Monday, June 22, 2009

Community LINC delivers an amazing program of change for our families. The thing that enables us to deliver that program is our volunteers. We have an incredibly diverse number of ways that volunteers can be involved with Community LINC. One of the best parts of my job is being able to offer a volunteer opportunity that matches almost everyone’s interest. Whether someone wants to work with children, or redecorate an apartment, we can accommodate you.

Repeatedly I witness the level of time, resources and giving that our volunteers offer to Community LINC, and it never ceases to amaze me. We had a little girl ask all of her friends to bring presents to her birthday party—not for her, but for the children in our program. Awaken KC, a participant in the Project Change Corporate Team Challenge, spent three months this spring donating their time and materials to us in order to build a new teen center, community garden, and to host a pasta night with custom made cookbooks for our families. Lee’s Summit United Methodist Church repainted all of our front doors and parking lot stripes on a muggy Saturday morning. Alcatel-Lucent landscaped the front of our buildings, planting rose bushes and donating stone benches.

These examples do not even come close to touching all of the work that our regular Tuesday and Thursday night Program volunteers put in each week, or our devoted Board, or our Apartment Teams who clean, paint and redecorate every apartment each time a family moves out.

I am reminded everyday about the power of each person’s caring and loving and how much that can impact all of our lives. I am always overwhelmed by the family of Community LINC volunteers. You truly amaze me.

Thank you.
-Cecile Denny, former volunteer coordinator

For more information on volunteering at Community LINC, please feel free to contact

Friday, June 12, 2009

Falling Up

I just came back from a great meeting with the grants committee of a corporate foundation. One of our residents came along to tell her story to the group. We thought it would help them see the person rather than the statistic.

She was amazing.

I don’t know that I could share my feelings so openly with such poise.

She was so careful in her decisions in her life. She made a conscious choice not to get pregnant growing up, although her four closest friends did. She got an education and became a teacher. She felt called to minister and began working in substance abuse counseling. When she moved to Kansas City, she continued the counseling work. She met another counselor and married after a careful, thoughtful courtship.

She did all the right things, and, yet she became homeless.

She became homeless because she decided to leave an abusive marriage saddled with the debt. She lost not only her marriage, but her support system because of her choice. The feeling of loss clearly still pains her.

She shared other feelings, too. The joy she felt when she moved into her apartment after being homeless. At seeing her little boy’s bedroom decorated with her favorite character – Winnie the Pooh. At the friends she has made, the emotional support she has received, at her success in the program.

She has paid off $5,000 in debt, which she negotiated down from $10,000. She gets up every morning at 4:30 AM to study to take her LSAT. She wants to become a lawyer and someday a judge. She’s in a home ownership program and will raise her son in a home of their own.

She is amazing.

She felt like she was falling down for a while, but, through grace, she’s falling up now.

The foundation called less than an hour after our visit to tell us that they will fund the grant.

-Laura Gray