HANNIBAL – Kids in Motion wound up their 2019 summer program on Monday, July 29, at First Presbyterian Church in Hannibal.
About 50 students, parents, and community partners came together to celebrate the hard work and personal growth that defines the Kids in Motion program. The Douglass Community Service program is a workforce development and service-training program designed to teach at-risk youth to value work, community and their future.
Among the speakers was Stephanie Cooper, executive director of Douglass Community Services, who introduced Jared Moore as the new Youth Services Director and announced the expansion of Kids in Motion from a eight-week summer program to a year-long focused workforce development and mentorship program. The expansion, she explained, will allow the program to more effectively prepare youth to enter the workforce or higher education.
All Kids in Motion participants were recognized and presented with a certificate of achievement. Special gifts were presented to Matthew Clatt, Mariah Mayfield, Katherine Painter and Taylor Painter as an award for being the hardest workers. The Kids in Motion "Kid of the Year" award went to Matthew Clatt.
Jared Moore, the new director of Kids in Motion, said one of the more challenging tasks the students faced this summer was working with Hannibal Parks and Recreation to remove the sandbags from the top of the downtown floodwall.
"It was hard work. But the way the students worked together to form production lines and encourage one another was really inspiring. In this kind of setting they learn to find solutions to hard problems, communicate well, and see the value in being a link in a long chain to get hard work done easier. We all circled around that last sandbag and celebrated. It was a great feeling."
Moore went on to say that the Kids in Motion expansion will begin this Fall at the Hannibal Middle School.
"It will give us a better opportunity to offer a holistic program to our youth. In the past we just focused on the eight-week summer work-site training. And it was great, but we were limited in our ability to teach soft skills, personal development, and to develop meaningful mentorships," he said. "This new expansion will give us consistent and regular interaction with the students throughout the school year. But we need community support to make this a reality. We’re looking for volunteers, mentors and financial partners who can help this vision have a transforming influence on our youth."