COMBAT Awards Mid-Year Funding For 15 Youth Employment & 9 Domestic Violence Programs

"RIGHT NOW" — During a news conference at DeLaSalle Education Center, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker stresses COMBAT's first-ever awarding of mid-year funding "to make sure we could push out those resources while they are really, really needed—right now!"


Prior to a news conference Wednesday announcing COMBAT was awarding nearly $1.5 million in mid-year funding, a teacher at the DeLaSalle Education Center in Kansas City made a poignant observation: "These dollars save lives."

DeLaSalle hosted the news conference, which was held two days after the Jackson County Legislature approved the $1,475,870 in funding. The life-saving dollars will support programs focusing on two crucial anti-violence issues: domestic violence and youth employment.

Getting Resources Out "Right Now!"

Although COMBAT did provide two rounds of emergency funding last year as agencies in the community confronted the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this marks the first time COMBAT has specifically sought applications to provide mid-year funding. Domestic violence and youth employment were two areas of need identified through consulting with COMBAT-funded agencies, law enforcement officials, community leaders and others.

"We've had police telling us about 50% of the calls they were getting last year were domestic violence-related," COMBAT Director Vince Ortega said prior to Wednesday's news conference. "And youth employment—the lack of opportunities—has been an issue for years."

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker stressed the youth employment funding was a "new arm" of COMBAT that she "desperately wanted to get out this summer to make sure we could push out those resources while they are really, really neededright now!

15 Programs Funded For Youth Employment

The DeLaSalle Education Center's Block37 progam provides students, all who live at or below the federal poverty level, real-world work experiences through apprenticeships and internships, while they earn an hourly wage or stipend. Block37 is one of 15 youth employment programs that will be receiving COMBAT's mid-year funding.

"Our students in this city are not vulnerable," stated DeLaSalle's director, Sean Stallings. "That's a deficit mindset. The thing that they are, they're untapped potential."

Studies in Chicago and Boston have reflected that youth who participate in employment programs are far less likely to be involved in crimes, have improved social and emotional skills, develop crucial job skills and communications skills, and raise their academic aspirations—with the impact enduring after the youth participate in the programs.

Number Of Domestic Violence Programs Being Funded Doubled

A year ago, the Rose Brooks Center described Domestic Violence as “the pandemic on top of the epidemic.” With this round of funding, COMBAT is doubling the number of Domestic Violence programs supported through the Community Backed Anti-Crime Tax—from nine programs to 18.

"It is imperative that as a caring community, we recognize that the safety risk and the need for COMBAT-funded safety interventions for survivors and their families persists in our community," Rose Brooks Chiefs Operating Officer Lisa Fleming said Wednesday.

Rose Brooks averaged 1,000 calls per month in 2020 from people seeking help.

  • GET HELP! Crisis lines for substance use disorder treatment, crime tips, domestic violence and child abuse.


Jackson County Legislators Theresa Cass Galvin (6th District) and Jalen Anderson (1st District At-Large), COMBAT Director Vince Ortega and Metropolitan Organization To Counter Sexual Assault Director of Advocacy Victoria Pickering.

“Our students in this city are not vulnerable. Thats a deficit mindset. The thing they are, theyre untapped potential.”

- DeLaSalle Director Sean Stallings

DeLaSalle Director Sean Stallings

 Domestic Violence
 Youth Employment Programs

Domestic Violence Programs Receiving Mid-Year Funding

Bilingual Hotline Response, Crisis Support & Victim Advocacy

NEWHOUSE PROGRAM -- Hotlines serve as an essential resource for victims and bystanders of violence. Nearly 99% of all crisis hotline callers accessed at least one emergency support service, including counseling, sheltering and victim advocacy. Newhouse is an 88-bed emergency shelter facility offering safe housing and critical supportive services to domestic violence victims and their children. Within the heart of the shelter is the Hotline room, staff by trained and experienced Hotline Advocates, who responded to over 12,000 calls in 2020. The Hotline serves as a critical means to access services and began the journey from victim to survivor free from violence. The COMBAT Mid-Year grant will provide vital funding to support client-centered, trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive emergency services for domestic violence victims in the community.

Hope House Co-Responding Advocacy Program

HOPE HOUSE PROGRAM -- Hope House’s Co-Responding Advocacy Program is a new and innovative program that will close existing gaps in service by expanding services to meet the needs of domestic violence victims residing in Independence. By providing crisis intervention and supportive services at the time an incident occurs, the program will increase victims’ safety and create safer communities by holding offenders accountable. Ultimately, the program helps to break the cycle of violence. Project staff will provide on-scene supportive services for residents of Independence who contact the police department as a result of experiencing domestic violence.

