Today, Mayor Sly James, members of the City Council, and the Full Employment Council joined together to announce Face Forward KC, an initiative to provide educational services, job training and placement services, mentoring services, and legal assistance to juvenile offenders and at-risk youth in the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Our community was one of only 20 in the nation to receive this grant from the United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. “I’m very proud of the staff at the Full Employment Council for securing this funding,” said Mayor Sly James. “Programs like Face Forward KC have the ability to completely transform neighborhoods, one life at a time.” The success of Project Rise, a four-year pilot project aimed at reaching our City’s at-risk youth population, paved the way for this grant funding.
Face Forward KC will specifically target young people, aged 16-24, who are already in the juvenile justice system, or who are at-risk for criminal behavior. This project will bring together a coalition of community organizations, led by the Full Employment Council, to deliver services to participants with the goal of reducing their tendency to make negative life choices. Stakeholders have already leveraged $1 million in federal funding to raise an additional $300,000 in-kind support from local philanthropic organizations.
Face Forward KC partners include: Family Court of Jackson County; the Jackson County COMBAT Commission; Legal Aid of Kansas City; Arts Tech Alternative School; Hope Academy Charter School for dropouts; Metropolitan Community College; University of Central Missouri; Jewish Vocational Services; Comprehensive Mental Health Services; Housing Authority of Kansas City; Project Restart; and the New York Center for Economic Opportunity(CEO), which funds FEC’s Project Rise in partnership with the City of Kansas City, MO, the United Way, the Kauffman Foundation, and the Social Innovation Fund and Bloomberg Foundation.
“Face Forward KC is a natural next step from where we began our efforts to reconnect with this population of our youth with Project Rise,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “We can’t lose our young people to a life of crime and hopelessness because of poor choices they make early in life. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Face Forward KC and the lives that will be impacted because the community cared enough to not give up on these young people.”
Members of the multidimensional Face Forward KC Advisory Board are:
Stephanie Boyer Manager of Drug Court/Coordinator/ Probation & Parole at 16th Judicial Court, City Municipal Court
Theresa Byrd Director of Field Service at Jackson County Family Court
Dr. Stacey Daniels-Young Director of COMBAT
Tammy Edwards Vice President at Federal Reserve Bank – Kansas City
David Fry Drug Court Commissioner for Jackson County
Angela Gravino COMBAT Administrator
Jamie Liakos District Administrator at Missouri Department of Probation & Parole
Roosevelt Lyons Senior Advisor, Office of Civic and Community Engagement in the Office of Mayor Sly James
Melissa Mauer-Smith, Director of Family Support Division, Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office
Dr. Joseph Seabrooks President of Penn Valley Community College
Carol Smith Vice President, Community Impact at United Way of Greater Kansas City
Ajamu Webster Owner of Dubois Consultants