In 2005, a small class of young kids came to a stark, simple realization: “If there are homeless kids who need our help, we should do whatever we can to help them.” It’s hard to argue with that logic. This simple view of the world – and their place in it – made it possible for them to face the reality of child homelessness fearlessly. Their first fundraiser brought in $5,000. Their second raised $40,000. They either didn’t know, or didn’t care, that kids aren’t supposed to be able to do that.
When you take on something as ambitious as ending child homelessness, your mission should be crystal clear, and your approach better be fearless.
Having seen the efforts and effect a handful of kids could have first hand, HALO’s founders saw an opportunity to create an organization that would believe in its mission, and its ability to fulfill that mission, fearlessly.
Now, HALO gives homeless kids a home in which hope emerges from hardship, poverty gives way to potential, and where drawings of the past unlock dreams of the future.
We work wherever kids who have been abused, abandoned, and orphaned, need the kind of love and support other kids get from living with their family.
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At our core is a small team charged with keeping the vision clear, the gears turning, and the fire burning. They embody the deep compassion and relentless determination that has come to define HALO as an organization, and made us a force to be reckoned with in the fight against child homelessness.
HALO Founder & CEO: Rebecca Welsh
“My first contact with street children changed my life. While volunteering in Honduras fresh out of college, I stopped at a local drink stand for a Licuado. There was a little girl with big, round, green eyes standing next to me, staring at me. She had 10 other kids surrounding her but she was the smallest one. Not one of these children had shoes on and their feet were covered in cuts and warts. Their clothing was worn and dirty. Their eyes totally blood shot. As a woman at the store handed me my ice-cold liquado, the little girl opened her mouth to speak. In her meek little voice she asked me for a drink. I looked down to see that her scalp was covered in bumps and bugs. Her hair had fallen out in patches because she had chicken lice. I asked her name and her older sister, the leader of the pack, stepped up and said her name is, “Daisy”. I gave her my drink and at that moment I realized that I had been blind my first 22 years of life. Daisy was and remains a driving force for HALO. With your help we will find children in the greatest need, love them, serve them, and give them the tools to reach their dreams.”
Chief Operating Officer: Nicole Gerken
“I love what I do. I have the privilege to serve as an agent of positive change for the world and the children we serve. I am committed to the HALO mission to help one more child spend one less day alone and know that everyday, we are making a difference in the lives of our HALO children. I’ve seen that love truly does heal. I believe that even if we are helping just one child, all of our work is worth it because we are providing a chance. Chance that some of us just happened to have in the environment we were given. When we provide the support of a family, we can break the cycle of homelessness. Everyday, I am inspired by our team of volunteers and staff who are committed to spreading love and fulfilling a need of helping others in the world. I keep the HALO vision in motion at all times, focusing on operational efficiencies and tools, team development, strategic planning, marketing and branding initiatives, fundraising and event support.”
Operations Manager: Chelsea Tapken
“I am so grateful to work for an organization that’s making a positive impact for children in Kansas City, and around the world. I am humbled to have the opportunity to work toward a mission that I have been passionate about since my eyes were opened to youth homelessness during a mission trip to Kansas City 10 years ago. I believe that HALO is truly changing children’s lives by providing the support of a family through housing, healing, and education. It is a privilege to be able to work with such passionate volunteers and staff that are dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness.”
Kids are the greatest cause.
We partner with shelters and programs to stretch their services and fill the gaps between existing agencies. In other words, through a mixture of heart and hustle, we find a way to meet every need – even the ones that other organizations can’t, or won’t.
Our programs include housing for hundreds of homeless youth in 11 International Orphanages and Two Domestic Shelters, education in Learning Centers that offer a variety of future-focused programming, from simple life skills, to help with school to scholarship funds, and healing through a mix of therapeutic art and medical and mental support.
When kids rediscover their value and embrace their potential, it puts them on a path to becoming contributing members of their community, ultimately saving over $300,000 in potential welfare and incarceration costs.
HALO Board of Directors
- Eddie Welsh, President, COO at Capital Materials
- Kelli Jones, Treasurer, Senior Advisor, CPA and Certified Financial Planner at Moneta Group LLC.
- Gregory Lam, Managing Partner at Copilevitz & Canter
- Vanessa Connell, CPA and Community Activist
- Bryan Albers, CEO at ABLE Inc.
- Suzanne Alewine, CEO & Principal Partner at Community Asset Builders
HALO Ambassador Board
The HALO Ambassador Board is comprised of committed volunteers with specific skill sets who come to the table with the desire to truly use their expertise to make an impact. This working board is organized with specific departments, which include Operations, Marketing, Business Development, Finance, Events, Programs and Art. Listed below are the department members meeting specific needs within the organization.
- Amanda Owen, International Program Support
- Andrea Steere, Marketing Support
- Brooke Nielsen, Marketing Support
- Alyssa Steffes, Marketing Support
- Taylor Lay, PR Coordinator
- Kaitlin Woody, Auction Chair
- Jane Schrader, ArtReach Auction Chair
- Kristi Dale, Grant Support
Additional Headquarters Support: