Youth Ambassadors
5809 Michigan
Kansas City MO 64130
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 793-3833
Mission Statement

Youth Ambassadors is an educational program designed to empower under-served teenage youth with important life skills, soft job skills, creative expression and adult mentors who will help them become future community leaders willing and able to work for positive change.

Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Teesha C Miller
Board Chair Ms. Tiffany Lynch
Board Chair Company Affiliation The Forest Foundation
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2012
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer Volunteers are always welcome!  Throughout the year volunteers hold mock interviews, participate in career day, and join the youth for various special outings or events. Cash or check donations can be mailed to 5809 Michigan Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64130. Credit card donations can be made through our website.  We are looking for in kind donations of laptops, digital cameras, art supplies, office supplies, printing services, and any special opportunities for our youth.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement

Youth Ambassadors is an educational program designed to empower under-served teenage youth with important life skills, soft job skills, creative expression and adult mentors who will help them become future community leaders willing and able to work for positive change.

Background Statement
  • In 2010,Youth Ambassadors partnered with the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association to start their first site in the Argentine district of Kansas City, Kansas.  In 2010, we enrolled 20 students. 
  • In 2011, we became a bi-state initiative when we opened first site in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Currently, we annually serve approximately 200-300 under-served, Kansas City teenage youth through year-round sites on both sides of the state line.
Impact Statement
In 2018:
  • We empowered over 300 teenagers with soft job and life skills needed to be productive community members.
  • We added a powerful Health component to our curriculum that includes Mental Health First Aid Training, resiliency building and education on how to recognize different types of abuse and community risk / protective factors.
  • Our youth continued their advocacy work, helping to break the cycle of poverty, addiction and violence through a powerful national video campaign and a positive image campaign designed to help change the perception of urban youth.
  • We became funded by United Way, COMBAT, and the Jackson County Children's Services Fund which has diversified our funding sources by receiving city and county tax based grants.
 
Top Goals for 2020:
  • Our top goal is to capacity build, extending our reach in the Kansas City Metropolitan area.
  • Our second goal is to build additional partnerships with existing organizations that will enhance the services offered to our youth. Youth Ambassadors believes the success of any community program lies in its ability to nurture and grow neighborhood alliances. Our program is not here to duplicate existing programs but to compliment and add value to current community building.
  • Our third goal is to continue to provide current, evidence based programming. The majority of our Ambassadors indicate high exposure to childhood trauma and great need for specialized programs.
Needs Statement
  • Site Sponsors Needed - The cost to run one site per summer or academic year session starts at $20,000.  This includes all teacher salaries, student stipends, supplies, and programming costs.
  • Adopt an Ambassador – Individual Ambassadors can be given the opportunity to participate in our summer or year-round program. Sponsorship per youth is $900 for a summer session and $1,300 for the year. 
  • Supplies Needed - Art supplies, office supplies, laptop computers, digital cameras for digital documentary, and tablets are needed for classroom use and evaluation purposes.
Service Categories
Youth Development-Citizenship
Secondary & High Schools
Arts Education
Areas of Service
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
MO - Jackson County
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
Geographic Area Served Narrative Any teenage youth ages 14-18 from the Kansas City Metropolitan area are welcome to participate in Youth Ambassadors.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
As President of the Board and a Co-Founder of Youth Ambassadors, I am energized daily by the awesome challenge of growing this organization so we can impact the lives of more youth. I have a Masters in Teaching and taught for ten years. For the past twenty years, I have been intricately involved in my family foundation, Forest Foundation, serving under-served youth.  This rewarding experience gives me a unique view of how to responsibly allocate the funds of our donors.
 
As an educator, I know the importance of a strong education.  In YA, Ambassadors are taught to view themselves from their strengths that are inherent.  They are taught to view education and knowledge as empowerment tools that can enhance self-worth and increase self-efficacy. I am excited to have the privilege to watch this happen before my own eyes as our youth become productive members of society.

