Monday, December 1, 2014

The Good Samaritan Boys Ranch

Just 14 miles north of Springfield on Highway K (old Highway13) in Brighton, nestled within 180 acres of wooded and pasture land is The Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. It was founded in 1959 by Reverend Bob Johnson of Seminole Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. They have a mission to provide hope for those who have not had hope and to provide a safe and caring home for boys who have come from broken or non-existent homes.

The ranch is comprised of an administration building, on-grounds schooling, a multi-purpose gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, indoor and outdoor horseback riding arenas, a chapel and seven resident dormitories, including four safe and secure units designed to care for children with more serious emotional and behavioral needs. All of the boys are supervised 24-hours a day by their youth care staff that are trained in crisis prevention. They have a recreation therapist who works with the boys to develop team spirit, fair play, self-confidence and an ability to trust others once more. Their trademark, the horsemanship program, is where the boys develop self-confidence through riding and handling the daily chores of tending over thirty horses. Licensed residential therapists conduct individual and family therapy to aid the child and family towards reunification. They have a transitional living program in Springfield that allows young men the opportunity to further their education and learn necessary life-skills to help them later in life.

The Good Samaritan Boys Ranch strives to help boys who have been abused and neglected to become responsible, productive young adults. It is their belief that such dedication will benefit society in the area as a whole by preventing the recycling of child abuse from generation to generation, as well as end the chain of problematic behavior, and is an investment in the future.

Teachers from the Pleasant Hope School District make up the staff of the Boys Ranch. They are all trained in teaching children who are learning disabled and behavior disordered. Most of the boys newly arriving at the Ranch need this extra attention because of the environment in which they come from. Once their learning is at a sufficient level and they are able to interact with other children, they are mainstreamed into public school at Pleasant Hope High School.

Boys come to us from all over the State of Missouri and can be placed by state agencies.  The Good Samaritan Boys Ranch is licensed by the Missouri Division of Family Services and the Missouri Division of Youth Services as a Child Care Facility. They are also accredited with the Council on Accreditation.

Learn more at The Good Samaritan Boys Ranch website. Here the complete interview.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Rare Breed

The Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center is sponsored by The Kitchen, Inc.  to help keep kids safe and off the streets of Springfield, MO.  It is a free and confidential service center for youth ages 13 through 20 years old. They have been serving homeless, high risk and disconnected young people since June of 2000.

The center's primary goals include connecting with local homeless, runaway, and street youth as well as to establish trust over time through relationship building, while determining their needs. The Rare Breed aims to provide services that meet the self-identified needs of over 700 youth per year and help them leave the streets, reduce exploitation and abuse.
They are able to do this through their Street Outreach Drop-In Center and Transitional Living Apartment Program.  Through working with them, hundreds of youth have set goals, achieved stability, completed education, become employed and moved forward in their lives. Please visit their website to learn more about their programs and the great youth they serve. Hear the interview here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Caring People

It began with prayer, a vision, and a specific mission statement. In a dream, the Lord gave JoDee a vision of a walled city. There were no gates in or out of the city, and the people inside were listless, milling about with no vision, purpose, or strength. The Lord woke her up one night and told her to start a company with the specific mission statement “to create an awareness of and a desire to meet Jesus.”

JoDee understood that before she could begin the work the Lord had called her for, she had to understand what Single Moms felt.  At the advice of her husband, Peter, she enlisted the help of well known researchers, Kenny and Associates. Their task was to unlock the key to the mindset of Single Moms so they could better be served and loved. What they learned provided the insight needed to form the core beliefs of the Caring People, Single Moms desire unconditional love, acceptance, and friendship.  After several pilot programs in San Jose and Fresno, California the organization sharpened its focus to train Christian women to lead Christ-centered “Care Groups” for Single Moms. Springfield, Missouri birthed the first Care Group.  Caring Women began to really reach and impact Single Moms.

Today, hundreds of women have attended one day workshops in cities throughout the midwest and internationally in El Salvador to launch city chapters and open more Care Groups.   Single Moms and their children are attending these weekly Care Groups led by strong, loving Caring Women in new locations each year.  Over 60 Care Groups meet worldwide and the ministry continues to grow.  Caring Women are  “breaking through the walls” and going out into the world.  We  believe we can’t wait for Single Moms to come to church, but must go to them – must love Single Moms where they are and invite them into safe, loving Care Groups! JoDee’s dream has turned into reality! Learn more at The Caring People website. Listen to the interview.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pregnancy Care Center

The Pregnancy Care Center  is committed to, " Providing health, wellness, and relationship services and education for young people facing an unplanned pregnancy, and presenting healthy relationship education in local schools to equip teens to make positive choices," as their mission statement reads. They provide a number of services including Adoption Education, a Pregnancy Testing Program, and Community Medical Referral.

