Tragically, the Kansas City urban core experiences exceedingly high levels of violent crime and community trauma. In 2021, KCMO reported 157 homicides, while KCK reported 51 homicides for the year (data retrieved March 1, 2022, from the Kansas City Star). Local hospitals and healthcare providers have felt the impact of such violence. In particular, Truman Medical Center has performed psychological evaluations on more than 300 gunshot wound survivors during the 21 months between September 2019 to October 2021. Furthermore, an overwhelming number of youth living in highly violent crime neighborhoods have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which put them at risk for violence perpetration and victimization. Most institutions place young adults in 3 tiers to determine the support they will need. Lyrik’s has identified there is a fourth tier. We are treating all tier three students the same, and that is not the case. Some would say there are similarities, but that line is very thin. We will all agree the grand canyon looks like a thin line from space. Those that have been to the grand canyon know from experience that it is so much more than a thin line. You can have tier three students make a statement such as, “I’m active, and I put that on my dead homies.” For some students, that may be a subtle threat to get a facilitator to do what they want them to do to another student; that is a direct threat of violence and can lead to serious outcomes if not addressed correctly. Students that react with this much aggression or students that have a high level of criminality approach have to look differently. The same cognitive behavior modification approach and measures can be implemented, but a level of assertiveness and firm resolve has to be applied. To the culture of the participants that we serve, this method is common to them. To outside bodies that don’t connect and understand the culture, passion can be misconstrued as aggression. This causes outside bodies to be hyper-cautious and defensive. Which is understood, but a person's misunderstanding does not determine effectiveness. Lyrik’s Institution recognizes the role and impact of trauma on youth at risk for crime and violent lifestyles. Through a culturally competent and trauma-informed approach, Lyrik’s addresses the mental health complications that arise from experiencing ACEs and the constant bombardment of community trauma present in highly violent crime neighborhoods. Lyrik’s accomplishes this by equipping at-risk youth with psychological tools to enhance their mental health, wellness, and resiliency against violence perpetration and victimization. These CBM-based psychological tools allow youth to develop new thinking skills and positive coping strategies to navigate and process trauma, family conflict, negative emotions, social upheaval, and relationship conflicts.
How will you approach this work?
Lyrik’s has created five cognitive behavior-based interventions that target criminality and violent behavior. These interventions will be facilitated by culturally competent facilitators that have been but are not limited to encounters with extreme criminality and violent behavior and situation.
This workbook and an interactive lesson were designed to show participants how their realities are formed and shaped. Participants will understand what reinforcers are and how our environment and interest reinforce and configure our values, beliefs, and motivations. Participants will learn the importance of having a mental toolbox to protect their thoughts. Two of the major tools taught are vulnerability and accountability. They will be introduced to self-talk and how to manage their internal conversation.
Getting Out of Your Box
This workbook and interactive lesson were designed to show participants how to get out of their comfort zone. We call their comfort zone a box to continue the program's theme. Participants will learn about thought roadblocks that keep them from expanding their understanding.
Thinking About Your Thinking
This module is designed to take the participants from conceptualizing this self-talk strategy to making it applicable. Participants will learn what a camera check is and how to look at a situation from an objective view. Students will be introduced to emotional intelligence and conflict resolution in this module. Effective communication and active listening are also a part of this module.
This module will help young adults to identify what their career pathways are. We don’t call it a career; we call it their passion. Here they will learn the difference between chasing the bag, and chasing their passion. Participants will learn how to apply effective motivation factors to their pathway instead of just chasing money because they want to take care of themselves and their family. Here will identify what internships we have that fits their passion field. We partner with Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City Arts Institute, FEC, and a host of community organizations that offer the support we can connect participants to. These partnerships allow us to offer paid internships. Students will participate in cultural currency. Here they will learn money management and investment strategies.
The Ripple Effect
This module is extremely important to the work we do at Lyrik’s. Too often, our participants can see how their actions affect the people around them. If they can't see how it affects people on a micro level, they will continue to disassociate the effects of their decisions on a macro level. We combine all the previous programming to walk young adults through how their choices impact other people and how they can change the tide of the culture by the actions they take from here on out. We bring in different seminar hosts to discuss how gun violence affects families and the community. At the same time, we partner with city activists and politicians to show them how they can impact their city and the issues the city has differently than fighting against the system.
Lyrik’s has in-house internships too!
We don’t believe students will effectively learn the methods we are teaching without them being able to exercise the principles in real time. If you know anything about our Executive Director Kyle Hollins, then you know how he feels about Controlled Choas. He believes that real learning happens at the moment. Too often, the learning curve happens with extreme consequences. At Lyrik’s, we are allowing young adults to get real-world learning experiences at the same time as they are learning real-world social and emotional skills. Mr. Hollins continues to press organizations to see that real-world learning is not just about work. It is how young adults socially interact in those environments also. Certified instructors teach these internships. We also have an extensive community partners list that requests qualified intense they can hire for special projects.
What about their scholastic education?
We will hire certified teachers to make sure students that are coming to our program that are still in school have the chance to continue learning and turn their assignments in. This gives students more intentional support with their learning also. Students that are suspended often get behind with their assignments. We will cut out time specifically for them to get this work done.