Youth Ambassadors is growing steadily.  We are able to annually open new programs and empower more youth. This success, however, has led to some new challenges. As we grow, we need additional funding for operations and support staff. To address these new challenges, we are finding new ways to creatively fundraise. 
Programs
Description Through educational and creative programming YA provides a comprehensive summer and year-round program where students receive instruction in negotiating and navigating the education system, instruction in life skills, including business etiquette, anger management, crisis resolution, academic and career goal setting, time management, smart choices, healthy relationships, and recognition of impediments to success. They build resiliency through therapeutic art and journal writing. They also showcase life as a teenager and their surrounding neighborhoods through self-produced documentaries and books. Our teens build on their knowledge of what happens in the streets and learn how they can stand for positive change. They learn that their voice counts. Our program is also designed to provide a “first job” experience. Through receipt of a paycheck our youth learn financial literacy, work place parameters, and personal accountability.
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Short-Term Success

All of our Ambassadors leave our program empowered with soft job skills necessary to attain and keep their first job, with stronger education navigating skills, and with exposure to valuable mentors and resources in their communities that can help them succeed at school, in the work place and at home. Our Ambassadors leave with a resume, financial knowledge, and interview practice. During the hours of the day when youth are most at risk our Ambassadors meet and form trusting relationships with mentors in a safe, nurturing environment. Through art they explore personal feelings and through vital journal writings they learn to use their voices. Each Ambassador writes, and practices public speaking daily - hence reducing the inevitable academic slide during non-school hours.

Long-Term Success

Ultimately we would like our youth to be equipped with life and job skills necessary to be productive members of society, to take ownership and pride in their community, and to be positive role models and mentors to the generations that follow. 

Examples of Program Success

Many Ambassadors have sought outside counseling. Danielle, age 15, came with her eyes averted and shoulders slumped. In her first writing she admitted a family member had sexually abused her when she was young, and she hated school because she couldn't read or write. Her family accepted language testing. Danielle tested at the first grade level. We brought in a professional and had Danielle tutored every day.  She now attends the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

CEO Comments
Daily I work with children living right next door in conditions we would rather not think about, rather not see. When we are faced with the reality many of our neighbors confront daily, it is tempting to don our blinders, so we can go about our days in a manner that is comfortable.
 
But children? Kansas City children numb to the violence in their homes and on the streets or children who rely on school lunches for their only daily meal? These amazing, resilient children are our Ambassadors. This summer 200 of our Ambassadors were given the ACEs survey. 100% of our youth report childhood trauma exposure, >30% in the highest category of exposure. This rate we cannot ignore.
 
When someone experiences high rates of trauma in childhood, they often feel “less than” or that they somehow don’t measure up to others. Societal stigmas cause us to bottle up our emotions and not deal with our experiences appropriately. One of the strengths of our Youth Ambassadors’ curriculum, and what sets it apart from other programs, is our "trauma informed" care that provides a platform where our youth trust enough to find their own voice.
 
That is where true healing and change begins. It’s about sharing their truth and finding out that they are not alone in their circumstances. It’s about having compassion for each other, and what’s most difficult, finding compassion for yourself. To me that is how you start to build the resilience necessary to combat the effects of ACE’s. Youth Ambassadors combines building resiliency with the teaching of important life and soft job skills. Through this combination, our children become better equipped to tackle their daily challenges and excel. They find it in them to graduate high school, and either go to college or find sustainable employment.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mrs. Teesha C Miller
Term Start Jan 2019
Experience   
Former CEOs
NameTerm
Mrs. Paige O'ConnorJune 2010 - Jan 2019
Senior Staff
Title Director of Development
Title Director of Community Outreach
Title Director of Programs
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 2
Paid Contractors 8
Volunteers 97
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 16
Caucasian 8
Hispanic/Latino 3
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 24
Male 4
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Collaborations
While we value several partner organizations' involvement with Youth Ambassadors, the following have been vital to our program's success.
 
Youth Ambassadors' partnerships with DeLaSalle Education Center, Hogan Preparatory Academy, KC Girls Preparatory Academy, Rockhurst University and the EC Foundation provide us with programming space during non-school hours.
 
The UMKC Social Work Department provides professional guidance annually with two Master's level practicum students, keeping us up to date on best practices in the field. We have expanded our capacity by adding 3 AmeriCorps VISTAs to our summer staff. We were also chosen by the Jewish Federation of Greater KC to sponsor an intern with their Leadership Tomorrow program.
 
