Meleah Spencer October 2018

Meleah Spencer



Myra Halstead

Office Coordinator


Ning Graham

Accounting Clerk


Kippie Kutz

Director of Development


Ellen Herbig

Community Development


Theresa Oglesby

Director of Programs


Jeff Rens

Director of Properties

Kasandra website

Kasandra Thomas

Director Human Resources


Stacy Harshberger

Director of Accounting

Four Positive Effects Of Donating

Four Positive Effects of Donating

According to a report done by Atlas of Giving, after a large year of donations in 2014, the outlook for 2019 is majorly decreasing. In fact, the amounts of donations nationwide are likely to decrease by 3.2%. Although there are many different reasons this could be happening, some possibilities include rising interest rates, decline in employment compensation, and unawareness. In today’s blog you will learn four positive effects of donating and giving to charity. Help Others in Need        Although it seems simple, there will never be a perfect time to give. In our mind we must remember there are always people out there in major need of help. Whether the economy is in the toilet, or you yourself are suffering with financial troubles of your own, the reality of things is when you donate items and money; you are helping those who need it. Experience More Pleasure According to the National Institutes of Health, people chose to donate a small portion of money to a cause in need. They later found that they were provided with enjoyment and activated pleasure centers in their brain. Although this was a scientific experiment, it showed that simply donating money makes you feel good; this is something to benefit from. Bring More Meaning to others When you donate objects or money to charity, you are creating a wave of leadership. You create opportunities to meet new people, who believe in what you are doing, and in the end you are inspiring. If you’ve ever been in a bad place emotionally, whether it be personally or professionally, sometimes the simple act of donating to charity can be just the inspiration you need. Realize that Every Little Bit Helps Whether you donate 50 cents or $10,000, you are going to make a difference in someone’s life.…

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One In Ten People Experiencing Homelessness Is A Veteran.

One in Ten People Experiencing Homelessness is a Veteran.

What is Home at Last? Home at Last is a program of The Kitchen Inc. that works to end Veteran homelessness in our community. Home at Last is funded by the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grant from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Who We Serve Home at Last serves very low-income Veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We serve families in Greene, Christian, and Webster counties. More information about specific requirements can be found on our webpage or by contacting the office at (417) 225-7410. What We Do The focus of the program is housing stabilization. Home at Last provides individualized supports to help Veteran families rapidly secure and maintain permanent housing, which may include: Outreach to connect eligible Veterans with the programCase managementReferrals for other servicesAssistance in obtaining mainstream and VA benefitsRent assistanceUtility assistanceHousehold items We work with landlords to find housing options that are safe, affordable, and desirable to our clients. Partnering with landlords allows us to house Veterans who may have significant barriers to finding permanent housing on their own.Veterans exit the program when their housing crisis has been resolved and they are stably housed. Veterans are typically in the program for six to nine months. Ways to Help Your donations allow us to end homelessness for more people in our community. DONATE

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There Is No One True Face Of Youth Homelessness…

There is no One True Face of Youth Homelessness…

Michael was adopted internationally at age three along with his sister. Once in the United States, there was a clear divide between the attention his sister received and what he received from his family. Michael was severely abused by his mother and given age-inappropriate house chores, while his sister was spoiled and well cared for. As a preteen, Michael was sent from New York to a religious boarding school here in Missouri, while his sister remained in the home. When he turned 18, he asked his parents if he could come home to New York. Not only was he told “no, he could not come home”, he was given the option of receiving family assistance at an even greater distance of Arizona. Michael ended up angry and homeless, feeling rejected by a family that chose him and then abandoned him.   Finding Rare Breed Michael came to Rare Breed in 2013. He was 18 and had no vital records, no proof that he was a United States citizen, and no home. Adoption records and documents that should be submitted before a child turns 18 were not completed by his parents, and there was little hope that he could prove his citizenship on his own. On multiple occasions during Michael’s time with Rare Breed, Staff had to discourage him from job-seeking out of concern that he may be deported. He could not sign a lease if he could not prove his own identity. This young man needed help. He faced an uphill battle with substance abuse, trauma-based anger, and lack of family or community supports; but at Rare Breed, he found help. Motivated to use available services, he diligently worked to accomplish so much in the time he has been with us. In the last seven years, he has completed substance…

