Graduation day for children in the Learn to Earn program and after-school program was Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club, 1240 Troup, Kansas City, Kansas.
Students enjoyed a lunch and received certificates of graduation at the event, which was sponsored by the Historic Northeast-Midtown Association. Students in the group this year have been working on designs for a new community mural, according to Rachel Jefferson, executive director of HNMA.
“We’re trying to teach kids to engage with the community in a healthy way, to teach them to take control, to grow in a healthy way,” said Brendan Irving, program manager for Learn to Earn.
The after-school program is grant-funded through HNMA. The after-school program currently is a pilot program, which is expected to have 50 to 60 students this summer. Irving said the Saturday event was a combination of different community programs.
Steve James, with the T.H.R.Y.V.E. (Together Helping Reduce Youth Violence for Equity) program, said a grant through the University of Kansas funds an effort for different grassroots organizations to work together instead of apart, sharing resources.
Karen White, an artist, has been working with students in the program on a mural design. A new mural is planned at 18th and Parallel in Kansas City, Kansas.
White, who has worked with the Boys and Girls Club in Greater Kansas City and YouthFriends, also has worked in the past with the Nelson-Atkins museum programs.
She said drawings made by children in the community are being compiled. The drawings reflect what the children see in the community, she said.
Many positive and creative drawings of flowers, rainbows and other subjects have been made for the mural, which is in the planning stages, she added.
They are currently placing children’s ideas on a wall pictorially to get a visual idea of what the final mural will look like, she said.