Through our partnership with VMLY&R, we have published 2 books and several advocacy videos, which highlight the trauma that many urban youth have faced.
 
In 2018, Youth Ambassadors became funded by the United Way of Greater KC, Jackson County COMBAT, and the Jackson County Community Children's Services Fund.
 
In addition, we have formal/informal partnerships with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), KCMO Health Department, Literacy KC, Violence Free KC, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, KC Police Department, and multiple community agencies.
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Tiffany Lynch
Company Affiliation The Forest Foundation
Term June 2010 to May 2020
Email gtlynch@aol.com
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mrs. JoMarie AndrewsYouth Ambassadors, Treasurer
Dr. Cass ButlerWebster University, Regional Director - Midwest
Mr. Dan CosgroveGKC Chamber of Commerce, Senior VP/CAO
Mr. Brandon HavertyReCor Properties, Senior Principal
Ms. Jenni JonesYouth Ambassadors, Director of Community Outreach
Ms. Lisa KrigstenDentons US LLP
Mr. Peter LongMCH Strategic Data, Inc., CEO
Mrs. Tiffany LynchThe Forest Foundation President, YA Director of Development
Mrs. Teesha MillerYouth Ambassadors, Executive Director
Mrs. Paige O'ConnorYouth Ambassadors, Co-Founder
Mr. Irv RobinsonRobbie Flexibles, CEO/Co-Founder; Lenexa National Bank, Co-Founder; Leadership Tomorrow Initiative, Founder
Mrs. Angela TuckerJohnson County Public Library
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 7
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 80%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Board Governance
Finance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Advisory Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mr. David Von DrehleThe Washington Post
Mrs. Angela Andresen-SmartHall Family Foundation
Mr. Spencer JonesAtwood & Palmer
Ms. Ellen MillerTEAM Performance
Mr. Rory O'ConnorGrand Construction
Mr. Steve O'NeilThe Curry Family Foundation
Mr. Mike PoorThe Forest Foundation
Ms. Beth RushCommunity Volunteer
Mr. David SullivanThe Forest Foundation
CEO Comments

Daily we work with children living right next door in conditions we would rather not think about, rather not see. When we are faced with the reality many of our neighbors confront daily, it is tempting to don our blinders, so we can go about our days in a manner that is comfortable.

But children? Kansas City children numb to the violence in their homes and on the streets or children who rely on school lunches for their next meal? These amazing, resilient children are our Ambassadors. This summer 175 of our Ambassadors were given the ACEs survey. In the original study of seventeen thousand adult participants 12.5% scored in the highest category. This summer, four times that rate, or 42% of our Ambassadors scored in the highest category. This rate we cannot ignore.

When someone experiences high rates of trauma in childhood, they often feel “less than” or that they somehow don’t measure up to others. Societal stigmas cause us to bottle up our emotions and not deal with our experiences appropriately. One of the strengths of our Youth Ambassadors’ curriculum, and what sets it apart from other programs, is our "trauma informed" care that provides a platform where our youth trust enough to find their own voice.

That is where true healing and change begins. It’s about sharing their truth and finding out that they are not alone in their circumstances. It’s about having compassion for each other, and what’s most difficult, finding compassion for yourself. To me that is how you start to build the resilience necessary to combat the effects of ACE’s. Youth Ambassadors combines building resiliency with the teaching of important life and soft job skills. Through this combination our children become better equipped to tackle their daily challenges and excel.

Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $467,000
Projected Expenses $462,314
Spending Policy Income Only
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$244,235$230,405$164,814
Administration Expense$52,939$20,591$21,157
Fundraising Expense$3,284$2,570$6,176
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.960.941.07
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%91%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$94,975$107,710$121,072
Current Assets$91,108$106,987$120,069
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,279$2,772$1,346
Total Net Assets$93,696$104,938$119,726
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities71.2338.6089.20
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Other Documents
Strategic Plan & Executive Summary and Overview2016View
Organization Name Youth Ambassadors
Address 5809 Michigan
Kansas City, MO 64130
Primary Phone (816) 793-3833
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Teesha C Miller
Board Chair Ms. Tiffany Lynch
Board Chair Company Affiliation The Forest Foundation
Year of Incorporation 2012