Ana Reyes, Staffing Manager of our Kansas City branch, spent one of her volunteer days at the Community Services League. Please read below of what they do for the community and why she holds this organization so close to her heart.
Let me tell you about CSL…
In 1916, a women’s Bible study group in Independence, which happened to include future First Lady of the United States Bess Wallace Truman, was inspired by the verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Like so many founders of not-for-profit organizations across the country, they saw a need and stepped up to fill it.
It’s not much different today. To help people keep warm, the agency used to provide coal. Today, it provides utility assistance. To protect children, it used to place children in foster homes and adoptions. Today, it helps parents feed, clothe and provide their children with school supplies and other necessities. It used to help people help themselves by finding work for them on farms and in factories. Today, it shows them how to write résumés, research job openings, prepare for interviews and be successful with jobs in hospitality, health care and other industries.
By 1963, the agency operated eight offices in Eastern Jackson County and in 1976 changed its name to Community Services League to reflect its mission focus on self-sufficiency
CSL was and is an agency created by and for the citizens of Eastern Jackson County. Covering an area of some 400 square miles served by seven satellite offices, CSL helped more than 60,000 individuals in 2017 obtain life-sustaining resources and become more self-sufficient.
CSL provides many integrated services. They offer income support programs which seek to improve the household income by connecting people to public and private support programs. Employment service programs which increase household income by improving people’s short and long term employment situations. Housing counseling programs which assist the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. Financial coaching programs pair people with a one-on-one financial coach to help set goals and achieve them. They also offer eligibility and resources, and resources for seniors.
Now that you know a little about CSL, let me tell you why I chose them. In order to do so I would like to tell you a story.
This story starts with a young lady and her 3 children. She had been through a lot in her life, you could say. As a young child she was rejected by her mother and spent several years being passed around, living in and out of group homes until finally at the age of 15 she was adjudicated and lived on her own. Despite this, she graduated high school and went on to a year of college. Later in life she endured many obstacles including cancer and was in a very abusive relationship for many years. She escaped the abuse with her 3 children. She began to rebuild her life. Then 10 years later she had some troubles. In 2015 her house was in a flood and she and her children were left with no place to go and nothing but the clothing on their backs. She loaded her children into her vehicle and went to Independence, Mo looking for help. With less than $900 she lived for a few weeks in motels. Then her money ran out. With no family and no one to help her, they lived in her suburban for 11 days. She had remembered what someone had told her. They said go to CSL. On July 5th, 2015 she walked into the Noland Rd office where she encountered Deborah at the desk. When Deborah asked what they could help her with, her response was “dude I don’t know”. Deborah then asked her to fill out a paper and when she did, she was not able to put an address down. Deborah asked her what her address was. This young lady was mortified to answer that question. She said we live in my suburban. At that point Deborah yelled at a lady named Amber. Amber had this young lady come into her office. Amber made some phone calls. While she was on the phone, they took this young lady back and she was able to get some clothing for herself and her children. CSL provided her with food and even fed her children as they sat there. They went back to Amber’s office and was told that they had a room waiting for them down the street at the Salvation Army. Since then, CSL has provided this family with school supplies, Christmas presents, dental care, medical assistance, food, clothing, and many other much needed resources. More importantly CSL has provided this family with support. They stood in the gap when this family needed them to. They have never judged this young lady for any of the decisions she has made, good or bad.
CSL provides families with the help their needing in housing, food, medical, clothing employment, and provided resources. They are not-for-profit organization that serves Eastern Jackson county. Volunteers and donations is why CSL works.
Today I was able to help fill food pantry orders. I hung up clothing in the clothes closet. I helped individuals job search and submit resumes online. I answered a lot of questions about what LGC does.
For me, it is easy to pick CSL. I not only am a board member but I was once a client. I am the young lady in the story.