Residential Youth Enjoy Diverse Adventures Across Kansas City Metro Thanks to Hunt Family Foundation Grant

From fighting dragons at Sandbox Virtual Reality to catching foul balls at a Kansas City Monarch’s baseball game, the youth in Cornerstones of Care’s on-campus living programs enjoyed a wide variety of field trip adventures in 2023. Participants included 42 youth in the Ozanam Residential Treatment Program and around a dozen youth in the Pathways Transitional Living Program. The 44 field trips were made possible by a generous $20,000 grant from the Hunt Family Foundation.

Janna Cochran, Program Manager of Expressive Therapy, led the planning of the field trips and attended several as a chaperone.

“I devoted a lot of time to planning out all the trips and spending that money effectively,” said Janna. “We tried to take into consideration each specific group and what they would enjoy the best.”

The Southwest dorm at the Ozanam Campus, for example, is an athletically inclined group that enjoyed a visit to the College Basketball Experience, a KC Current soccer game, and a Monarch’s baseball game. The dorm with the younger kids spent their time at a petting zoo, Science City, and the Coterie Theater, among other places.

Janna recalled the initial reaction of the kids who went to the Coterie Theater for a production of “Dr. Dolittle.” The small group was convinced the show wasn’t for them. “That’s so baby-ish!” they exclaimed as soon as they learned the premise of the show.

Once the play started, however, they quickly changed their minds.

“They were fully engaged for the rest of the performance,” said Janna. “I think it’s important to give kids that normal kid experience of going to the zoo, going to the College Basketball Experience, and seeing a play – things they would be doing if they had a normal home life, so they aren’t missing out on that part of growing up.”

And just like if they were living at home, each kid was expected to behave well before and during the field trips, or they might miss out on getting to go at all.

Part of encouraging good behavior required team members to prepare the kids well in advance.

“The before really was important because our kids might get overly excited or might be in a mood and don’t want to go,” said Janna. “We never want to surprise them, but we also don’t want to give them a lot of anxiety about something different.”

The field trips lasted until the very end of the year, concluding with The Muppet Christmas Carol™ in Concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a Christmas-themed musical at Church of the Resurrection, and various Christmas light tours around the city, giving kids a diverse experience of the holiday season and a much-anticipated adventure in the city.

“It was great; I hope we can continue,” said Janna, who has helped coordinate various on and off-campus events in years past and plans to keep the tradition going. “Even if we can’t keep doing it at that magnitude, it’s helpful for the kids and their development.”