Mattie Rhodes Violence Intervention & Prevention

MATTIE RHODES CENTER PROGRAM -- Violence is traumatic and disproportionately affects those living in low-income, disinvested neighborhoods. Mattie Rhodes Center VIP program is guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s framework for violence preventions: The Social-Ecological Model. This model reflects the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors and the necessity to act across multiple levels to reduce and prevent violence. The goal of these supports is to assist youth and families in making significant changes in their behavior to stop the cycle of violence, seek supportive/ intervention services,  prevent youth from engaging in future acts of violence resulting in long-term and widespread changes in the Northeast community, resulting in significant, and lasting effects. This additional COMBAT funding will be utilized to add a Clinical Therapist/Trauma Specialist to the VIP program.

Melissa's Program

HEALING HOUSE PROGRAM -- "Melissa’s Program" is named after a previous participant in Healing House, Inc.'s recovery support services. Melissa was successfully discharged and returned to her batterer. She was murdered while their 7-year old child was upstairs. Melissa's Program will be dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence through the provision of safe housing, supportive counseling and advocacy services. Participants will receive recovery support services and a treatment plan that includes services for domestic violence. This program seeks to connect survivor participants with a nurturing community while enhancing their personal safety, independence, and self-esteem.

MOSCA Services & Education To Address Sexual Violence

METROPOLITAN ORGANIZATION TO COUNTER SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAM -- In 2020 the State of Missouri passed Senate Bill 569, which includes the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. The bill ensures that survivors have the right to consult with an employee or volunteer of a rape crisis center during any forensic examination and before participating in an interview with law enforcement or a prosecuting attorney. MOCSA has longstanding relationships with currently 19 hospitals in the six-county metropolitan area, which automatically dispatch MOCSA advocates to respond when a victim presents for a forensic examination. Whether these requests occur at noon or midnight, MOCSA is available whenever there is a need with 24-hour advocacy services.

Rose Brooks Bridge Program

ROSE BROOKS CENTER PROGRAM -- The Bridge Program systematically connects victims of domestic violence at local hospitals and clinics with immediate domestic violence services and resources in order to offer victims of intimate partner violence a life without abuse. This program connects with COMBAT’s focus on essential services for domestic violence survivors, including trauma counseling for survivors being made available as immediately as possible following the domestic violence occurrence. Also, survivors are fully informed of all resources and services available to them, including counseling, sheltering and victim advocacy.

Trauma First Aid

HOUSING SERVICES OF KANSAS CITY PROGRAM -- Housing Services of Kansas City, a closely held 501(c)3 nonprofit of the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri (HAKC), is creating a new Trauma First Aid Case Worker (TFAC) initiative to treat trauma experienced by Low Income Public Housing residents and break the cycle of domestic abuse and violence in Kansas City’s public housing. The TFAC Worker will be sited through HAKC’s Resident Services Department and work with HAKC Public Safety officers as they respond to incident reports from HAKC’s Low-Income Public Housing and Senior Developments. The TFAC worker will work intensively for 96-120 hours after a Domestic Violence or other traumatic incident to assist the client with immediate post-traumatic needs, accessing community services, and finding additional therapeutic services. After that time, the client’s case will be transferred to the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency program for follow-up services and case management.

Using Physical Exercise To Treat Trauma

COMMUNITY SERVICES LEAGUE PROGRAM -- Trauma—sexual trauma, domestic violence, chronic poverty and other traumatic experiences—can be stored in a person’s muscles, stomach and brain. The body's inability to shut off the flood of hormones into the body, even when no threat is currently happening, keeps victims of severe trauma in this flood, adversely impacting their physical wellbeing. Community Services League will begin using physical exercise and brain science to encourage health and wellness for both children and adults. The exercise programs may include walking, running, dancing, group classes or individual teachings for those who have suffered from relational trauma and for those who hope to never experience it. Exercise is a way to address mental wellness without being mental health providers.

Youth Guidiance BAM & WOW

YOUTH GUIDIANCE PROGRAM -- 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. The COMBAT grant supports four full-time BAM & WOW Counselors in providing 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.

Youth-Employment Programs Receiving Mid-Year Funding

ArtsTech Youth Employment & Training Initiative

ARTSTECH PROGRAM -- ArtsTech offers 150 hours of youth-paid apprenticeship opportunities for 75 youth aged 13-17. Participants will learn several crucial life/career skills:job readiness; appropriate on-the-job behavior; avoiding common pitfalls that cause young people to be fired; Money management; time management; substance use and abuse prevention; appropriate leisure skills; and other behaviors that translate to a healthy lifestyle. Participants will also learn what job placements are available and how to match their personal interests with career opportunities. Pre-employment activities include collecting all required documents, including parent/guardian approvals, and processing all youth where they will receive their job assignment so they are prepared to start work.

