Social service providers bring fun to Northeast Block Party

Aniaya Reed
Editorial Assistant


Organizations hosted a Northeast Summer Block Party on Saturday, July 9 at Lykins Park. The Kansas City Public Library, Mattie Rhodes Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Goodwill, and others welcomed neighbors to the free event, offering activities, food, fun and friendship.


Paula Schaaf, Clinical Therapist and Trauma Specialist at Mattie Rhodes, created paper flowers with children.


“I think the more neighbors get out and meet each other, the more communities come together,” Schaaf said. “Many times in big cities people just get lost, but here everybody knows everybody.”


Flor Rosas and Alfredo Garcia, both library assistants at the Kansas City Public Library, attended the event.


“We need to do so much for our community,” Rosas said. “Having events like this provides so much information for everyone, and it’s fun. Adults and kids need places where they can have fun.”


They were offering services like library cards, notary services, and signing people up for summer reading.


“I would like to support them by providing them with the resources they need and translating for those who don’t know English,” Garcia said.


Organizers and Northeast residents were able to socialize together, and understand the many resources Northeast Kansas City has to offer.


“Having different groups showing services and the things that are available to people is very important for communities like the Northeast,” Schaaf said.


Attendee Clarissima Contorno came with her children to get them more involved with their community, and learn of the services provided.


“They’re usually free, and there’s a lot of information you wouldn’t have thought of. My oldest child is fifteen, and I visited Children’s Mercy and they have emergency contraceptives here today. I would want my teen to have access to that,” Contorno said.


The block party created a positive environment for everyone. The organizers were supportive and enthusiastic.


“They really love the Mattie Rhodes center, and she enjoys the soccer program. They get to spend one-on-one time with the adults of the organizations, since they don’t get this time while at the programs. I really like them to be around positive adults,” Contorno said.


Schaaf enjoys working with teenagers, because they are the next world leaders and generations. She wants them to understand their value, and how to become role-models.


“I think this lets the kids know there’s things to do, safe things to do. I like to work with teenagers because they get to a certain age and they have nothing to do. We have a kick-back Friday event that we do, and they’re going to do all the planning and learn leadership skills,” Schaaf said.

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