Mentoring program for at-risk teenagers expands to Jackson County

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A non-profit that works with young offenders, is expanding its services in the Jackson County area.

It’s called the One Heart Project, a mentoring initiative. 

“When you come from a past of crime, severe drug usage, early street life, not going to high school, all these things,” Thomas Colgrove said. “You learn a certain way of life and you learn how to communicate in life.”

That’s why 28-year-old Colgrove is taking his past, to inspire teens’ futures.

“It's being able to help kids who are coming from the same place that you've been,” Colgrove said. “And something that you've begun to overcome and conquer and put things in retrospect — look back and use your insights to help these kids in similar situations.”

He’s part of One Heart Project, a program that’s been expanded to Jackson County, designed to help teens in the Family and Juvenile Court System.

“We are going to facilities, we have been working with Jackson County, Johnson County and Shawnee County,” Program Director Victor Hercules said. “And when we go into these facilities, we provide curricular activities for character building skills.”

It’s an opportunity for these youth to redirect their steps on the right path.

“These youths are worth it, they are so very much worth it,” Curriculum Facilitator, Kirsten Goodman said.

They also work with students who are in alternative schools due to behavioral issues.

Right now, the need for mentors and volunteers is critical.

“When a lot of kids come back out in the community, they have had a change of heart and they have had to pull away from old behaviors, from old friends,” Goodman said. “And having an adult in the community who is there for them to waiting for them, to help just to walk alongside them, to talk about whatever it is they want to talk about at the time, to show them the way, to show them that it's possible. These mentors are imperative of the future success of these youth.”

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