Blue Hills Restorative Justice Program

BLUE HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSCOCIATION PROGRAM -- The Restorative Justice Program involves a holistic approach to personal development and economic stability for at-risk and identified vulnerable youths, ages (13-17) in Central Kansas City, MO. Using the evidence-based Theory of Change model as outlined by The Annie E. Casey Foundation (Theory of Change: A Practical Tool For Action, Results and Learning), Blue Hills Neighborhood Association Restorative Justice Program seeks to provide a pathway of change program that encompasses practical cognitive behavioral and conflict resolution skills, coupled with workforce readiness and retention strategies that discourage negative interactions with family members, law enforcement, peers and individuals in their communities.

Bridge Job Readiness Program

BRIDGE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY PROGRAM -- The Bridge Leadership Academy is creating a Job Readiness Program for youth June 2021 - June 2022. The program will be for 25-plus youth, with a focusing on preparing them to have a success career path. The outcomes the Academy will seek to achieve include: 90% of the participants will complete the program; 80% of participants will develop interpersonal skills; 100% of participants will not show physical aggression while in the program; 100% will learn about three different career paths and how to apply these skills to real life employment. BLA provides a nurturing environment for students from diverse backgrounds to learn and feel a sense of belonging. In addition to traditional academic experiences, BLA provides one-on-one academic tutoring, leadership development programs, healthy food options, physical activity forums to encourage healthy dialogue—all in addition to Job Preparedness and Readiness Skills.

Calvary Community Outreach HYPE Summer

CALVARY COMMUNITY OUTREACH NETWORK PROGRAM -- Youth are offered 25-hour per week summer employment on the Calvary Community Outreach campus. Administrative positions are available in the Program Director’s office. Other opportunities are available as summer camp counselors, community garden workers and activity staff. Youth earn the minimum wage established by the State of Missouri ($9.45/hour) and receive one meal per day, plus bus passes when needed. CCON will attempt to place youth in jobs to aid them in exploring career interests and aptitudes, building vocational knowledge, developing team and leadership skills, and practicing creative thinking and problem solving. Each youth is also assigned to an adult Youth Employment Mentor who makes regular visits to their workplaces, helping navigate conflicts on the job and teaching basic job skills.

Cornerstones Build Trybe for Youth Employment

CORNERSTONES OF CARE PROGRAM -- The purpose of Cornerstones of Care’s Build Trybe program is to build a bridge to successful employment in skilled trades for youth aging out of foster care, foster youth with mental health disorders, homeless youth and students with behavioral challenges. Build Trybe provides experiential learning opportunities in horticulture, culinary, construction, landscaping, metalworking and woodworking trades. Build Trybe trains youth aged 13 and over in advanced trades programming, utilizing learning centers and community partners to create real-world experiential classes. Apprentices in the Build Trybe program are paid and engaged in financial literacy and budgeting classes to save for first cars, first apartments and trade tools. As the youth show aptitude and job readiness, Build Trybe then partners these young adults with skilled trades people, advanced training programs, and employers in the community.

DeLaSalle Education Center Block37

DE LA SALLE EDUCATION CENTER PROGRAM -- DeLaSalle’s Block37 offers at least 75 at-risk high school students a safe space, positive adult role models and access to activities that promote positive social, emotional, and educational outcomes for students. The program gives students, 100% of whom live at or below the federal poverty (FPL) level, the protective factors they need to mitigate risky behaviors (e.g., violence, drug/alcohol use) and strengthens their engagement in school. Through apprenticeships and internships provided on-site and at partner organizations, teens gain real-work experience and learn new skills while earning an hourly wage or stipend.

Grace United Youth Employment Program

GRACE UNITED COMMUNITY MINISTRIES PROGRAM -- Youth ages 13 to 17 will be provided relevant job training opportunities during summer school, and during before and after school activities. These activities can be critical in reducing violence among children. A Denmark study showed that children growing up in poverty are seven times more likely to harm themselves and be involved in violent crimes as young adults. This research highlighted the importance of providing child-friendly public services, housing and education. The vision of this program is to assist 40 low to moderate-income children ages 13 to 17 in developing key lifelong skills that will be necessary to use in their future. Those skills will include increased independence and a sense of responsibility; a positive attitude toward teamwork; key work skills such as customer service, time-keeping and prioritizing; money management skills; an preparation for full-time employment.