The  PCC has helped enrich relationships and they have impacted the community in several ways. Among those changes have been a decline in teen pregnancy and since opening in 2000, they have served over 237,500 young people at no cost to the individuals served.  They also visit schools to advocate abstinence education through the Choice Project

Educational, community, and foundation collaborations are what keep PCC thriving. Pregnancy Care Center is one of the fastest growing organizations of its type in the United States. You can help the PCC continue to educate the Ozarks. Volunteer opportunities range from mentorship to administrative tasks. Visit the Volunteer Opportunities page to see the list. Call 417-877-0800 to speak with someone at PCC or email and set up an appointment today!

Hear the interview

Special thanks to Dr. Stamps for supporting this months Springfield Difference Maker.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Haley's Hope

"Haley Stevens, a brave and beautiful sister, daughter, and friend was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) days before her 16th birthday. She very bravely battled this awful disease for over a year, and was taken from this life for a better one without pain and suffering. Haley was a courageous little girl whose smile is missed every single day. Please take a moment to remember Haley. The video here shows the sides of Haley that we will treasure forever in our hearts. We love you, Haley!"

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

Haley's Hope has put together several events to help other affected by this traumatic disease. They hope to raise funds to help patients and their family build ramps, buy medical supplies, and more to ease the burden brought on by ALS. If you want to help and learn more visit Haley's Hope today. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Springfield Honor Flight

The Honor Flight Network program was the idea of Earl Morse, a physician assistant and Retired Air Force Captain. He wanted the veterans he had taken care of for the past 27 years to be recognized for their hard work. After retiring from the Air Force in 1998, Earl was hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs to work in a small clinic in Springfield, Ohio. In May of 2004, the World War II Memorial was finally completed and dedicated in Washington, D.C. and quickly became the topic of discussion among his World War II veteran patients.
Earl asked these veterans, repeatedly, if they would ever travel out to visit THEIR memorial. Most felt that eventually they would make it to D.C., perhaps with a family member or friend. They didn't quite know how they would do it, but they wanted to. 
As time went on, these same veterans returned to the clinic for their follow-up visits. Earl asked if they accomplished their dream of visiting the World War II Memorial. At this point, for most of the veterans he asked, reality had settled in; it was clear to most that it simply wasn't financially or physically possible for them to make the journey. Most of these senior heroes were in their 80s, many lacked the physical and mental abilities to complete a trip on their own. Families and friends also lacked the resources and time to complete the three- to four-day trip to the nation’s capital.
January of 2005, Earl addressed about 150 members of the aero club during a safety meeting, outlining a volunteer program to fly veterans to their memorial. There were two major stipulations to his request. The first was that the veterans pay nothing. The entire aircraft rental ($600 to $1200 for the day) would have to be paid solely by the pilots. The second was that the pilots personally escort the veterans around D.C. for the entire day. After Earl spoke, eleven pilots who had never met his patients stepped up to volunteer and the Honor Flight was born.
In the future, Honor Flight Network will also pay tribute to America's other heroes who served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, followed by veterans of more current wars. They, too, have given so much and it's time we show them that their efforts are not forgotten. Honor Flight Network has learned a lot over these last years and one point that stands out is that our veteran heroes aren't asking for recognition. It is our position that they deserve it. Our program is just a small token of our appreciation for those that gave so much.
Please help us continue to make their dream of visiting THEIR memorial, a reality.
HONOR FLIGHT NETWORK — our way of saying to all our veterans — one more TOUR with HONOR.
Learn how to help the Honor Flight Network.
Hear the interview now.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Champions Committed To KIDS

Champions Committed to KIDS believes that a child and an athlete can learn life lessons from one another. This organization was formed with one purpose and that purpose is to take KIDS who are fighting chronic illnesses and give them a chance to feel what it’s like to be part of an athletic team. To know what it means to be a teammate, to have a feeling of fellowship, and a chance to build lifelong friendships.

They hope that kids are inspired, learn to never quit or give up, and are driven by passion.  Additional benefits allow the young athletes to be empowered by being part of a team, to know that they are in the fight together, to have hope, and to share in building character in sports and in life. Most of all these folks want the KIDS to live the life of a CHAMPION!!

Champions Committed to KIDS works with children from the age of 5 years up to 18 years old. KIDS become official teammates of the school they are partnered with and develop a relationship with the athletes and coaches. They give children and their families an opportunity to forget about their illness and all of the medication, doctors visits and therapy they endure and let them focus on something joyful, a feeling of hope.

Learn more at the Champions Committed to KIDS website. Listen to the complete interview

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Safe Kids Springfield

The Springfield Safe Kids Coalition was established in 1989 under the direction of C. Les Reynolds, Founder of the Safety Council of the Ozarks. More than 600 coalitions and chapters in 49 states bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families.Throughout the years, the Coalition has expanded to cover almost 1/2 a million people in Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Laclede, Lawrence, Polk, Stone, Taney, and Webster counties. 
Safe Kids Springfield is a member of Safe Kids USA, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14.
Safe Kids Springfield earned the highest coveted award from Safe Kids Worldwide with the “Coalition of the Year” award at the 2007 Leadership Conference in Washington DC in October 2007. In February 2008, the Safe Kids program changed lead agencies and moved over to St. John’s Health System, under the Trauma Services department. The Coalition’s activities focus on child passenger safety, bike/pedestrian safety, fire prevention, sports safety, water safety and other child injury prevention programs.

