Who We Are
Reconciliation Services (RS) emerged in 2005 from a 25-year old inter-faith organization, focused on turning Troost from a dividing line into a gathering place through community building initiatives and caring services. RS provides emergency services, therapeutic services and self-sufficiency services to individuals and families in the Kansas City Metropolitan area living around 31st and Troost ("Troost Village") who otherwise would "fall through the cracks." Reconciliation Services rebuilds community one person at a time by enabling growth, forging connections, and empowering individuals. Go to www.TroostTransformed.org and www.RS3101.org to learn more about our organization.
Thank you Partners!
This project could not be possible without the generous matching gift support of the Community Capital Fund. Every gift you give will be matched dollar for dollar! We are also grateful for the support of Connecting for Good in donating the computers for the RS Cafe and providing IT services.
What's Our Goal
The primary goal of the “Troost Village Digital Reconciliation Project” is to bring together neighbors and community partners to form a grassroots inter-neighborhood network of “Trained Neighbors Teaching” (TNTs) to increase digital life skills, internet and computer access and improve the ability to use these resource to connect to jobs, education and healthcare by extending the successful RS Document Assistance program.
Our "Trained Neighbors Teaching" (TNT) model will teach neighbors to become digitally literate through our Digital Life Skills classes offered weekly. Then we will recruit and train TNTs from recent Class graduates to become volunteer teachers in their neighborhoods and in the RS Internet Cafe.
TNTs will run the RS Internet Cafe with staff support, promote classes/events organized with community partners listed below. TNTs will help demonstrate the benefits of connectivity and provide personal support to the internet cafe participants.
Eventually TNTs will open the Internet Cafe daily and share and even record stories about the relevance of connectivity in culturally competent ways for their neighborhood. These stories can then be posted in neighborhood websites and the RS website. Regular TNT and partner events in our Internet Cafe, signage and "screen-saver ads" will guide users to meaningful content. Familiar faces, stories, coffee/pastries and cafe-feel will increase user's interest in the project. Initially possibly open Fridays before our established community meal, hours for the Internet Cafe and Classes and resources for Document Assistance will expand using our TNTs. TNTs will receive encouragement through periodic awards commemorating project milestones/outcomes.
Ultimately, our goal is to see a thriving village community emerge from the scared soil of segregation and the ashes of urban disinvestment in what we call Troost Village. We believe that our community of communities is strong and that by following a strengths and solutions based model we can heal ourselves. The role of RS as a member of the Village is not to be the strength of the Village but to act as temporary scaffolding, to foster growth, forge connections and empower individuals to care for each other, especially those struggling.
Primary Outcomes from this Project
- Provide training and computer/ Internet access to 1,400-2,500 people living in Troost Village area and surrounding areas near 31st and Troost
- Increase interest, perception of the relevance of connectivity and hardware access with hard to reach internet non-users in Troost Village
- Launch our TNT training class and mobilize TNTs thereby engaging neighbors through monthly neighborhood meetings and existing neighborhood leadership structures
- Document Assistance funds will provide immediate and direct capacity building assistance for 96 individuals seeking jobs, education, govt. services, healthcare
- Undertake a door to door campaign with volunteers to promote the Classes and TNT program and to raise awareness of capacity building resources available in Troost Village
- Allow RS to host at least 12 health care, education and/or job search related capacity building events in the RS Internet Cafe operated by TNTs
- Develop Document Assistance Crowd-funding video and launch online campaign to raise project funds and funds specifically for document assistance.
Manny came one day to Reconciliation Services for help obtaining his birth certificate. His Missouri ID was about to expire and he had to have his birth certificate to get a new one. We completed the application, sent away for it, and began the wait. It can take up to 6 months to get a birth certificate.
We got his birth certificate back and he got a new ID—all seemed fine. But when he went to the bank to access his money to pay his rent and bills he was told he couldn’t. There was a mistake---instead of Manuel his first name was listed on his ID as ‘Junior’. A mistake had been made on his birth certificate. He was a ‘junior’, he was Manuel Jr. Someone had flipped the information. However all of his records were in the name of Manuel—his bank account included, and an ID saying Junior was of no use to him. We had to apply for a name change, a process that may take up to three months.
We went to the court house and they sent us to the UMKC law library. The resources there were complicated—like lawyer complicated! They were no help.
To the internet we went! His RS case manager and Manny began to research how to apply for a name change AND how to waive the application fee. Manny didn’t have access to his money so any fee was too much! Finally we had information that we could use. Internet access was critical and the name change process was begun—but it was going to be a long process.
So what was going to happen to Manny’s bills? His retirement check was being directly deposited in the bank but without access he could pay his rent. Sure enough, one day he came to us with his eviction notice. We didn’t have time to wait for the name change. He was going to be homeless NOW.
Back to the internet— his case manager sat down with Manny and helped him set up online banking. The bank wouldn’t give him money directly but he could pay his rent and utilities online even if he couldn’t go to the bank and get cash.
Manny didn’t know that…
Without RS, without the internet, and without a lot of persistence Manny, a man that had worked all of his life, would have been homeless and hopeless.
Today – Manny has all his bills paid automatically, has initiated e-bills and set up recurring payments. He says he likes the fact that he doesn’t have to wait in line or pay extra money just to pay his bills. Manny has been transformed. He no longer has to buy money orders and stand in long lines to take care of his basic needs. Now he does it all with a click of a mouse.