The South KC Chamber’s 2022 Community Impact Awards were presented at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner which was held on Thursday, February 10, 2022, at the Armacost Museum.
Each year the Chamber honors companies and volunteers who have made the MOST impact. We asked businesses and community members to help us nominate those who did something to make a positive impact in South Kansas City in 2021.
During the pandemic, when restaurants in the Red Bridge Shopping Center started laying off employees due to restrictions on in-person dining, Ball’s Sun Fresh began hiring these laid-off employees as temporary employees, offering a paycheck to people in dire need.
Sun Fresh paid them $12 per hour, which is well above minimum wage. Store Manager Kathy Scott also asked that each of these temp employees wear their staff shirts, advertising the employer that promised to hire them back once the coronavirus concern passed.
It is estimated they hired as many as 15 displaced employees, all of whom were able to return to their native employers when pandemic restrictions were lifted.
In 2021, working with 14 public schools (including Head Start programs), Southeast Regional President Bryan Mallory and his team launched the 17th annual Country Club Bank Coats for Kids campaign. During September and October, the Southeast financial centers posted collection jars at their teller lines and worked towards specific internal fundraising goals. Regionwide, a total of $13,546 was raised and 498 coats were donated, exceeding the 2021 goals of $12,000 in fundraising and 495 donated coats.
Country Club Bank started its Coats for Kids campaign in 2005 and raised $1,732 that year. Throughout 17 years of spearheading the annual program, the bank has raised more than $103,552 and donated 4,703 coats.
MINDDRIVE is a project-based experiential learning program that serves students from around the Kansas City Metro. Mentoring is a key component of our after-school programs with a student-to-mentor ratio of 2:1. We teach problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration through math, science, technology, innovation and communication, giving our students deep-level experience with real world applications.
Programs offered include Automotive Design Studio, Drone FPV Racing, Battlebots NRL – Robotics, Welding Art Studio, eSports, and Engineering Design Studio. For more information visit www.minddrive.org.
South KC Early College Academy launched in August 2020, as a way to provide an opportunity for high school students in the Center, Grandview and Hickman Mills School Districts to get a jump start toward a college degree and gain experience on a college campus – all at no cost to the student or family, and during the regular school day.
Currently, there are 31 high school students enrolled. This includes 13 from Grandview, 6 from Center, and 12 from Ruskin. Their first cohort of 10 seniors is set to graduate this Spring. They have individually earned between 26 and 34 college credits from Metropolitan Community College while in this program.
These are students who are fully engaged in a variety of advanced level high school classes and extracurricular activities, all while carrying a 9-credit hour load at MCC-Longview. They work hard and will be in a great position to complete college by the time they graduate from high school!
The Mission Council at St. Joseph Medical Center, worked throughout 2021 to provide meaningful activities that would benefit not only the medical staff but also the greater South Kansas City community. The team began with a collection of non-perishable items for Little Sisters of the Poor in February. The hospital staff collected four carloads of food and hygiene items for the residents at the assisted living center, which were delivered Easter weekend. \
During the month of July, the Mission Council sponsored a Back-to-School drive. With the help of hospital staff as well as students at Concorde Career College and the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, we were able to provide backpacks filled with school supplies for thirty children of employees at St. Joseph Medical Center. Two carloads of additional school supplies were delivered to Center School District.
In October, the Mission Council sponsored a collection of Blessing Bags for homeless patients. The bags are filled with essential items such as hat, gloves, healthy snacks, hand sanitizer, etc., and include a note of encouragement. With the help of a generous donation by two of the Women’s Bible Study groups at Rock Brook Church, the hospital was able to collect 105 Blessing Bags to be distributed this winter.
In addition, this team is not only available to our patients for their spiritual care needs, but to the families and our staff to support in any way they can, we are blessed!
And the BIG IMPACT Winner is…
Youth Guidance has deployed a program called Becoming a Man (“BAM”) and Working on Womanhood (“WOW”) in the Hickman Mills School District. BAM and WOW are school-based strength-based, trauma-informed group counseling and clinical mentoring programs that seek to change the life trajectories of BYMOC and GYWOC in grades 6-12, who have been exposed to cycles of intergenerational poverty, violence, and trauma, in large part due to the racial inequities BIPOC communities in America face.
Youth Guidance’s culturally competent school-based mental health and social-emotional models work with students who are at higher risk of school withdrawal and anti-social behaviors, so they can gain the skills and resources necessary to thrive in and beyond school.
Four full-time BAM & WOW Counselors provide trauma-informed group counseling and mentoring services to 210 Hickman Mills C-1 School District students who have been exposed to domestic violence and other traumas, both directly and indirectly.