KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For many at-risk kids, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors at home.
Inside the doors of Calvary Temple Baptist Church lies a place for kids to not only find their purpose but their voice.
“Being here gives them a place to breathe, or express themselves through music or through sound, whatever it may be, or through art. It just gives them a place to relax and let their problems go,” said Sydney Ramsey, an intern at Helping Youth Plan for Excellence Program.
A safe space for at-risk kids is what Reverend Eric Williams envisioned when creating the Helping Youth Plan for Enrichment, or H.Y.P.E Program.
“The center downstairs is about giving kids a voice, so that when they write, when they perform, what they sing, how they sing can reflect to their experience. Nobody reflects to their experience like they do,” Williams said.
The experience and trauma some of the kids face maybe be hard for many to comprehend, but inside the educational and counseling center, media hub and recording studio, the middle school students are able to create a melody of their own.
“I know two kids came to me and was like, 'Oh I want to do something, oh I want to go to college and do something like this, like what you're doing, working with cameras and stuff like that,'” Alexis Epperson, a youth member Calvary Temple Baptist Church said.
“Well first what I see in them again is talent, and I think if they continue to do things like this, to continue to work on their craft I think that will take them far,” Ramsey said.
Four years in the making, after a fire and the pandemic, not only the church but also the kids are getting a fresh start and finding their own voice.
“The benefit of them being here is having adults as well as people closer to their age giving them advice. Giving them that push of confidence that they need,” Ramsey said.
“I don’t want Kansas City to be afraid of these kids. I want them to see them as assets,” Williams added.