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Life As A Case Manager

Life as a Case Manager

Working as a case manager for Rare Breed is rewarding but not always easy.  When we first meet the youth, they are overwhelmed and scared by the circumstances of their lives. Most have been repeatedly told they are worthless and will never amount to anything until they believe the words others have said.  When we meet these youth, they may have mental and physical illnesses related to the repeated trauma they endure.  Medical help is not a priority for our youth, surviving the day is. Some may self-medicate with anything they believe will help them through that painful moment. Our hardest job is to break through the lack of trust life has instilled in our youth. We do that by listening when they talk. We also pay attention to what they say without words. When youth tell us their stories, we do not condemn, chastise, or ridicule anything that has happened to them. That is part of trauma-informed-care that helps our youth begin to heal. We Bring Support and Hope As our youth laugh with us, cry with us, and everything in between, they start to trust again.  Once that barrier breaks, we can provide case management they want and need. When we first meet with a youth, we provide resources such as food, clothing, hygiene care, birth certificates, Ids, and Social Security cards.  After an initial meeting, we provide case management by supporting the youth as they start to have hopes and dreams about what tomorrow might bring. Case managers take those fragile dreams and help the youth make plans for how they will turn them into reality.  Those plans always start with big, excited, energetic steps like “I’m getting a job, a car, a house, then I’ll be a millionaire.” We help the youth break down those initial…

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Rare Breed Youth Services Success!

Rare Breed Youth Services Success!

When I first came to Rare Breed, I tagged along with a friend who was dating a Rare Breed youth. I did not need Rare Breed services, but I quickly found friends, and became a “Breed Kid” myself. My dad would drop me off at Rare Breed and pick me up on his way home from work. Being a rural kid, I did not have much to do during the day, so many of my friendships were from here. I went to every “Life Skills” class and involved myself in every group. Face painting at Neighborhood Night Out, and back-to-school events that Rare Breed took part in, I was there. During those years, the Rare Breed staff were always there for me, helping me learn how to ask for help, how to help others without hurting myself, and how to give back to other youth through peer support. My Husband, Colton Hughes Colton needed the "Breed" more than I did. During that time, he was housed through The Kitchen, Inc.’s Transitional Living program. There, Colton was given access to Anger Management and Harm Reduction classes, as well as Narcotics Anonymous. He says that he learned his street etiquette from his peers. He states, “It doesn’t matter if you know how to be safe if you overdose alone…it takes a tribe to stay safe.” Even now, some friends are doing well, but some are gone. They always told us the statistics of who would make it out. Colton has now been 6 years sober. Colton and I work well as a couple! We sat through many relationship groups with other broken kids trying to figure out how to make life work. Both of us quote helpful information from Rare Breed to each other, creating accountability between us because we were both…

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Happy Birthday Rare Breed

Happy Birthday Rare Breed

By Kathy Westmoreland - Youth Services Coordinator It is strange to sit in Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center during COVID 19 guidelines as the building is never this quiet. Youth are still coming in and receiving services, but our buzz is a little bit quieter these days. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on all the shifts, challenges, and wins that this program has seen over the course of twenty years. Countless youth have walked through our doors seeking assistance and they have all brought their own story. The one thing that I can say I have learned in my time here is that there is no one true face of youth homelessness, no one story that brings them here, but support can make all of the difference in their outcome. Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center has been blessed over the last twenty years with incredible support from our community, donors, and volunteers. From hot meals to art classes, the volume of care and compassion provided to our youth by the local community could never be measured, but the outcomes have been incredible. We could not do the work that we do without your help. Thank you. The Meaning Behind “Rare Breed’ I have been told that, when Rare Breed began, the youth chose the name because they are exactly that: a Rare Breed of individuals. They are often misunderstood, but so eager to define themselves and overcome old labels. Give them a few moments, and they will tell you exactly who they are. They have an incredible ability to speak their story from a place of compassion and understanding. For twenty years now, Rare Breed Staff have been offering these youth assistance in any way possible, even if all we do is sit and listen. Alumni…

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The Kitchen, Inc.’s Home at Last program is still housing Veterans!

Springfield, MO – The Kitchen, Inc.’s Home at Last program is still housing Veterans! In the months of March and April, Home at Last has housed 26 people, 35% under the age of 18. As a community, we understand and appreciate the importance of helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19, while providing a home. “During this COVID-19 crisis, Home at Last has been working hard to help Veterans who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless” said case manager Patrick Haenni. “Our goal is to help Veterans in an at-risk situation to maintain stable housing. We assist Veterans off the street and place them in a temporary motel. From there, the Veterans are placed into a more permanent residence.”  Required eligibility is determined by an assessment with The Kitchen, Inc’s Home at Last team. If a client has received assistance within the last two years, they may still be able to receive services due to COVID-19. The Veteran must have an income below 50% of the average median income to qualify (AMI). The Kitchen, Inc. brings stability and purpose to people who are homeless by displaying respect, dignity, quality, service, and compassion. Keep up with The Kitchen, Inc. by following us on social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. ###

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