The South KC Chamber recognizes organizations that have positively impacted South Kansas City each year at our Annual Dinner.
Meet the 2019 Impact Award Winners!
When they started their business in 1997, Affordable Elegance Catering owners, Greg & Dee-Dee Stokes made a commitment to being among the best of Kansas City catering companies, providing their clients with quality food and outstanding service. Part of being among the best also includes being a good corporate citizen.
The company regularly hires individuals who are enrolled in Cass County Drug & Due Court. By providing jobs for these individuals, they are giving them a chance to become thriving, functioning members of the community. While in the program, individuals have restrictions, and Greg and Dee-Dee work willingly with the court to help their employees get the most out of the program. They have gone above and beyond to help their employees with rides, encouragement to persevere and stay on the right path, and many other things.
This isn’t the only way Affordable Elegance gives back to the community. Over the years they have been a huge supporter of Hope Haven of Cass County by giving significant courtesy discounts on services for their annual fundraisers, as well as contributing to the Christmas store each November and December through donations from AE staff and Gregory’s patrons. They also raise awareness and donations for the Raymore-Peculiar School C.A.N (Caring about Nutrition) program and support numerous area organizations through gift certificate donations to silent auctions and other fundraisers.
Cerner’s mission is to contribute to the systemic improvement of health care delivery and the health of communities by designing leading-edge health information technology. Although the company was started in Kansas City in 1979, they have only been in South Kansas City for a few years, and they are already making an impact on the community.
Cerner, in conjunction with PREP-KC, has created Cerner Tech Start, which is an academy-based learning pathway that integrates college courses, industry mentoring, project-based learning and internship opportunities with an emphasis on computer science.
They have created a one of a kind workforce development opportunity for students in South Kansas City, and the Center School District currently has eight students interning at various divisions within the Cerner Corporation. This authentic industry-based learning experience provides the opportunity for high school students to take dual-credit based coursework at one of Cerner’s Kansas City campuses. The following semester these students are then given the opportunity to apply for the prestigious Cerner’s Scholars Internship Program of which eight students were accepted last year. Cerner has been great in working with the school districts to develop these programs to fit the needs of the districts and the students.
In an effort to make sure that all children in the district are prepared for a successful future, the Hickman Mills School district made a decision in 2010 to do something no other public school on the Missouri side of the metropolitan area is doing…provide a free, universal, five-day-a-week, full day instructional program to all four-year-olds in the district. The district also provides free transportation to and from school each day which helps to alleviate the stress that working parents have in getting their child to and from school.
This program, designed to provide a child-centered, literacy focused curriculum, currently serves around 600 children and has proved to be a great asset in preparing four-year-olds with both the educational and social skills needed to be successful in Kindergarten and beyond.
The district currently serves these children at the Freda Markley Early Childhood Center and the Ervin Early Learning Center, which was formerly Ervin Middle School.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) is striving to help improve our community by making transportation available to segments of our population that might not have other options.
They recently introduced a new Student Pass program that provides thousands of 9th through 12th graders free, unlimited access to public transportation throughout the region. The partnership between KCATA, Kansas City Public Schools, Hickman Mills School District and Center Public School District is designed to enhance current school bus transportation and allow students to connect to opportunities for jobs, internships and extracurricular activities outside of regular school hours. The Student Pass will enhance the transportation service currently offered to students to get to and from school for classes and is helping students break down barriers. The program has already provided rides to approximately 11,000 to students since October 2018.
KCATA has also partnered with the Kansas City Veterans Administration and the Veterans Community Project to offer a program that allows all area veterans to use RideKC fixed-route bus service for free with a RideKC Veterans Pass. This service has been available since mid-July 2017 and has currently provide 3 million free rides for veteran.
In an effort to be engaged with the community they serve, members of the Kansas City Police Department South Patrol Division have organized and produced health, education, employment and entertainment programs never before seen in South Kansas City, on a scale unprecedented for the police department. These include a Health, Wellness and Safety fair, an ex-offender hiring fair, five community movie nights with educational and cultural programs, and numerous smaller scale events.
They have worked hard to build relationships throughout the community, then leverage those relationships to build the community we all desire in south Kansas City. They have successfully served the community with ways they can be engaged, and then actively involving them in events.
While some divisions have had events like movie nights, South Patrol is a shining star among the police department. Every movie night was themed with a topic that built our community and made it better and were produced on a larger scale than other attempts. The Health, Wellness and Safety fair had a great diversity of services provided to community members. The ex-offender hiring fair was completely unprecedented in any police department. All of these 2018 events were something to learn from. South Patrol Division staff already has a full calendar of exciting events for 2019 that will support businesses, educate community members, and build a vibrant community.
Otto Service was started over 40 years ago in Alan Otto’s garage as a Honda and Acura repair business and they moved to their current location on Blue Ridge Boulevard in 1998. Since then this locally, family-owned business has been committed to be a good neighbor and valued business in the South Kansas City area.
Two years ago, Alan’s son Andrew and his wife Terri took over Otto Service and they committed to continuing the 40-year tradition of being a good neighbor and valued business in the south KC area. They breathed new life into the Honda/Acura repair shop by adding Toyota and Lexus to their service line. In 2018, they celebrated July 4th by hosting a veteran’s donation drive, providing much needed items to benefit the Veterans Community Project. Later that year they celebrated Christmas by collecting items and creating bags to support the parents of the children in the NICU unit at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Their commitment to providing a great work environment and giving back to their community makes a huge impact on the South KC area and beyond.
They were also recently selected as a 2019 recipient of the 25 Under 25 award, awarded by Thinking Bigger.
Smithfield Foods’ Martin City plant is part of a $15 billion global food company that exports products to over 40 countries and employs 53,000 people across the globe. The plant has been in the community since 1972 and currently employs over 375 people. Although they are a global company, it is very important to them to support the local community, which they do in a number of ways.
Smithfield has donated over 46,000 pounds of meat to various organizations in the community and their plant mascot “Bob the Hog” visits many local school career days. They also support their employees by providing free self-defense classes and mobile mammograms.
Sustainability is also very important to Smithfield Foods. They are currently working towards a goal of “zero to the landfill” and a 25% reduction in their carbon footprint. They are a recipient of the North American Meat Institute Tier 4 Environmental Ward, which is the highest environmental award. This tier combines the previous three tiers with ISO 14001 certification and external auditing and certification.
Smithfield has also made significant investments towards increased production efficiency and employee safety.
Over the past couple of years St. Joseph Medical Center has focused on providing services for seniors in our community. Their most recent effort, Senior Behavioral Health, meets a dire community need and serves a population that is wildly under-served.
The recently opened Senior Behavioral Health Center, will provide inpatient services and offer stabilization and treatment for senior adults displaying serious behavioral changes. Their state of the art 22 bed unit provides a welcoming, safe, supportive environment where patients receive care based on their individualized needs. Their interdisciplinary approach to care includes a highly qualified and experienced team of professionals who offer a variety of treatment modalities.
The senior behavioral health unit, which will be locked for patient safety, will feature dedicated clinical staff including a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurses who also are experienced in caring for medical/surgical patients, social workers, physical/occupational/recreational therapists, a pharmacist with interest in psychiatric drugs, dietitian and psychologists. The benefit of working with the hospital is its head to toe comprehensive care. If a patient has heart or other issues, a specialist is onsite to provide care.
South KC Chamber Annual Dinner/ Community Impact Awards
Thursday, March 14, 2019
5:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Armacost Car Museum