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1-15-21 — Community Partners for Safe Environment
Jan. 15, 2021 ~ A community partnership involving Olathe Public Schools, Johnson County Department of Corrections, Olathe Public Library, Johnson County Mental Health, Olathe Fire Department and the Olathe Police Department works to provide homework support, mentorships and a fun and safe environment for secondary students.
The Spot, located at the Johnson County Youth & Family Service Center, is a youth program hosted from 3-5 p.m. each Tuesday and allows students in grades six through 12 an opportunity to build their social capacity with other students and gain professional mentors from the community. Information will also be shared with students about careers as a first responder, college access, mental health services and more.
The Olathe Public Schools Foundation provided a grant to help fund parts of this initiative.
This free initiative provides a positive alternative for at-risk youths.
“Our youth needs to see unity and collaboration and The Spot will provide that unique opportunity,” Olathe Public Schools Facilitator of Diversity and Engagement Marquis Harris said.
“The Spot will have both the social and academic component that keeps students accountable on their path to graduation,” Erik Erazo, Olathe Public Schools coordinator of diversity and engagement, said. “As part a countywide committee, Disproportionate Minority Contact, we seek to develop programming and strategies which lower the rate of minority representation in the juvenile justice system and this initiative provides a safe and free environment after school.”
“We could not be more thrilled with the partnership and creation of The Spot,” Superintendent John Allison said. “Our students will benefit greatly from this one-of-a-kind initiative. They will have access to mentors, as well as a safe place interact with their friends and form positive adult relationships.”
“The Spot is a great opportunity for so many of our organizations to better connect with the community,” Olathe Fire Department Captain Mike Hall said.
“We know that having a positive relationship with an adult in the community has been shown to improve a child’s overall mental wellness,” said Sierra Wright, chair of the committee that worked alongside the Olathe School District to organize The Spot and clinician with Johnson County Mental Health Center. “The mentoring opportunities in this program will also decrease the likelihood of students engaging in the juvenile justice system. The community is coming together and everyone benefits.”