By Kathy Ficcadenti

By Kathy Ficcadenti

We are excited to provide Radical Uplifting to each client who walks through our Welcome Center.

Click here to read the entire February 2020 newsletter

In 2019, 73% of the people who came into our Welcome Center were unemployed. In addition, every client requested emergency services because they were struggling to make ends meet. Interestingly, only 22% of these individuals wanted to receive assistance in finding employment. So, the question becomes, why do people not want the services offered and how can we reach those individuals?

To help us answer this question, Employment Services and the Welcome Center combined forces to pilot a project geared toward understanding the barriers preventing families and individuals from seeking better, more consistent employment. We call this project Radical Uplifting.

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During the pilot, one of our Employment Specialists was made available each afternoon to meet with clients after they received Welcome Center emergency services. These meetings were meant to open the door to rich financial or employment coaching sessions with harder-to-reach clients.

Some key components of our Radical Uplifting project included:

  • Starting conversations with a nonjudgmental attitude on the part of the Employment Specialist. This creates an atmosphere of openness and sincerity, providing room for mutual trust.
  • Focusing on the strengths and gifts of the individual. Looking at a person in an ultra-positive perspective is a great starting point for the person to start seeing themselves and their potential in a more positive light.
  • If the person is struggling, allowing them to talk about what is going on and look for ways to encourage and support them. Impoverished people often carry tremendous burdens and welcome any opportunity to express themselves in a supportive atmosphere.
  • Looking for opportunities to have a deeper conversation about moving forward. We believe many small steps are necessary before setting bigger goals and moving forward.
  • Providing any feedback and/or referrals as necessary.
  • Asking if they would like to continue the conversation.

  After the completion of the pilot, we discovered several notable things:

  1. Most people want to find employment however, they are burdened with the pressures of daily life.
  2. Many do not think they are in a place where they can be more successful.
  3. Most were willing to talk to us and were open to being lifted — even those with the toughest exteriors were receptive to being lifted and feeling better in the moment.
  4. Poverty is a complex problem that doesn’t have quick-fix answers even when statistics indicate obvious conclusions.

  As this month’s Welcome Center article discussed, the biggest obstacle to receiving necessary services is The Poverty Mindset. Living with a poverty mindset keeps clients in cycles of self-sabotage and survival. However, we know that these are the people who need our services most.

With Radical Uplifting, we hope to slowly shift our clients toward a growth-mindset, thereby making the climb out of poverty much more desirable and achievable.

We are excited by the success we found in Radical Uplifting and will continue using this program to explore new techniques for engaging clients. Radical Uplifting will be available in our Kansas City location on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Kathy at or (816) 659-8269.


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