Youth Ambassadors
7309 High Drive
Prairie Village KS 66208
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (913) 722-5504
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. Paige O'Connor
Board Chair Ms. Tiffany Lynch
Board Chair Company Affiliation The Forest Foundation
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2012
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 serve approximately 300 underserved, teenage youth a year through two year-round sites in Kansas City, Missouri and one summer site in Kansas City, Kansas.
Impact Statement
In 2017 we empowered over 200 teenagers with soft job and life skills needed to be productive community members.  This year we strengthened our leadership program with two advanced life-skills curriculums based on best practices, concentrating on powerful lessons on personal change and resiliency. Under the umbrella of trauma informed care, our Ambassadors are taught how to recognize impediments to academic and personal success, current realities, anger management, crisis resolution, healthy relationships, self-respect and appropriate boundaries. Vital communication and cooperation skills are emphasized and we teach our students how to utilize community assets. With great success we continue to implement two year round programs in Kansas City, Missouri and a summer program in Kansas City, Kansas.  
  • 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 within our “site” communities. Currently our summer and year round programming in Missouri is held in DeLaSalle Education Center and the Mary L. Kelly Community Center run by the Upper Room.  These are exciting partnerships that closely connect us with our education system, and positions Youth Ambassadors in close relation to students during non-school hours when they are most at risk from negative influences.   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 is $20,000.  This includes all teacher salaries, student stipends, supplies, and programming costs.
  • Adopt an Ambassador – Individual Ambassadors can be adopted and given the opportunity to participate in our summer or year-round program program. Sponsorship per youth is $500 for a summer session and $1300 for the year. 
  • Technology Needed - Art supplies, office supplies, Lap top computers, memory cards, and digital cameras for digital documentary and photography classes.
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
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.  One of our most exciting outcomes from our 2014-15 academic year program is that 96% of our students of age to be employed in the community were hired in jobs outside of Youth Ambassadors. Our youth are becoming 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, individualized tutoring, 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. And they showcase life as a teenager and their surrounding neighborhoods through self-produced documentaries and books. Our teens build on their knowledge of what happens on the streets and learn how they can stand for positive change. They learn their voice counts. Our program is also designed to provide a “first job” experience. Through receipt of a paycheck our youth learn banking skills and fiscal responsibility, work place parameters, and personal accountability.
Category Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), ,
Short-Term Success

All of our Ambassadors will 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 video development and photography they explore important community issues, through art they explore personal feelings and through vital journal writings they learn to use their voices. Every Ambassador has access to a weekly academic tutor and counselor outside of their school environment. Each Ambassador writes, uses technology, and practices public speaking daily - hence reducing the inevitable academic slide during non-school hours.

Long-Term Success

Ultimately we would like our youth of Missouri to be equipped with the 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. Youth Ambassadors works to enhance our Ambassadors' self-worth and increase their self-efficacy in their academic and psycho-social arenas. We are in the beginning stages of tracking school grades, school attendance rates, graduation rates and secondary education and/or employment rates, all of which, if increased, would be the ultimate result from this program.

Program Success Monitored By Youth Ambassadors tracks weekly attendance in our program, Ambassadors lost to other outside employment, and school attendance, grades and graduation rates as our hard outcomes. We use surveys, the ACE test, our academic counselor notes, and student self-reporting as tools.
Examples of Program Success

In six months since tracking attendance rates 50% of Ambassadors' transcripts show perfect school attendance. We have 90% attendance in our program, 98% of Ambassadors have resumes and have completed mock interviews. All ambassadors have receive financial education which has resulted in 50% of Ambassadors opening new bank accounts with direct deposit. 90% of Ambassadors report feeling better equipped for employment beyond Youth Ambassadors. 100% of Ambassadors write daily, have been exposed to new technology, and have practiced countless hours of public speaking. 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 was tutored every day.

Description

Through educational and creative programming YA provides a comprehensive summer program where students receive instruction in negotiating and navigating the education system, individualized tutoring, 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. And they showcase life as a teenager and their surrounding neighborhoods through self-produced documentaries and books. Our teens build on their knowledge of what happens on the streets and learn how they can stand for positive change. They learn their voice counts. Our program is also designed to provide a “first job” experience. Through receipt of a paycheck our youth learn banking skills and fiscal responsibility, work place parameters, and personal accountability.

Category Education, General/Other Educational Delivery
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years), ,
Short-Term Success

All of our Ambassadors will leave our program empowered with soft job skills necessary to attain and keep their first job 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 video development and photography they explore important community issues, through art they explore personal feelings and through vital journal writings they learn to use their voices. Each Ambassador writes, uses technology, and practices public speaking daily - hence reducing the inevitable academic slide during non-school hours.

