Taking the Time to be Thankful by Roxanne Jensen, Ed.S.

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, I find myself taking a few minutes to reflect on the nonprofits that provide services to those individuals in our community who need support. These organizations have diligently served our community through challenging times, some for many years. Their steadfast service and that of their talented staff, uplift our communities. While there are so many amazing organizations I could highlight, I am especially grateful for the following organizations…

Individuals with Disabilities Providers – Assel Grant Services has been working with nonprofits that support individuals with disabilities since 2010. In that time, we have partnered with over nine organizations that help clients develop skills, receive medically necessary treatment, and live more independent, fulfilling lives.

  • Integrated Behavioral Technologies, Inc. (IBT) addresses the near-total lack of autism treatment services in Kansas, where an estimated 48% of the population lives in rural communities. IBT serves children and families who face barriers to evidence-based interventions due to income and/or geographic isolation and is the only provider available to support the needs of children with autism in 23 Kansas counties. IBT provides one-on-one in-home applied behavior analysis (ABA), parent training, and assessment services by partnering with schools, other nonprofits, and state/federal agencies. IBT also provides home- and center-based educational intervention to learners from infancy to 12 years old. Students master skills that lead to greater independence through medically necessary treatment and an educational curriculum that includes academics and functional life skills.
  • Developing Potential, Inc. (DPI) has over 25 years’ experience serving adults with developmental disabilities (DD) in the Kansas City area. DPI began with one location in Kansas City serving eight individuals. Today, DPI has a total of three locations (Kansas City, Independence, and Lee’s Summit) that served approximately 150 people in 2021. At DPI, individuals choose how and if they participate to develop skills in areas such as daily living activities, fine motor skills, creativity expression, verbal and nonverbal communication, hygiene, physical wellness, household maintenance, cognition, and social skills.

Health/Mental Health Providers – According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing (2020), the demand for health and mental health services is increasing, with 52% of U.S. behavioral health organizations seeing an increase in the demand for services. However, capacity is diminishing due to the pandemic, with 54% of organizations required to either close programs or turn away patients. Assel Grant Services has helped 27 health and mental health providers over eight years receive funding to provide critical comprehensive, high-quality care.

  • Turner House Clinic Inc. (d/b/a: Vibrant Health) works creatively and with purpose to meet the community need for health care in Wyandotte County, and is the only health care option for many people in the area. What began in 1990 as a volunteer-run pediatric clinic evolved to become a Federally Qualified Health Center in 2019, providing primary medical, behavioral health, dental, and pharmacy services for children and adults. There are inequities in health that are avoidable, unnecessary, and unjust. To assure that everyone can attain their highest level of health, Vibrant Health seeks to prevent and treat illness, address social determinants of health, and support social justice reforms.
  • ReDiscover provides 24/7 crisis intervention and access to individuals, families, and community members by phone, at hospital emergency rooms, in their homes, or at other community sites, focusing on holistic recovery treatment. ReDiscover has a 50-year legacy of providing innovative, comprehensive, and compassionate care that has helped hundreds of thousands of people with their mental, emotional, and physical wellness. Trained staff can provide education on mental illness or substance dependency, refer a person to appropriate health or community resources, and arrange for hospitalization or immediate treatment in emergencies. Staff work closely with police for crisis intervention. Specialized services include gender-specific treatment, treatment for co-occurring disorders, anger management classes, and sexual survivors counseling.

Arts Providers – The arts allow us to express our uniqueness, helping us communicate by drawing on our emotions, thoughts, and experiences. When you see and experience another person’s art, you see the world through their eyes. Assel Grant Services believes in the power of the arts and has worked with over twenty-one nonprofits over thirteen years to help inspire, grow, and heal.

  • Te Deum presents sacred music that is both musically gratifying and spiritually stirring. Te Deum’s vision is to connect audience members to the music on a deeply personal level, emphasizing the wonderful texts and their personal relevance, to change the way audience members listen to music and how it affects their lives. Te Deum uncovers a niche for sacred music by reaching new audiences. During the 2022-23 season, Te Deum will perform five concerts over nine nights the Christmas concert in December. Through this performance, meaningful aspects of the season will be explored and celebrated by structuring the concert around four musical settings of one of the most famous Christmas texts, O Magnum Mysterium. Each section explores one of the four lines of text – “the mystery of this gift,” “the animals present at the birth,” “the sacrifice and love of the mother,” and finally, “Alleluia,” a song of praise and joy.
  • Powell Gardens is an experience that embraces the Midwest’s spirit of place and inspires an appreciation for the importance of plants in our lives. As a Kansas City treasure with 970 acres of natural wonder less than an hour from downtown, several curated permanent and rotating art exhibits accentuate the gardens’ natural beauty. In 2021, the Gardens welcomed approximately 140,000 visitors; 36,000 were youth. This was a 40% increase from 2020, pointing to the importance of the Gardens as a safe, tranquil place for children and their families to learn and play outdoors, including during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assel Grant Services is humbled by the work of these and the thousands of non-profit organizations that make a profound impact on communities across the country. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this impact through our services.