The mission of Safe Kids Springfield is reducing accidental injury. Accidental injury is the number one cause of death among children ages 14 and under in the United States. Also, each year one out of every four children needs medical attention for an accidental injury. Unfortunately, many of these injuries and deaths could have been prevented.

Get involved by attending a meeting. Safe Kids Springfield meets at 10am the 3rd Wednesday each month at Mercy Home Health & Hospice Care building, 1570 W. Battlefield, Suite 110, Springfield, MO 65807. Safe Kids also meets regional in outlying counties. For additional information, please call 417-820-6671. More about them when you visit the Safe Kids website. Hear the interview.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks

For over a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. They credit the wonderful volunteers, donors, and advocates for making the program a success. For more than 100 years now, kids get to have their lives impacted in a positive way thanks to BBBS.
It began in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. That marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement. At around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children’s Court. That group would later become Catholic Big Sisters. Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Now, more than 100 years later, Big Brothers Big Sisters remains true to our founders’ vision of bringing caring role models into the lives of children. And, today, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states—and in 12 countries around the world. Learn how you can get involved at the BBBS website today.

Here's their complete interview with 88.3 The Wind.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Camp Barnabas


Camp Barnabas is a Christian summer camp dedicated to providing summer camp experiences to people with special needs, physical or intellectual challenges, and their siblings from throughout the United States. They uphold the values and principles taught by Jesus Christ and aim to fulfill the Great Commission in the work they do. Because they respect the diversity of religious beliefs and allow all in need to receive their services, all teachings are purposed toward basic Biblical principles with no denominational emphasis.

The mission at Barnabas is to show others the love of Christ in every aspect of their ministry. Their ministry is not only in changing the lives of those with special needs and chronic illnesses, but also in changing the lives of all who come in contact with Barnabas: campers, volunteers, parents, staff and donors. They want to show their campers that they can live a life of ability and they were beautifully, wonderfully and perfectly created with a purpose.

They hope that both volunteers and staff are challenged by the growth and strengthening of their faith as they set aside their own needs for three months while serving our campers, parents, volunteers and fellow staff. The experiences gained from Camp Barnabas go beyond a week at summer camp. These experiences change perspectives, redefine disability and become life-changing. Learn more of the Camp Barnabas story. 

Listen to the interview. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Arc Of The Ozarks

The Mission at The Arc of the Ozarks is to support individuals with disabilities in directing their own lives as valued members of the community. They were estabilished as a not-for-profit organization in 1964.  At that time the goal was a pre-school program for children with mental retardation. The association was also involved with the first State School for the developmentally disabled individuals in Missouri, which is now Greene Valley State School for the Severely Handicapped.
The Arc was instrumental in obtaining a Regional Diagnostic Center for Southwest Missouri, now known as the Springfield Regional Center, a part of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, which provides and procures services for individuals with disabilities in any area of their lives.
Thanks to this hardworking group of volunteers, significant changes arose in the community's attitudes toward individuals with developmental disabilities and their needs.  They provided community-wide public information forums for parent and sibling support groups each month, and helped with the passage of Senate Bill 40 in Missouri, an advanced and innovative program allowing Greene County to provide assistance for group homes and workshops.
The Arc now provides a vast array of services ranging from residential, employment, community integration, day programming and recreation services. Today this agency is serving 700 individuals in 21 Southwest Missouri counties, it is positioned to support the next generation.

Listen to the interview now

Friday, January 3, 2014

Lost and Found Grief Center

The Lost & Found Grief Center provides grief support to individuals and families from Springfield and the surrounding counties. They work with the bereaved to give education and support as they travel their journey of grief to find peace, hope, and a new normal as they face life without their deceased loved one. The center was founded by Dr. Karen Scott & Shawn Askinosie (former attorney turned chocolatier). Shawn experienced the death of his dad as a teen ager and struggled into adult hood with unresolved grief. Dr. Scott had worked as a counselor for a number of years and specialized in work with terminally ill teens. Their vision for creating a center where the needs of grieving families could have their needs met became a reality in 2001.

The original groups were held at Shawn’s law office. As the organization grew and Shawn changed careers, a large donation was made to make a down payment on a new facility by Chuck and Ginger Foster. The facility that the Lost & Found Grief Center now calls home is named the Conor House, in honor of Chuck & Ginger’s son that passed away at the age of 4. The house is a beautiful legacy for his short life. Today, their grief center serves over 180 individuals in any given month and continues to grow.

Their Mission:
"Lost & Found Grief Center provides grief support services, at no charge, in a safe and supportive environment for children, young adults, and their families grieving the death of a loved one."

Their Beliefs:
"At Lost & Found Grief Center, we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment. Our society often fails to understand or support the needs of those in grief."