Love frozen snacks? How about all natural ingredients, do they make you smile? Does the thought of small businesses creating jobs that foster skill development and increased independence for people living with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/D) make you smile from ear to ear? We're a 'YES' for all three and that’s why Rachel interviewed Ky Kanaman of KC Pop Co for the November ‘19 episode.
Enjoying an all natural ice pop for breakfast during the Kaw Valley Farm Tour. Believe it or not, that's how we discovered the Kansas business featured in this month's episode. Unexpected, yes. But what would you expect in the Land of Oz?
KC Pop Co is a small batch manufacturer of ice-pops whose kitchen facility is located in Baldwin City, on Midnight Farm. We learned of KC Pop Co while participating on the Farm Tour, and fell for KC Pop Co’s mission and approach. Sure, it may be a little colder outside while you’re listening to this. But, this is Kansas. We may get a 66F day in January. And, besides, summer gets closer with each passing day and frozen natural treats will soon be needed. Even for breakfast, to which Rachel can attest.
On this episode, we uncover a unique program in Johnson County Kansas that enables and encourages commercial art-making by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Papercrete Works is a program created by Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS) that marries art, commerce, and recycling to create an opportunity for clients of JCDS to earn an hourly wage. I learned of the program’s existence when I visited their open studio at InterUrban ArtHouse.
The term Papercrete is used to describe a mixture of cement, water, and recycled paper that gets poured into molds to make flower pots, picture frames, paperweights, decorative bowls, and other art objects. The process requires a wide range of skill sets, and allows people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to put their skills to work for an hourly wage. Some people shred the recycled paper, some mix the concrete, others fill the molds, use fine motor skills to paint the items, and even learn sales and marketing skills when the items are sold at art shows or other events.
One of my goals for Uncovering Kansas is to help educate Kansans about interesting and innovative things going on in Kansas and to start conversations that discuss and challenge stereotypes. And I think Papercrete Works art studio does this. There are many ways to look at programs like this, but as soon as I walked into the Papercrete Works art studio, I knew this would be an enlightening interview for me. I sat down with Micah Wickstrom, Ben Koontz, Jaimie Cureton, and Deb Bartholomew to talk about the program. Michah is the Papercrete Works Program Coordinator, Deb is a JCDS Team Lead, and both Ben and Jaimie are clients of JCDS who are working for Papercrete Works.
I enjoyed learning about the success the program is having in just 2 ½ years. The program assists people like Ben and Jaime with necessary skills development to participate in the the community. To learn more about the program, check out their website. If you are in Johnson County, their open studio at InterUrban ArtHouse is on the 3rd Friday of each month.
In this episode we uncover an innovation approach to solving one of the issues facing our foster care system. (Note: the podcast is an abridged version of the interview.)
The foster care system in Kansas is facing some pretty big challenges. With about 7,600 children in foster care in Kansas, there are only about 2,700 approved foster families. This means that a lot of foster children are sleeping in a different location every night, or in the foster care offices on couches or cots.
Sarah Oberndorfer has come up with a plan to help address this issue by creating a community of foster homes in Basehor, Kansas, called Joy Meadows. By creating a neighborhood where all of the homes are foster families, there is a built-in support structure that will reduce foster family burnout, increase capacity for foster children, and ensure more siblings get to stay together. In addition, the neighborhood will have a community center that will allow social services to come to the families, reducing the amount of time spent driving to and from appointments.
On this episode of Uncovering Kansas, we talk to Sarah about foster care and her plan for Joy Meadows. We think that you’ll learn a lot about the state of foster care in Kansas and find that another innovative Kansan has come up with a great idea to help improve the system.
To learn more about Joy Meadows, please visit the Joy Meadows website.
The podcast about culture, travel, people, history, and enterprise in Kansas.