According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education during the 2017-2018 school year an estimated 36,006 public school students in Missouri experienced homelessness over the course of the year. At HALO we are so lucky to have such a strong community around us who support and partner with us to fight until no students experience homelessness in Kansas City. We strive in return to be partners with nonprofits in Kansas City who are fighting to end the cycle of youth homelessness right alongside us.
For the past nine years, we have partnered with reStart whose mission is, "To empower all people facing or experiencing homelessness by providing housing and services that inspire hope." reStart gives youth experiencing homelessness safety and security during an extremely difficult time in their lives. reStart offers the only emergency youth shelter in the urban core of Kansas City, providing a safe haven, a warm bed, and three meals a day for youths aged 12-18.
Throughout their time with reStart, many children are offered the opportunity to come to HALO to experience therapeutic art workshops, learn about life skills, practice self-care and experience growth in their personal goals. reStart transports the youth to and from HALO so they have no barriers between them and accessing HALO programming.
HALO sees children from reStart multiple times a week during our creative writing workshops on Mondays, art workshops on Wednesdays, and during our iEmphathize program. This program teaches teens about empathy, positive and negative influence, identifying unhealthy relationships and avoiding exploitation. All of these moments with HALO are essential to shine hope and love on their lives and emphasize how truly capable they are.
When asked what successes they have seen through this nine-year partnership, reStart staff said, "I've seen youth gain confidence in themselves. Small successes are incredibly meaningful and counteract the negative messages people have put in their heads growing up. HALO has also linked our youth to internships, jobs, and scholarships before--these can be a turning point in young adulthood!"
At HALO we believe that there is power in uplifting fellow organizations who are serving youth who are experiencing homelessness, so each and every child knows that the Kansas City community is working together to be there for anything they need. Currently reStart is in need of supplies to continue their fight against youth homelessness.