Who will you be serving?
- Young adults (13 - 25)
- Referrals from Juvenile court, municipal court, state court, Federal Court
- Identified gang members
- Participants that have been shot
- Male and Female
- Students that have been suspended for long periods
Where will the participants come from?
Kansas City Public Schools
Boy and Girls Club
Swope Health Services
KC Common Good
Lyrik’s Institution’s Hang Outs
Boy and Girls Club
Swope Health Services
KC Common Good
Lyrik’s Institution’s Hang Outs
What are the outcomes that you want to see?
- 70% of students will have an increased understanding of community and social norms
- 70% of students will have increased awareness of school or community climate
- 70% of students will have an increased understanding of Individual attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors
- 70% of students will have an increased understanding of relationship dynamics
- 70% of students will have an increased understanding of thinking strategies
- 70% of students will have increased awareness of thinking barriers and thinking errors
- 70% of students will have an increased understanding of negative emotions and how they affect the body and behavior
- 100% of youth will have a safe space to socialize and safe activities to engage
- 100% of youth in attendance will be connected to community, civic, family, academic, and health resources.
- Of those who complete, 90% will gain knowledge and skills in the following areas: emotional intelligence, financial management, critical thinking, creative arts, business management, corporate operations, and leadership skills.
- Lyrik’s will alter the climate of a school by teaching students and staff simple rules and activities aimed at improving child social competence and reducing aggressive behavior.
- We will see significant gains in teacher-reported social competence for students.
- We will witness child-self-reported peace-building behavior
- Significant reductions in aggressive behavior in school and community.
The suspension intervention was designed to deter long term suspensions and to offer young adults that have had repeated suspension for the same issue or related issues ways to find better and effective ways to deal with issues they are facing when they go to school.
Suspension Intervention (10 student classrooms)
-7:20 am to 2:45 pm
-Five days a week
-Or length of suspension
Criminal and Violent Interventions and transitions
This intervention aims to provide support to students who have had issues with criminal behavior and violence in school, as well as those transitioning out of juvenile court and detention centers. These young adults have faced extreme challenges and have had to find solutions to their problems with limited understanding, often making decisions beyond their years. Lyrik's intervention seeks to be a support system as these students navigate both school and life after the choices they have made.
With the brain not fully developing until the mid-20s for males and early 20s for females, these students are making decisions that can have significant long-term consequences without proper guidance. Some students may be on the brink of expulsion, and this intervention seeks to act as a deterrent before that happens. Additionally, for those coming out of juvenile court, they may have developed instincts and norms that are not applicable in the real world or in school. Lyrik's intervention aims to provide a bridge of support as these students return to school and navigate this challenging transition.
Overall, this intervention is designed to provide the necessary support and guidance for students who have faced significant challenges and help them overcome those challenges to achieve success in both their academic and personal lives.
Criminal and Violent Interventions and Transitions (10 students per classroom)
We are currently in partnership with Metro Polution Community College to bring certified instructors to teach certifiable classes. Students transitioning back to school can walk away with an identified career path. Students will also identify pathways to jobs in their field or stepping-stone jobs that can help them gain skills that will lead them to their passion (career).
Career Pyramid Internships
Too often, young adults pursue careers simply for the financial gain without considering their interests and passions. This can result in them entering a field they dislike and may eventually lead to dissatisfaction and burnout. The Career Pyramids program helps students identify their passions and develop a clear pathway to a fulfilling career that aligns with their values and interests.
By understanding a student's cultural background and experiences, the Career Pyramids program is designed to be culturally relevant and help students achieve success in a way that is meaningful to them. Through this program, Lyrik's aims to provide young adults with the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals and lead a healthy, fulfilling life.
Career Pyramid Internships (13 Students per class)
This program focuses on helping young adults examine their thought processes and think about their thinking. Often, individuals who have had to rely on survival instincts may not realize that their solutions may not be effective in the long term, and may continue to use solutions formulated during their teenage years well into adulthood. Lyrik's program specifically targets thinking errors and criminal thinking errors in a culturally relevant manner, meeting participants where they are. The program's Culture Coaches have personal experience with criminality and violence, and have developed practical tools to navigate these issues and make effective decisions. Lyrik's program offers these solutions in a special, tailored design to help participants achieve positive outcomes.
Diversion (13 participants per class)
Our interventions at Lyrik's are designed to make a real difference in the lives of young adults. We understand that many of the participants we work with have faced difficult situations and challenges, and we want to offer them support and guidance in a way that is culturally relevant and meaningful to them.
Our programs focus on helping young adults to overcome negative thought patterns, navigate difficult transitions, and find their passion in life. We don't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, and we recognize that each individual has their own unique experiences and needs.
One of the things that sets Lyrik's apart is our ability to listen to our participants and truly understand where they're coming from. We don't judge them or try to impose our own beliefs on them. Instead, we validate their experiences and help them to find new pathways to success.
Whether it's through our Career Pyramids program, our suspension intervention, or our support for young adults transitioning out of the juvenile justice system, we strive to be a positive influence in the lives of those we serve. We want to offer them the advice and support they need to succeed, no matter what challenges they may face.
Mentoring (13 - 25)