Missouri will receive up to $2 million from the USDA to provide access to healthy foods to approximately 10,000 vulnerable children from the St. Louis, Kansas City, Hickman Mills and Center school districts next summer.
“No child should ever go hungry in Missouri; but unfortunately, many children who receive free or reduced-price meals are at risk of malnutrition during the summer,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “I have long been a strong advocate for these programs to help children in need, and I’m pleased that Missouri is leading the way to help these children in the summer months as well.”
The Missouri project operates as a collaborative between the Department of Social Services; the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; the Department of Health and Senior Services; the Local Investment Commission (LINC) in Kansas City; ARCHS in St. Louis; and the Kansas City, St. Louis, Hickman Mills and Center school districts
St. Louis residents Mack Caldwell and Nico Reed, who are participants in ARCHS' Basketball/Life Skills program, have recently found employment with two of the organization's partners. Caldwell serves as a Youth Facilitator with Fathers' Support Center and Reed is a Youth Support Worker in the ASAP after school program at Langston Middle School.
"I take a lot of what I learn at basketball and apply it to my job," Caldwell said. "I see the camaraderie the guys have while playing basketball and things we learn in the life skills classes and analyze what I can so I can teach the kids I work with some things."
"I love working with the kids," Reed said. "It's a big responsibility because they look up to you and you have to set an example. I try and take the positives out of Adult Basketball and teach the kids I work with some things they can relate too."
It had only been three months since Charlene Hester left her residence at a local transitional housing complex to start temporary employment at Near Southside Employment Coalition.
Hester was referred to ARCHS' Welfare to Work Partnership for assistance in finding employment after remaining jobless for nearly two years. ARCHS in turn found her a position at Near Southside as an Employment Specialist Trainee.
"Charlene is an excellent worker. She is very diligent, caring, professional, and takes a lot of initiative," said Ohala Ward, Executive Director of Near Southside. "
However, Near Southside was only able to offer Hester temporary employment, as the organization was unable to hire any new employees. Yet because of the skills she received at Near Southside, she was able to find permanent employment at Scholar's Academy as an Office Administrator.
"Words can't even describe how I feel. It's the ultimate buzz," Hester said. "I have a car now, I'm already in the process of moving forward housing-wise, and I'm paying off debts."
Promoting green-focused living and reducing the impact of toxics in a targeted area of North St. Louis City was the goal of ARCHS' three-year U.S. EPA environmental justice grant. ARCHS completed its formal grant activities by hosting a Tox-Away Day in April 2010. ARCHS' Vice President of Partnerships Les Johnson (shown above) joined ARCHS and other area organizations to collect several tons of items ranging from paint and car batteries to household cleaners and yard chemicals.
ARCHS reported the outcomes of its partnership at a special U.S. EPA event held in St. Louis in May 2010.