Kelly grooms dogs for a living, but she’s currently looking to adopt a cat. “I’m a dog person, but as soon as I get my own place, I’m getting a cat. I’m with dogs 10-12 hours a day. I need a cat in my life.”
For the first time in a long time, Kelly is thriving. She graduated from the Pawsperity Grooming School and is currently stably employed in the high-demand field of pet grooming. This is how she got connected to JFS services – through the partnerships JFS builds with like-minded agencies so that we can reach more people and provide stronger resources to our community.
“I’ve had four trips to prison and each time they were like, ‘well, what do you want to do with your life?’ I had heard about the pet groom project, but I just didn’t have my head on straight and wasn’t making good decisions,” Kelly said. “But this last time I got out and I signed up, and it just went from there.”
Kelly was immediately connected with JFS, and specifically with current Chief Program Officer Maggie Haghirian as a caseworker. “The first time I met with Ms. Maggie she gave me her direct line and email and said to call if I had any questions. I’ve never had a caseworker like that before. I mean, she helped me order my work shoes and then she hand delivered them to my work,” Kelly said. “It made me look forward to checking in. Even when she wouldn’t tell me to, I’d send her an email. Like, I just had a happy, good day at work and I wanted to update you.”
JFS supported Kelly as she got back on her feet. Kelly became a regular pantry client, accessing fresh produce and meat, staples to stock her cabinets, and prepared meals. She also received rental assistance to cover her full month’s rent. The remainder of her assistance and her wages were able to go towards buying the necessities she needed to be successful, like items for work and gas for her car.
“I’m 39 years old and I have a 401k now. That’s stuff I never thought I’d have.” Kelly said.
“Getting to see all the good in our community as we come together to support Kelly is one of the reasons why I love coming to work every day,” said Maggie, JFS Chief Program Officer. “She’s completely committed to reaching her personal goals, and we’re so lucky that JFS gets to be just a small part of helping her along the way.”
JFS helps over 500 families each month through our innovative KesherKC program that provides food security through our pantries and connects clients to additional support services, either through JFS or our partnering agencies. This, along with our critical mental health programs, older adult services, and community programs reaches over 10,000 of our greater Kansas City friends and neighbors every year.
For now, Kelly continues to work hard and save so that she can eventually get her own place – and cat – and when that day comes, JFS will be here if she ever needs a little help.
“I’m happy. There we go. That’s a big one. I’m happy,” Kelly said. “I look forward to each day. Even if like, man, today’s going to be hard, but it’s still going to be a good day. I’ve never had that feeling in my life.”
For over 120 years JFS has provided essential human services for people of all faiths, ages, cultures, and identities who are facing challenges in everyday life or times of crisis. But we couldn’t do it without generous support from people like you. Will you help the thousands of people JFS serves each year to thrive and succeed? Your donation today means we can serve even more of our community tomorrow.
Will you help people like Kelly, as well as the over 10,000 individuals who JFS supports each year? Your donation today means we can serve even more of our community tomorrow