Jobs for American’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) and Creative Pathways & Means (CPM) will be able to take their partnership to another level, utilizing a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) to help students explore creative outlets to overcome trauma.
JAG-K is the recipient of a $25,000 2021 Impact and Capacity Grant from KHF. Under the terms of the grant, JAG-K will partner with CPM, a Topeka-based education and consultancy company with an interest in mental health, to develop a six-week educational unit. The goal of the project is to develop creativity and encourage expression as a pathway to well-being and success.
“Our mission is complimentary to KHF’s mission to improve the health of all Kansans, and the vision of a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices,” JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp said.
“While JAG-K’s goals are related to academic success and self-sufficiency, we recognize the ability to achieve those outcomes requires us to focus on the whole person,” Knapp said. “That includes the physical and mental well-being and the social connectedness of the youth we serve.”
SJ Hazim and Connor England, the co-founders of CPM, have provided programming on a contract basis for JAG-K. They said they believe in the evidence-based, in-school program and see opportunities to help ‘fill the gap’ around trauma and creativity programming.
“We’re very happy with the ways we’ve worked with JAG-K,” Hazim said. “This grant will allow us to take that official partnership to a new level.”
Participants in the JAG-K program must meet specific criteria, including various barriers to success. JAG-K Career Specialists help students overcome challenges, further develop their talents, and equip them for success through a nationally-accredited model. Trauma is identified as an obstacle to reaching a student’s full potential.
“We’re starting to understand how creativity works in the brains and the hearts of people,” England said. “Trauma, if not dealt with, can make it more difficult to learn and grow. Creative outlets help us process trauma and facilitate learning.”
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades seven through 12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills.
The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 40 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include AT&T, John Deere, Synchrony Financial, Taco Bell and Walmart.