Who We Are

Pryor Legacy Class of 2013

The William Jewell College Pryor Leadership Program is a three-year program that focuses on developing skills through real life experience. Sophomore year of the program is characterized by interdependent learning as students head to the Everglades for a two week canoeing excursion, learning about themselves and relying on their classmates as they adventure in uncharted territory. The following year focuses on personal development through the completion of two internships, one vocational and one volunteer. Finally, senior year, the capstone of the program, involved the completion of a legacy project. The legacy project is determined by the class and is driven by a goal of impacting the community either locally or abroad.

This year's legacy project was originally an unspoken dream of Kansas City resident that found a home in a plot of land located at 8th and Troost. This land currently is a lifeless lot and a land marker for the nearly 1,000 pilgrims who make the trek daily between homeless shelters in Northeast Kansas City. This upcoming April it will be introduced to the public as the Paseo West Community Garden. The garden will feature 23 raised beds with varying produce, fruit trees, herbs, a water fountain fixture, and a gourd house pergola. In between now and then involves much vision casting, collaboration, and hard earned labor. What drives the Pryor Class of 2013 is the vestige of hope and restoration that it will offer to the community. The Pryor class has the privilege of working alongside an esteemed organization, Hope Faith Ministries, which offers services to the homeless and unemployed. Located just around the corner from the garden's future home, Hope Faith has established itself in the neighborhood and seeks to reach those in need in a way that provides dignity and challenges them to break the cycle of hardship that is common in the area. The Pryor class is coming alongside Hope Faith to be the front-runners for raising funds, developing programs for the garden, creating contacts, and building awareness of the project both in the neighborhood and beyond. One aspect of Hope Faith's structure that attracted the senior Pryor class to a project partnership was their internship program that chooses interns from among recipients being served at Hope Faith. The interns work at Hope Faith to build a resume and acquire skills while living in transitional homes that border the garden plot. Some of these interns will be the core to sustaining the garden program, as they will tend to the garden and act as first-hand connectors in drawing in locals who would otherwise not know about the garden.

Some of the initial planning processes brought to mind questions of whether this sort of initiative would be an aesthetic boost while having little real impact. However, what is unique to the garden beyond its established connections in the neighborhood is that it draws in an under-served population among the homeless: children. Cooking classes will be offered through Hope Faith to children four times a year with each seasonal change. Using produce grown in the garden, these children will learn the basics of nutrition, often topics that seem second nature in the realm of healthy living. In an environment where the Dollar Menu monopolizes meal times, these cooking classes are educating a delicate generation on the necessity to choose carefully. It is our hope that as children come they will act as a bridge to their parents, connecting them to a new form of community, a community built on growth and restoration and discovering a common ground with their neighbors. We recognize it will not be an immediate change, but the forward motion towards a tangible good and the presence of intentional living will bespeak hope to a once fallow area.

By planting seeds, we are planting hope. We are the Grow Paseo project.