If all 34,000+ Johnson County, Kansas residents living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) formed a single community . . . it would be our fifth largest and fastest growing city?
That the number of Olathe Public School students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch has doubled since 2003-2004 . . . while enrollment increased only 27%? On average 28.5% of each elementary school in the district qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch. Several schools have more than 80% of their students on the program.
To address this tragedy, the Center of Grace, a mission and outreach center operating in southern Olathe has begun a relational program called Circles Olathe. Circles Olathe is part of the national Circles USA program. It provides a comprehensive model for people willing and ready to move out of poverty. In the initial 12-week class, those people (called Circle Leaders) identify their Goals & Future Plans and learn new tools to secure and sustain better jobs and increase income to at least 200% of the FPL. Those Circle Leaders then are paired with 2 or 3 community members (Allies) willing to work for an extended period (12 to 18 months) to help the leaders achieve their goals.
This program is difficult and ambitious, but it provides a path that can lead the Circle Leaders and their families out of poverty . . . to change their lives. To learn more about this program or to help, please contact us at CirclesOlathe@gmail.com or call (913) 764-1353.