Jun 7, 2021

Building Others Up

HALO Resident Standing in Front of Her Poster
HALO Resident Standing in Front of Her Poster

Every Thursday evening is “Family Night” in the HALO Girls Home.  Staff and residents come together every Thursday, to share a home cooked meal together and to engage in an activity built around a life skill that promotes healing from the traumatic experiences they have endured, as well as building a community within HALO. 

One recent Thursday, HALO staff members began to prepare the room for that evening’s Family Night, by hanging one large blank poster on the wall for each girl living at HALO. When the girls arrived, they were given a printed photo of themselves, instructed to choose a station, and to hang their picture and write their names on the respective poster board. Then, each girl grabbed a variety of markers, and went around to each station and wrote something they loved or admired about the girl whose name was written on the poster. Afterwards, the girls posed by their posters, each with beaming smiles on their faces, to read the traits that their fellow residents, and friends, noticed in them. Adjectives such as; caring, genuine, smart, funny and courageous filled the room. Staff shared that the evening was, “all about positive minds, thoughts and feelings!” After the activity, all enjoyed a dinner together, feeling appreciated and valued and among friends.  After all, the world is a complicated place, so why not build each other up every chance we get?

You are a part of building other up and appreciate your support. Thank you!

Jun 7, 2021

HALO in the News!

HALO Youth Christopher sharing the HALO Pantry
HALO Youth Christopher sharing the HALO Pantry

In response to the pandemic and school districts changing to remote learning, HALO launched HALO Haven, a daytime and evening program for kids to safely engage in their online classes, have a meal, wifi access, access to essential school and hygiene supplies, and receive individual help and resources. We have impacted 24 youth since beginning this program in September 2020. Through his participation in HALO Haven, one HALO youth went from failing in multiple classes to a member of the Junior Honor Society at his middle school. This is in addition to our growing services provided at our HALO Learning Centers.

Most recently, HALO was featured on KSHB-TV for this effort. Check out the article and full news piece below:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Having a safe place to be, while going to school in the middle of a global pandemic has been increasingly difficult for youth across Kansas City.

Carly Schultze is the program director at the HALO Foundation, a group working to remove barriers and bring an end to children experiencing homelessness.

“Youth homelessness doesn’t look the same as we might kind of stereotype what homelessness looks like," Schultze said.

As a direct response to the pandemic and the inequities brought to the forefront as a result of virtual learning, the foundation used its learning center - repurposing a warehouse once used by the United States Department of Agriculture - in the West Bottoms to open up HALO Haven in September 2020.

“We were really worried that our kids would be missing out on that school lunch and sometimes school breakfast," Schultze said, adding the group was also concerned about making sure kids had access to the internet.

HALO Haven is a daytimeandevening virtual learning program filled with access to WiFi, school and hygiene supplies, one-on-one tutoring, warm food and transportation to and from the location.

Student Christopher Skelton, who plans to graduate this year, says he's used HALO Haven to improve attendance and grades.

“It’s calm and I have space to do my work and everything," Skelton said of HALO Haven, adding he also takes advantage of a supply closet that has supplies students can use.

That supply closet is filled with non-perishable food items to take home, and includes snacks, school supplies, toothbrushes, toothpaste and nearly every item you'd expect to find in the bathroom of grade school student.

The closet sits adjacent from a reading corner, covered in artwork by HALO Haven kids, and across from a wood workshop.

“We are actively trying to not re-traumatize them while they are here, but trying to get them thinking about their future in a really positive light," Schultze said. "We can do that through people that are here to work with them and encourage them. It kind of creates this safe bubble for them.”

“It feels good that I actually have people that can help me, so it’s not as difficult," Skelton said, noting he knows what it's like to have been without help before.

“These kids are the future of Kansas City and they all have just such a beautiful potential that is already in them before they come here," Schultze says. "It just takes a community to show them that what they want to do is possible, that it’s just as possible for them as it is with any other kid that maybe has never experienced trauma or homelessness before.“

Schultze says there is a growing population of youth who are couch-surfing and going without a stable place to stay for too long.

People ages 5 to their early 20s are eligible to receive services at the haven.

 

We were able to pivot our services because of our amazing donors and volunteers. This would not have been possible without you! Thank you for supporting children in the greatest need. We are so grateful for you! 

Lunches donated by generous donors for HALO Youth
Lunches donated by generous donors for HALO Youth
HALO Program Director Carly Schultze in Interview
HALO Program Director Carly Schultze in Interview

Links:

May 5, 2021

You Make Dreams Possible for Kids Like Sumaya

Sumaya
Sumaya

Hear from HALO Alum Sumaya from Uganda. She is now 20 years old and thriving! 

Sumaya joined the HALO family in 2008 after her mother was no longer able to care for her. While living in the HALO Mengo Home, she attended school and completed her primary education. Sumaya is currently in the Salon and Cosmetology progam at the HALO Uganda Learning Center. 

For over 5 years, the Uganda Learning Center provides a collaborate space for HALO Uganda youth to gather, learn, teach, grow and flourish. As Uganda continues to develop and advance as a country, our youth increasingly experience issues similar to those of American inner city youth. We have seen through our programming for youth in the U.S. that after school programming centers and continued education certifications can make all the difference for a child or young adult. The Learning Center is a place for youth to explore their passions and become engaged in safe and fun activities. Classes include Salon, Dance, Sewing and Fashion Design, Computer Skills, Music and Health Education. 

Thank you for supporting young adults like Sumaya so that she can follow her passion to one day work at a salon and become a contributing member of her community.

Links:

 
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