Long-Term Success

Ultimately we would like our youth in Kansas to be equipped with the 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. Youth Ambassadors works to enhance our Ambassadors' self-worth and increase their self-efficacy in their academic and psycho-social arenas. We are tracking high school graduation and employment rates.

Program Success Monitored By

Youth Ambassadors tracks weekly attendance in our program, Ambassadors lost to successful outside employment, and high school graduation rates as our hard outcomes. We use surveys, the ACE test, counselor notes, and student self-reporting as tools.

Examples of Program Success We have 90% program attendance, 98% of Ambassadors have resumes and have completed mock interviews. All ambassadors have receive financial literacy education. 90% of Ambassadors report feeling better equipped for employment beyond Youth Ambassadors. 100% of Ambassadors write daily, are exposed to new technology, and practice countless hours of public speaking. Many Ambassadors have sought outside counseling. Over the summer Regina excelled and hid her secret. In writing class Ambassadors learn they have a voice, and with trust, release.  One day Regina referred to herself as "a broken little bird."  When asked to continue she opened up.  She admitted that anger was eating her up, and she was afraid she'd lose control.  For years she witnessed her father horribly abuse her mother. No one knew what she saw. With our help, Regina admitted to her mother what she saw and has started to heal with professional help.
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 next 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. Paige O'Connor
Term Start June 2010
Compensation $0 - $50,000
Experience   
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Senior Staff
Title Director of Development
Title Director of Community Outreach
Title Director of Programs
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 3
Paid Part-Time Staff 19
Volunteers 116
Paid Contractors 0
Retention Rate 100%
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 Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Quarterly
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
Currently YA collaborates with the UMKC Sociology Department for YA curriculum guidance, teacher enrichment and work opportunities for UMKC Masters level students.   We offer Rockhurst University's communication students opportunities to do specialized teaching projects and Avila University uses our documentaries as teaching tools in their teaching methods curriculum.  The Argentine Neighborhood Development Association, the State Street Project, the Upper Room, and DeLaSalle Education Center collaborate with YA to provide programming in their communities. Youth Ambassadors collaborates with the Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City to give our youth volunteer opportunities.  YA has had a valuable partnership with VML.  Together we have published two books.  We have a wonderful relationship with the Jewish Federation of Greater KC and were chosen to sponsor one of their interns with their Leadership Tomorrow program.  We partnered with the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's Resiliency KC initiative and KCPT's ReDream and Take Note initiatives.
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 2019
Email gtlynch@aol.com
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mrs. JoMarie Andrews Community Volunteer
Dr. Cass Butler Regional Director - Midwest, Webster University
Mr. Dan Cosgrove Jeffrey Byrne & Associates, Hiccup Productions
Mr. Brandon Haverty
Ms. Jenni Jones Community Volunteer
Ms. Lisa Krigsten Dentons US LLP
Mr. Peter Long
Mrs. Tiffany Lynch The Forest Foundation
Ms. Susanne Mitko Lee's Summit School District
Mrs. Paige O'Connor Community Volunteer
Mr. Vincente Perez University of Chicago
Ms. Carrie Robinson Alvin H. Hichael Robinson Photography, Robinson Family Foundation
Mr. Irv Robinson
Mrs. Angela Tucker Johnson County Libraries
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Advisory Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mrs. Angela Andresen-Smart Hall Family Foundation
Mrs. Angela Jewel-Tucker Jo. County Library
Mrs. Ellen Murphy TEAM Performance
Mr. Rory O'Connor Grand Construction
Mr. Steve O'Neil The Curry Family Foundation
Mr. Mike Poor The Forest Foundation
Ms. Beth Rush Community Volunteer
Mr. David Sullivan The Forest Foundation
Mrs. Gwen Wurst The Greater Kansas City Community 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, 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2017
Projected Revenue $300,000
Projected Expenses $280,000
Spending Policy Income Only
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • FY 2013: Financial data reported using audited financial statements.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$164,814$71,915$71,073
Administration Expense$21,157$22,949$1,172
Fundraising Expense$6,176$0$1,833
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.071.251.62
Program Expense/Total Expenses86%76%96%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%0%2%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$121,072$72,292$47,374
Current Assets$120,069$71,009$47,374
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,346$1,483$0
Total Net Assets$119,726$70,809$47,374
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities89.2047.88--
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Ewing Kauffman Foundation $40,000Robinson Family Foundation $15,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Hall Family Foundation $10,000H&R Block Foundation $10,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --H&R Block Foundation $10,000Hall Family Foundation $10,000
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Organization Name Youth Ambassadors
Address 7309 High Drive
Prairie Village, KS 66208
Primary Phone (913) 722-5504
Contact Email cpaigeoc@sbcglobal.net
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Paige O'Connor
Board Chair Ms. Tiffany Lynch
Board Chair Company Affiliation The Forest Foundation
Year of Incorporation 2012