Column: Help us Elevate KC — or the city or town where you live

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Deacon Dana Nearmyer is the lead consultant for the archdiocesan office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth.

 by Deacon Dana Nearmyer

Business leaders, government officials and faith leaders from the KC metro are strategizing and praying together for the sake of the Kansas City metro area.

Hundreds of leaders are networking through a movement called Elevate KC. We’ve invested in prayer, fellowship and strategic collaboration. So far, we’ve identified “Four Giants of Concern” that we pursue together: education, fatherlessness, human trafficking and racial healing.

Four catalyst teams around those giants have been formed. Each team is comprised of leaders from the local faith community with a common passion/interest in serving and creating positive change in our city. We are looking for more collaborators in Kansas City, and I am challenging you to pray and organize in the town and city that you live in. The term “theology of geography” asks us to care about the spiritual and social well-being of the homes and towns in your city.

Real problems face us.

Racial Healing

  • Kansas City has sharp racial divides along Troost in Missouri and Quindaro in Kansas and continues to be rated high among cities with significant racial issues.
  • Police are much more likely to pull over and frisk blacks or Latinos than whites. In one city, 80 percent of the stops were blacks and Latinos, and 85 percent of those people were frisked, compared to a mere 8 percent of the white people stopped.

Fatherlessness

  • 63 percent of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health/Census).
  • 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.

Human Trafficking

  • The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 14,000-17,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year.
  • Kansas City is ranked 4th among U.S. cities for domestic minor sex trafficking.
  • Most girls lured into sex trafficking are between 12-14 years old. Human trafficking involves both domestic and international victims.

Literacy

  • Reading at grade level by the end of third grade is a critical predictor of academic success, including high school graduation and college entry, which ultimately determines the ability to earn a living. Children who live in poverty, and particularly children of color who live in poverty, have less than a 15 percent chance of being proficient readers by the end of third grade.
  • In the spring of 2011, only 33.8 percent of third-graders were reading on grade level (in 14 districts in the city of Kansas City).
  • There are many implications for a high school dropout, including increased risk of incarceration, prostitution, sex trafficking, etc.
  • Eighty-two percent of prisoners in America were high school dropouts.

Your city has unique areas of concerns. Gather your local leaders, business leaders, government officials, and faith leaders to pray and strategize about the spiritual and social well-being of the families in your city. To learn more, send me an email at: youth@archkck.org.

 

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