Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The HALO Learning Center is honored to be a part of next week’s HELLO ART Tour of the Livestock Exchange Building - held from 5:30 – 9 pm on Friday, November 4th, during November’s First Fridays. HELLO ART is a local organization focused on supporting the arts:

Hello Art offers fun and informative events that help connect artists with those who appreciate their work. We strive to break down the barriers that keep people from exploring Kansas City’s arts scene. 

Our goal is to bring together all who want to appreciate and support the arts—including artists, gallery owners, experienced collectors, curious beginners and intimidated patrons—through a year-round calendar of events. First Friday Trolley Tours, Artist Talks and Demonstrations, and Hello Art Member Exhibitions are just a few examples of the types of events we offer.

Hello Art. Where supply meets demand.

Click on the link below to learn more about the event and to register. We will be displaying local and international HALO youth artwork. Invite your friends; this event is a great opportunity to share The HALO Learning Center with others!

Friday, October 21, 2011

One week and a successful BBQ later...

Saturday proved to be the most perfect weather for a field trip to City Market. Fifteen reStart Family Shelter youth, five HALO Center volunteers, two reStart employees and one reStart mother divided into three groups: Fruits, Peppers, Onions and Celery, Seasoning and Pita. Everyone loaded into two vans and headed toward the market. It took only about 10 minutes for all teams to search and find the best looking and most inexpensive produce. The rest of the afternoon was left for exploring all that is City Market. Youth listened to musicians playing their original music, bounced around inside a Jumping Castle, enjoyed delicious popcorn, gazed at beautiful locally grown flowers, and were amazed as they stood on the back of a young man who used mind over matter to lay his entire body on top of broken glass. After jumping back into the van, I heard the reStart mother who attended as a chaperon say she planned to come back more often to take advantage of the great offering of produce, at a great price.

Monday’s weather wasn’t as cooperative, but thanks to helpful reStart employees and HALO Center volunteers, our BBQ easily transitioned from a ‘grill out’ to a ‘grill in’. Youth divided into decorating and preparation groups, and worked away to prepare for the night. When the food was ready, 27 youth and more than 10 parents enjoyed the delicious food that was prepared with love. I heard one mother whisper to her son, “What is hummus again?” Her son, seeming a little disappointed in his mother’s memory, said, “MOM! It’s …” and whispered the recipe in her ear.

Youth from reStart’s Family Shelter live, with their families, in one of two programs: the family emergency homeless shelter or the family transitional living program. The emergency shelter has 10 housing units and families live there for 21 days - with the immediate goal of finding more permanent housing. The transitional living program offers 40 units; families can live in this program for up to two years. reStart provides its families with housing and employment groups focusing on financial planning and budgeting, life skills and parenting classes, therapy, school uniforms and other needed clothing, hygiene and school supplies, weekly access to a dependable health clinic, paid prescriptions and eye wear. The HALO Center is so proud to partner with reStart’s Family Shelters to help provide art therapy, self-expressive and creative opportunities for youth to explore themselves, express how they feel and engage in their own development.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A child's menu from the farmer's market...

This weekend is filled with excitement for HALO Center Volunteers and youth living in reStart’s Family Shelter as they get ready to celebrate four weeks of hard work and preparation. In the middle of September, The HALO Center’s dedicated Monday night volunteers (Evan Linville, Magie Hogan, Rachel McNally, Lindsey Ray, and Meredith McGrade) and reStart’s youth began an exciting expedition with food.

Together, the youth and volunteers learned about healthy eating by collaging healthy foods in proper proportions onto paper plates, busting myths about fast food, trying exotic fruits, and creating their own recipe for hummus:

"And though they were skeptical at first, almost everybody loved it. It turned out creamy and flavorful! We had 6 stations set up: lemon juicers, fresh herb cutters (jalapenos, chives, basil and rosemary from my garden), garlic peelers/cutters (the younger kids did a great job pealing, they could work so fast with their tiny hands), and 3 blending stations where they measured the liquids and spices and blended it together. Once it was finished, everyone got to try it with pita chips. The rest was saved for the BBQ!

One cute thing from Hummus night was that a couple of the kids took pita chips dipped in hummus to their parents at the end of the night. They dipped the chip and held onto it until we got into the lobby to meet the parents. They were proud of how it turned out and thought their parents would like it!" - Magie

Youth have created their own recipes, listed out ingredients needed and are bursting with enthusiasm  for this Saturday’s field trip to City Market. They will experience the local food scene for the first time, as well as buy the fruits and veggies needed for Monday’s BBQ.

On Monday, youth will get together an hour and a half before dinner time to prepare these dishes on their special menu:

Parents and family members are invited to arrive at dinner time where they will enjoy the healthy meal designed, bought and prepared entirely by their children.

You can get involved with this special weekend, too! A few more adult chaperons are needed to assist in Saturday’s field trip. If you are interested, please email

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Apprenticeship Program begins in three days!

In August, we blogged  that our Apprenticeship Program was in the planning phase.  Just a few weeks later, thanks to a lot of hard work by a number of HALO volunteers, we are ready to get the first round of apprentices to work!  On Monday, October 10th, the pilot program begins, with two girls and one boy, all aged 17-18, excited to become apprentices.

The youth have been paired up with local businesses based upon their skills and interests.  They will serve as an Apprentice for three months as part of the inaugural run of the program, although subsequent runs will probably last between 6 - 12 months, depending upon the business.  During their three months, the youth will gain experience and make professional contacts necessary for success in a competitive work force.  Throughout the three months, the apprentices will be mentored by a HALO volunteer who will check in weekly and serve as a liaison between the Apprentice and the business.  The mentor will be there to answer questions, offer advice, and provide a shoulder to lean on as the Apprentices learn to navigate the working world.

Before the youth get into the workplace, they will go through a three week Orientation period at the HALO Learning Center, with workshops held two evenings per week..  The youth will get a crash course in basic professionalism, they will create a resume, and they will go through mock interviews to prepare for their apprenticeships.  The Learning Center is going to provide interview attire and clothing appropriate for their jobs, so the youth and their mentors will also go on a shopping trip together.

The Apprenticeship Program is an exciting opportunity for the HALO Learning Center, area youth, and the Kansas City community to work together for the common goal of improving Kansas City and the lives of its citizens.  If you want to become involved with round two of the Apprenticeship Program as a mentor, or if you would like to host an apprentice at your business, please contact