Impact Statement 2012

Download the 2012 Impact statement here.

  PACES benefits kids with Exchange / Visitation Program

PACES is collaborating with the Wyandotte County District Court to provide a neutral, safe site for supervised visits involving families going through the courts due to divorce or custody cases. The Exchange and Visitation Program provides a place where a parent can leave the child for a supervised visit with the other parent. PACES also offers safe exchanges between residential and non-residential parents so kids can have safe visits with their parents. Kari Anson is the PACES coordinator of the program.

The District Court makes referrals to this program. The first step in the process is for Kari to conduct assessments of parents and the children. She takes photos of the kids for identity and security purposes. Next, Kari arranges the supervised visits at which she or another PACES staff member will be present. She provides updates to the court on the visits.

The purpose of the visitation is to satisfy the court that a parent can be appropriate in interactions with his/her child. The goal is an amiable resolution of the situation and closure of the court case. If this is not achieved, a parent may be prevented from seeing the child in the future.

PACES was selected from a number of organizations interested in coordinating this program and offering space for the visitations. The District Court has instituted a fee structure for parents to help offset expenses of the program.

  Leadership program builds self-esteem

Not every teenager gets to plan his or her own graduation. But the six teens who graduated from PACES' Teen Leadership program this spring did just that.

They created the menu (spaghetti with salad). They created the title of the event ("Rockin' Leaders of Today"). They even set forth a color scheme (red and black).

With friends and family looking on, the teens sat at a table in the 47th Street building's cafeteria and listened as the staff who led the leadership program praised their progress.

"Working with you guys has been an awesome privilege," said Joyce Adams, a PACES service manager. "You are special. You have talents and abilities that are unique to you, and it's up to you to decide how to use them."

The teens returned the compliment. One of them, Shakita, began the program as a shy girl afraid to use her voice and completed it with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. She spoke bravely, and tearfully, of how the program had helped her self-esteem.

"I thought I would never make it to the point where I would love myself," Shakita said. "I know in my heart that I'm going to make it to the end of the road."

The March 31 graduation marked the culmination of a nine-month program designed to give teens in PACES programs a chance to explore who they are, what they want to be and how they can become that person.

The program, being staged again this summer, is structured around five "modules" or topics: education, careers, communication, personal finances and healthy relationships. This year's graduates met nearly every Wednesday afternoon for five hours while a facilitator led them in one of the modules.

It's especially important for PACES teens to have an environment where they can learn the lessons of making the transition from adolescence to adulthood, said Jaresa Ross-Bey, psychosocial service coordinator. Jaresa created the pilot program last year with Joyce, Sharon Freelon, a case management service coordinator, and case manager Lynee Glover. Also contributing: community liaison Tina Richardson, case manager Elicia Harrison and Sashe Robinson, a member of the psychosocial staff. All the teens who participated in the program had received case management through PACES. Some had experienced a trauma in their lives.

Jaresa said that such traumas can prevent a teen from discovering his or her "authentic" self. Although the program emphasizes practical living skills, its goals are more dynamic than simply teaching the teens how, for example, to conduct an interview. They're about teaching teens to identify their strengths, celebrate them and put them to use to enrich their lives.

And some of those strengths might be, simply, the ability to reach out and show that you care. As Jaresa told one of the grads: "You have enough love to circle the world."

  Significant growth in youth services

In his 17 years with Wyandot Center, Randy Callstrom has helped direct the significant growth of services for kids and their families. As the newly named vice president/executive director of PACES, Randy now has an even more focused role in strengthening programs, building a dedicated Board of Directors and developing a continuum of care.

Randy has seen PACES (formerly called Community Based Services) grow from four case managers to 100. He has participated in the transition from a kids' outpatient program to intensive community-based services to address emotional and behavioral health concerns of children and adolescents. Under his leadership, PACES has expanded its array of services beyond traditional mental health to include respite care, the Exchange and Visitation Center, and the emergency shelter.

And Randy is convinced that there are many more opportunities to address the diverse needs of kids and families—ranging from providing nutritious food to primary care to best practice behavioral health services. High on Randy's list is the commitment to continue to strengthen quality and the clinical dimensions of care. "We will increasingly emphasize the need for our work to be purposeful and intentional, as we use evidence-based models that have proven effective."