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Project HOME and Impact Olathe, along with their partners, received the 2018 Excellence in Community Service Award from United Community Services of Johnson County! KidsTLC is proud to be one of the partners who support students and families who have struggled with economic stability and have been forced to navigate challenging circumstances. Kelsey Gertsema and Elizabeth Hall of KidsTLC spent time in 2018 building relationships with Olathe Public Schools and Shawnee Mission School District and identifying students who need assistance navigating healthcare, housing and other basic-needs services in our community.

Project HOME (Housing Opportunities Move Everyone) provides a deep level of caring and commitment to people in the community who have been marginalized. Project HOME is in its third year and rooted in the Shawnee Mission School District. Despite the perception of affluence, there are 400 students in the district who meet the criteria for homelessness. Project HOME convenes twice-monthly meetings at a local church and brings together officials from various agencies that help move homeless families into permanent housing. A collaboration of many community resources in Johnson County, the program uses a holistic approach to identify eligible families and offers community resources for housing, finance, utilities, food, and healthcare for families.

Impact Olathe is a project of the Olathe Public Schools and was started in the fall of 2016. This program is also a collaborative effort, with nine social service agency partners that donate their time. The program seeks to support students and families in transition who lack housing, as well as those who need employment, healthcare, childcare, transportation, and food. The program works to break down barriers and provide a continuum of care.

Project HOME and Impact Olathe partners include: Johnson County Mental Health Center, Shawnee Community Services, New City Church, Vineyard Church, Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA, Redeemer Fellowship, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Northeast and North Central Multi-Service Centers, Workforce Partnership, KS DCF, El Centro, KidsTLC, City of Olathe, Olathe Housing Authority, The Salvation Army, Health Partnership Clinic, reStart Inc., Olathe Multi-Service Center, and Olathe Fire Department.

Congratulation on the well-deserved recognition for collaborative work in our community to help those who need assistance!