our clients. Our goal is to create a safe, supportive environment in which our residents can heal from past traumas and move on to stable housing.