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555 Olive Center

What is the Olive Center?

The 555 Olive Center is a part of United Way's national "Success By 6" initiative. This initiative is a support strategy focused on improving school readiness through local community change.

The center is a 3800 square foot facility located at 555 Olive St, Kansas City, MO 64124 , in the heart of the Pendleton Heights neighborhood. It will serve as a home base for people-centered programming of the Choice Neighborhood initiative. The facility has three 450 square foot classrooms, a 600-foot common area and office space for staff working in the Choice Neighborhoods initiative.

555 Olive Center for Families

At the 555 Olive Center for Families, United Way and its Choice Neighborhoods partners are working to build a community—one meeting, one class, one play group and one conversation at a time. We do this by curating programming from across the non-profit partners involved in the Choice Neighborhoods initiative and offering them under one roof. Our purpose is to create opportunities for success and connections for residents in the Paseo Gateway neighborhoods.

Who does it serve?

At the 555 Olive Center we service individuals and families who are residents of the Paseo Gateway neighborhoods and beyond through a range of programs offered by our organizational partners. While a special focus is on creating opportunities for low-income residents—including 150 target households who are a part of the Choice initiative, everyone is open to all. We aim to create connections across neighborhoods, cultures, demographic groups and institutions, with one overarching goal: building a community.

What programs are available?

Jewish Vocational Service:

Since 2004, JVS has been resettling refugees in Kansas City, MO and resettles nearly 500 refugees every year. JVS works with refugees to assist in self-sufficiency in the United States. Services provided to refugees include locating and furnishing housing, assistance with basic needs, case management, counseling, employment assistance, grade school and healthcare referrals, English Second Language (ESL) classes and cultural orientation. THE Jewish Vocational Service main office is located at 4600 The Paseo but uses the 555 Olive Center to serve its participating families who live in the Northeast.

Literacy Kansas City:

Ticket to Read classes are for any adult seeking a high school equivalency, improved reading skills, or for teens and adults who want to build study skills in a safe, tuition free environment. Ticket to Read students can be found learning foundational literacy skills, reading and discussing books, writing research papers, or working on Reading Plus, an online software program that helps students increase their reading speed and accuracy while building vocabulary. Adults who are interested in joining Literacy KC's free reading and writing classes can call816-333-9332 or email Autumn at aburton@literacykc.org.

Mattie Rhodes Center :

The Visual Arts After-school program provides high quality, accessible, and developmentally appropriate cultural arts education and activities to school-age children, grades K through 6. The program uses culture as a lens through which students of all ages are exposed to the many different forms of visual art; program activities with these cultural themes also help to develop life-skills, cultural awareness, and an appreciation for the visual arts. Students work closely with trained art instructors not only to make works of art they can bring home to their family, but also to create pieces they can exhibit and sell at Mattie Rhodes Center's Art Gallery during our annual Children's Exhibit.. Although the strength of the program lies in its curriculum and activities, at its heart it is a place where kids have fun interacting with the arts in a supervised environment with caring adults and mentors.

Start At Zero:

Start at Zero (SAZ) is a family visiting and kindergarten readiness program for Kansas City families with children ages zero to three. Using an evidence-based curriculum, SAZ works closely with parents to help develop and strengthen their ability to foster their child’s development during the critical first three years. Start at Zero uses the Olive Center as a home base for its outreach in Kansas City’s Northeast neighborhoods and offers play groups for parents of young children, offering them skillsand knowledge to help their children learn and thrive. For more information about Start at Zero’s programs, contact Gretchen Green at gretchen@startatzero.org.

Kansas City Public Library:

Through its digital inclusion initiative, the Library will offer classes in the Olive Center computer lab and provide a neighborhood-based resource for connecting residents with the Library’s wide ranging programs.

Additional Information

Meeting Space for Community Groups:

555 Olive Center will soon be open for small- to medium-sized meetings of community groups. We have four classrooms each with capacity for up to 25 people.

Paseo Gateway Community Liaison:

Mattie Rhodes Center also plays a key role in the Choice Neighborhoods initiative and employs a Community Coordinator who is an ambassador to the community on behalf of the Paseo Gateway Steering Committee and the Choice Neighborhoods Working Group. While based at Mattie Rhodes Center, the Community Coordinator uses the 555 Olive Center as a home base for convening Paseo Gateway stakeholders in pursuing goals of community’s comprehensive quality-of-life plan and to align projects with the Paseo Gateway Transformation Plan.