Hickman Mills Legacy of Excellence Project

HICKMAN MILLS PREVENTION COALITION PROGRAM -- The purpose of the Legacy of Excellence project is to prepare teens for the workforce by providing job readiness /preparedness training, developing strong interpersonal and social skills, and a healthy sense of self and obligation to community, as well as a $2,200 for the whole year ( $1,200 for the summer and $1,000 for the school year). Through these efforts, the secondary and long-term purpose is to reduce youth crime rates in south Kansas City by 10%, reduce youth recidivism by 10% and increase employability of participants by 95%.

Ignition Lab Opportunity Internship Program

OPERATION BREAKTHROUGH PROGRAM -- The Opportunity Internship program provides hands-on learning experiences in STEM, a powerful springboard for high school students who live in economically depressed, often violent neighborhoods helping prepare them for post-high school job training programs, entrepreneurial ventures or college admission. The program provides important opportunities for the students to serve as positive role models for rising adolescents, helping strengthen relationships, supporting social emotional competence, and building resilience.

Ivanhoe Youth Employment Program

IVANHOE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL PROGRAM -- The purpose of the Legacy of Excellence project is to prepare teens for the workforce by providing job readiness /preparedness training, developing strong interpersonal and social skills, and a healthy sense of self and obligation to community, as well as a $2,200 for the whole year ( $1,200 for the summer and $1,000 for the school year). Through these efforts, the secondary and long-term purpose is to reduce youth crime rates in south Kansas City by 10%, reduce youth recidivism by 10% and increase employability of participants by 95%.

KC Common Good Working For Youth

KC COMMON GOOD PROGRAM -- Working For Youth is a collaborative, violence prevention program that increases the number of paid internships and employment opportunities for Jackson County youth most at risk of violence. Youth, ages 14-18, within historically marginalized communities are matched with an employer and a coach for the summer. In addition to a paid work experience, youth will receive job training and mentoring through a trauma-informed approach, as well as other wrap-around support including financial literacy and life skills training. Short-term outcomes for youth are to gain greater understanding of oneself and one’s work, as well as increased connectedness to others and the community. Mid-term outcomes are a decrease in youth-involved in violence and an increase in high school graduation rates. Long-term outcomes include decreasing rates of violence, increasing rates of wealth built within marginalized communities, and expanded access to economic opportunity.

reStart, Inc. reTreats

RESTART, INC. PROGRAM -- At risk youth have an increased likelihood of experiencing homelessness, experiencing food insecurity and experiencing violence. The purpose of the reTreats program is to meet the growing need for gainful employment opportunities for marginalized youth as they start their journey toward independence by providing real world employment training that includes customer service, bookkeeping, marketing, accounting, culinary skills and more. Youth work together to prepare the reTreats by working with vendors to secure ingredients and preparing reTreats in a commercial kitchen. They work with local retailers where reTreats are distributed, and process and fulfill orders, handle inventory, and manage supply. reTreats program participants graduate with skills to obtain and retain living wage employment.

ScoutReach Summer Camps

HEART OF AMERICA COUNCIL, BS PROGRAM -- The Heart of America Council believe Scouting should be accessible to all—regardless of demographics or zip code. ScoutReach, which served 3,643 Scouts in 2020, supports our highest need populations and we cover all associated costs for those youth. ScoutReach participants identify as 1% Asian, 39% Black, 5% Caucasian, 10% Hispanic or Latino, 3% Other, and 42% declined to provide identifying information. The Council does not ask for household income to participate in our programs, but ScoutReach sites are selected based on the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. Heart of America operates ScoutReach exclusively at schools or community centers where more than 80% of students qualify for FRLP and most of the council’s partners far exceed that threshold.

Transition Zone Youth Workforce

TRANSITION ZONE, INC. PROGRAM -- Transition Zone’s purpose is to serve youth and families who need assistance in overcoming poverty; who live in underserved, marginalized areas of the community; who are typically overlooked due to a lack of social and emotional skills, life skills, and workforce development skill sets. Transition Zone provides a loving, safe and equitable space for equipping them with necessary skills and resources needed to retain good employment and education, empowering them to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

Youth Life Link

SISTERS IN CHRIST PROGRAM -- The Youth Life Link project helps keep at-risk youth safe and inspires them to learn about and lead violence-free lifestyles. Inspiring youth to learn along with providing culturally relevant and engaging employment opportunities will decrease the high school dropout rate. Teaching youth job readiness and on-the job-training skills will assist them in finding employment. Understanding appropriate recreation and how to use idle time will decrease the number of youth referred to the juvenile justice system. Additionally, assisting youth gaining employment will improve their financial outlook and set them on the track to grow up to be adults who lead crime-free and self-sufficient lives.