Wednesday, November 18, 2015

HALO Holiday Wish List!

The HALO Learning Center - Kansas City is gearing up for the annual HALO Holiday Party on Dec. 16th! The Holiday Party is always a fun time for HALO staff, volunteers, and youth to get together and make holiday crafts, decorate the HALO tree, and maybe eat a christmas cookie or two.


The HALO Learning Center also gives each youth a gift to open at the party, to really get them in the holiday spirit. This gift usually consists of items that the youth really need, such as hygiene products, socks, or cold weather gear, like mittens and hats. There's usually always a fun item as a gift, too, like nail polish or ear buds.

This year, HALO would like to continue the tradition of gift-giving at the Holiday Party, and we can use your help! If your family, school, or group would like to help purchase or host a drive for the youth's gift items, please contact the HALO Learning Center Director, Carly Manijak, at 816-590-4493 or at . Interested individuals could gather or host a drive for the following items to be given to HALO youth:
  • Cold weather accessories (hats, gloves, scarfs) - adult sizes or one-size-fits-all, please 
  • Socks - adult sizes, please (socks can be rolled, and youth can grow into them and keep them for longer periods of time) 
  • Toothpaste
  • Body wash (men's and women's scents)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Deodorant (men's and women's) 
  • Wal-Mart or fast food gift cards
  • Gum
If there is another item or gift that you would like to collect and give to HALO youth, feel free to mention it when calling! 

The HALO Learning Center is excited for another festive season, and for another opportunity to make a difference in the lives of homeless and at-risk youth. Join us in making the holidays merry and bright for HALO youth! 
To learn more about HALO and how you can help empower youth in the greatest need, go to our website or like us on Facebook


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

HALO Learning Center "Dream Journals" Class Used as Art Credit for Area Alternative High School

The HALO Learning Center - KC is excited to have a new partnering organization and a new opportunity in working with Fairfax Alternative High School of Kansas City, KS! 

Students at the alternative high school can choose to work towards completing their art credit requirements by coming to the HALO Learning Center. The "Dream Journals" art class offers future-focused, therapeutic lesson plans while trying out a different art medium each week. 

This past week, the youth learned about and experimented with watercolors while making their "'I Am' Fingerprints" project! After discussing the three main types of fingerprints, students looked at their fingers to see which type they had the most of. From there, the youth used watercolors and pencil to create the outline of their own fingerprint. Then, on the lines of their fingerprint, youth wrote all about themselves, beginning the sentences with "I am…". Students were informed to focus on and write about the positives of "I am…" (dreams, talents, personalities, relationships) instead of what they are not (past mistakes, negative things that others say about them, stereotypes). This was a great introspective exercise for the youth, and they had to learn about all the ways to manipulate watercolors! Check out the gorgeous finished products below: 

Both of these youth have "whirl" type fingerprints, and love the color blue! 

Very colorful prints, and very careful planning. 

Almost finished!

A very creative spin on the project. 

Why stop with just fingerprints when you can print your whole hand? 

A youth writing out her "I am…" carefully.

Just getting started with this fingerprint - what great color! 

This youth included some great future-focused goals on his "I am…" lines. 

For more about HALO Learning Center programming, like us on Facebook or visit our website to learn more about how you can empower a youth in need. Check back in next week for more updates and photos from HALO-KC! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Professional Development is Back!

The HALO Learning Center - Kansas City has been so excited to have another semester of its Professional Development course in full swing this fall season. For eight weeks, HALO youth will learn about everything from Workplace Etiquette to Interview Skills, all with the help of community professionals as teachers.

This past week, HALO was fortunate enough to have Bluescope Steel, Inc. as our guest instructors! Bluescope even invited the Professional Development students over to their offices for a tour and a change of scenery for the class. Some of the topics the youth learned about were professional communication, conflict resolution in the workplace, and social media professionalism.

HALO-KC cannot thank our friends over at Bluescope enough for this amazing learning opportunity for our youth!

To learn more about how YOU can change the life of a child in need, go to our website, and like us on Facebook for more fun updates from the Learning Center!

The agenda for our night of Professional Development at Bluescope, Inc.! 

An HR representative from Bluescope gives HALO youth information on communication in the workplace. 

One of the activities for the night - goal-setting and how to stay focused! 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Fun!

Halloween is here, and HALO is celebrating!
This week, HALO-KC has been getting into the spooky spirit with a few fun Halloween-themed art projects for our youth. In addition, HALO staff and volunteers brought out their Halloween costumes a little early for a fun night of art with the youth.
The youth started with small pumpkins – too small for carving, but perfectly sized for painting and decorating. After this, the youth were able to decorate their own Halloween masks. The youth were excited at the chance to use their creative skills for something so fun, and even more excited to have masks to wear on Halloween! Scroll through the pictures below to take a look at a few of the finished products.
The youth spent the evening focused on their projects, eating candy, and having some fun with HALO’s Halloween attire.
To learn more about how you can help empower youth in the greatest need, like us on Facebook or check out our website here! To help provide some essentials for our Housing Program apartments, check out our Amazon Wish List!
From everyone at HALO, have a safe and happy Halloween!
A lot of work went into this orange and blue work of art!
A spooky, beautiful mask created by a very talented youth.
A cute, SPARKLY creation.
Expertly made and super cute.
Getting in the Royal's spirit!
Work in progress!
Pompoms make this pumpkin cute and fuzzy.
More rootin' for the KC Royals!
A super cute little pumpkin with lots of color.
A HALO staff member in costume to hang out with our youth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

HALO Housing Program Opens in Kansas City!

