CEO's Blog - An Update on CSL's Major Accountabilities and the FSS Program at Hawthorne Place Apartments

It's important that we provide you, our supporters and neighbors, updates on our work, and more importantly, updates on our outcomes. Today, I'd like to share programmatic updates related to our Major Accountabilities. In 2016, our Board of Directors adopted Major Accountabilities that we, as an organization, would be accountable for to our community. Since poverty is always an economic condition, our Major Accountabilities center around us pushing back against economic poverty. For the period of July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, I'm pleased to share the following with you:

Major Accountability #1 - Increase Net Household Income
This is a true measure of the status of a family's poverty. Read the rest of the blog...
Back to School Fairs a Huge Success!

Thanks to your support, more than 2,500 area students were assisted in their efforts to head back to school! Your gifts allowed us to provide backpacks, supplies, tennis shoes, socks, and other items that made the transition to the new school year possible for families.

Royals Charities was again the presenting sponsor of the Back to School Fairs, which happened at seven CSL locations. Royals rookie pitcher Heath Fillmyer (pictured in the photo on the right) greeted about 150 kids on Tuesday, August 7, at CSL's Noland Road office, and assisted them in picking out new shoes and backpacks.

While school was out for the summer,  CSL kicked off a 60 Days of Summer Campaign to raise support for the Back to School Fairs. With your support, we placed almost 75 collection barrels at area businesses, churches, and other locations across the metro to collect school supplies, backpacks, and tennis shoe donations for this year's Back to School Fairs! Additionally, hundreds of donors purchases shoes, backpacks, and supplies, or made cash donations to assist with the purchase of needed items. We are grateful for your support!
CNA Training Courses Continue

CSL, along with many partners, is launching another CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) training this fall. This marks the fourth training cohort that has been offered to City of Independence residents, thanks to your support and a Community Development Block Grant.

By the time this cohort finishes in December, CSL will have graduated, and placed into jobs, more than 50 CNAs! Know someone that lives in Independence that needs a career boost? Applications should be submitted ASAP at this link.

Since launching the CNA cohorts in 2016, we have been tracking the progress of our graduates. Most enter into the program with some earned income, and many of the participants are already working in health care (most in home health care) which often doesn't require a certification. Those working average a wage of $8.50/hour. Upon graduation, most are making $17/hour, including the per-hour value of their employer-sponsored benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc.). Some CNAs take night and/or weekend shifts that pay shift differentials that increase hourly pay to close to $20/hour.

Additionally, we've supported many CNAs to get additional, stackable certifications like LPN, MA, Phlebotomy, etc. This course is a springboard towards real economic opportunity for these graduates. CSL is pursuing additional funding and partners to expand the career sectors in which we offer trainings. For many families, the only opportunity they have to permanently leave poverty is to expand their skills, which translates to increased earning opportunities. CSL remains very committed to this work, and it serves as a pillar of our future. Read more about CSL's Bridges to Career Opportunities, which serves as a framework for our workforce development programming.
BlendWell Community Cafe Enjoys a Successful First Month

After opening the week of July 24 with "pop-up hours," CSL's BlendWell Community Cafe enjoyed its first full month in August. Construction was completed, and finishing touches went into the building.

The coffee shop expanded to a full beverage and pastry menu. Dozens of groups and meetings occupied the Vault Conference Room, and our staff expanded, along with our days and hours of operation. 

On August 21, we hosted a "Preview Party" that celebrated the donors and partners that made BlendWell possible. More than $1.1 million in gifts were given to support this new CSL deliverable. Our motto is "One Cup, One Conversation" and we're pleased that many conversations are happening. People are gathering to discuss how we can strengthen kids, strengthen families, strengthen neighborhoods, and strengthen communities.

Many of our employment or financial coaches are meeting neighbors at BlendWell to check in on their progress to reach their goals. We think BlendWell is the perfect setting to allow positive interactions.

More information:

Our website -
Read what visitors are saying
Facebook or Twitter pages
Call us at (816) 642-2204
Email Store Manager Ana Reyes

Tune into KMBC Channel 9 on September 18, at 6:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. to see a special feature on BlendWell by Kris Ketz!

Stephanie Merriott
Dr. Stephanie Merriott was one of our community models
Fashion for Compassion, a brunch and fashion show hosted by the Coalition of Women Helping Children on August 25th, 
was sold out with more than 400 women (and a few brave men) coming out for a morning of fun, Fall fashion, and fellowship! This was the ninth (!) annual event organized by the Coalition to support children's services at CSL, including the Tennies for Kids program. Thank you to St. Mary's Medical Center, Presenting Sponsor, CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Silver Sponsor, Cates Audio Visual, Paradise Productions KC, Carolyn Long, KCTV5, and our other fantastic advertising and in-kind sponsors for helping to make this the most successful Coalition event to date!

Check out the pictures in our
 online album today.
There are only a few openings left for the CSL Golf Classic, presented by Central Bank of the Midwest, on Monday, September 24th at WinterStone Golf Course. Golfers will start the day with a full breakfast, followed by  a 9am shotgun start to 18 holes of golf (scramble format), contests and games, drinks, lunch provided by CafĂ© Verona, and much more. Don't miss out! Separate flights and contests for women!  Consider being a hole sponsor or sign up today to play. 
Plan to join CSL for our annual Fall Gala -  LUMINOUS - lighting pathways for change , presented by Edward Jones , o Saturday, November 3rd  at the historic Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland.  This year's event will feature a delicious dinner, exclusive live auction, and dancing to the fantastic sounds of Lost Wax. A VIP Sponsor reception, presented by Foster Dental Care, will precede the event in the beautiful chandelier bar to thank donors and table sponsors. New this year, also preceding the event, all guests will experience a Welcome Reception, presented by GEHA RSVP today , or consider sponsoring a table   for this exciting event. To date, nearly 25 partners have committed their support!

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