HALO-KC is excited to announce the opening of the HALO Housing Program here in Kansas City! HALO-KC feels extremely fortunate to be able to now offer transitional housing and case management support to homeless and at-risk youth in the area. Youth that apply and qualify for the HALO Housing Program receive support for about 18 months, and have to follow specific guidelines of the Program in order to ensure that support. HALO staff will be working with these youth on educational, employment, financial, and personal goals in order to help them become self-sustaining, and contributing members of our community.

One of our HALO Housing apartments during move-in. 

To learn more about how you can help empower youth in the greatest need, like us on Facebook or go to our website! To help provide some essentials for our Housing Program apartments, check out our Amazon Wish List !
Check back next week for more updates on the HALO Housing Program and the Learning Center's October lesson plans!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sensory Kits in the Occupational Therapy Workshop!

The HALO Learning Center recently incorporated a class led by two Occupational Therapy students. These students are from Metropolitan Community College, and they are working toward completing their capstone projects. Because of this HALO and our youth have had the opportunity to learn about and apply occupational therapy.
In a recent workshop, the occupational therapy students helped HALO youth make Sensory Kits! Sensory kits are bags that can contain any type of object or material that can help relieve stress or teach someone to self-soothe. Youth were able to decorate their bags, then fill them with small stuffed animals, stress balls, pens with small journals, healthy snacks, and more. One interesting artifact included is called a fidget, a squishy ball that helps with focus.
Youth also made a sensory bag, which can act as a different form of stress ball. The sensory bags were ziplock bags filled with hair gel, glitter, and small beads or buttons with a variety of textures. After the bags are sealed and glued shut, youth can roll them around in their hands to feel the different textures. This is meant to help with focus and calming.
To see the different sensory kits and sensory bags made by HALO youth, scroll through the pictures below!
For more information on how YOU can help improve the quality of life of homeless and at-risk youth, visit us at or like us on Facebook!
Decorating a sensory kit!

A glitter-filled sensory bag next to one youth's sensory kit.

A decorated sensory kit!

Work in progress! Lots going on as these youth create their bags.

One youth works on a hail gel-filled sensory bag.

Other components included in the creating of these kits.

Another completed sensory kit, including a healthy snack!
Glitter for a sensory bag!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Therapeutic Yoga at HALO-KC!

Recently, the HALO Learning Center has been incorporating a class led by two Occupational Therapy students from Metropolitan Community College. These students are working toward completing their capstone project, and this has given HALO and our youth the opportunity to learn about and utilize occupational therapy.
Occupational therapy consists of a variety of components meant to improve an individual’s overall quality of life. It can involve a number of activities, and recently HALO youth were able to participate in yoga and Mindfulness Meditation led by the occupational therapy students. Both of these exercises are relaxing, calming, and can help relieve stress. Scroll through the pictures to see youth trying out some of the yoga poses!
HALO is really excited about the contribution by the occupational therapy students and the opportunities they provide for our youth. For more information on how YOU can help improve the quality of life of homeless and at-risk youth, visit us at or like us on Facebook!
Youth and volunteers warm up with this fairly simple pose.
Warrior II Poses!
Youth and volunteers give the Tree Pose a try.
An Occupational Therapy student works on one youth's form while others hold a Warrior II Pose.
Warrior I Pose in action!
A room filled with focus and serenity.
Youth have the chance to stretch their cores!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Insight and Relaxation - Occupational Therapy Comes to HALO!

The HALO Learning Center has been given the exciting opportunity to have two Occupational Therapy students from Metropolitan Community College complete their capstone project with HALO! Occupational therapy involves a variety of components, but is meant to improve the overall quality of life for the individual.

These two students will be bringing different Occupational Therapy activities to the HALO Learning Center for our youth to try, such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, making aromatherapy eye pillows, make stress relief kits, and more! Scroll through the pictures to see our first night of activities, where youth learned about aromatherapy, sewing eye pillows, and made collages on pizza boxes that represented their outside self and internal self. It was a night full of insight and relaxation!

For more information on how YOU can help improve the quality of life of homeless and at-risk youth, go to or like us on Facebook!

Youth find pictures that represent their inside self and outside self. 

This youth incorporated nature and positive words to her "outside self" collage.

Collaging away!

This youth found pictures of cars for his collage.

Youth also learned to make aromatherapy eye pillows with rice, flax seed, and essential oils! This youth gets ready to sew her eye pillow shut. 

Finishing touches.

Learning to sew! 

Check out next week's post for more about how the youth are discovering mindfulness and meditation!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wrapping Up August!

For the month of August, HALO youth have been learning about and practicing CONFIDENCE – an extremely important life skill!
At the beginning of the month, HALO youth had a blast with building their confidence during the 5th Annual Youth Fashion Show. Since then, throughout the month of August, youth have continued to work on their self-esteem in various art workshops through a variety of projects. They have also learned about the importance of inspiring confidence in others, and have had opportunities to practice doing this as well.
One art project provided an opportunity to practice building up one another’s confidence, through the making and sharing of Confidence Cards! Each youth was given colorful paper and all manners of brightly colored paints, markers, and glitter. The instructions were simple – make and decorate a card for each person in the room, and write things that will help to build or inspire confidence. Scroll through the pictures below to see what a few had to say. HALO youth enjoyed receiving kind words and the opportunity to make others happy, and HALO staff enjoyed seeing the positive effects and boosts in confidence!
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – E.E. Cummings
“For every dark, there is a brighter day.”
“You are loved, worth it, and unique. You are you.”
One youth has utilized a very effective attention-grabber for this card.
Simple, but reassuring: “Life is good.”
True words that are sure to inspire confidence; “You are awesome.”