Kansas City Public Library North-East Branch‘s Youth Librarian Samantha Edwards shares free books with children at Mattie Rhodes’ Block Party at Budd Park on May 14. Photo by Abby Hoover

Budd Park

Mattie Rhodes Center hosted a Block Party in Budd Park Saturday afternoon.

“The general purpose is to get people back out into the neighborhood, to experience it, have fun, and take advantage of some of the amenities that we have here like Budd Park,” said Scott Wagner, Director of Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT). “So our desires are simple, but it is very necessary.”

The organizations hope to host additional block parties in July and October. About 15 organizations were represented at the event, which provided opportunities to have fun and learn a little bit, and share resources that are out there.

Lykins Neighborhood Association. Photo by Abby Hoover
Show Me KC Schools passes out information to Northeast residents. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi
Kids spin a prize wheel at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of KC booth. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi

The northeast corner of Budd Park, where the event was set up, was full of activity Saturday, with businesses new and old scattered around the block. 

“That’s what we want here in Indian Mound,” Wagner said. “We want activity, and activity comes in the form of the businesses, it comes in what’s going on at the park, and the more positive activity you have in the neighborhood, the more likely the negative activity goes away. Seeing all this is very gratifying, and of course, having folks come out like they are today, that’s equally as gratifying.”

Paula Coyote Schaff, Clinical Therapist and Trauma Specialist at Mattie Rhodes Center paints faces for the Spring Block Party event at Budd Park. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi
Kids spin a prize wheel at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of KC booth. Photo by Abby Hoover

The mini-pitch project, sponsored by Mattie Rhodes, was finished last year at Budd Park.

“There are some schools that are taking advantage of it, groups of kids taking advantage of it,” Wagner said.”And so you know, again, bringing activities – programming the park, so to speak – that’s a huge part of what we do.”

Mattie Rhodes Center and La Incondicional Cocina provide free tacos for the Spring Block Party at Budd Park. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi

Concourse Park

Ryogoku Soccer Academy, Independence Boulevard Christian Church, Ollama, KCPD, 816 SFC, and other area organizations hosted a community event at the Concourse on Saturday.

Area children play yard games at Concourse Park. Photo by Abby Hoover

Community engagement was the main focus of the event, said Hector Moises Solorio, director of coaching at Ryogoku.

“And bringing people together as a way of saying, ‘thank you,’ to the community and everybody that’s helped Ryogoku to get to the stage that we are now as a school,” Solorio said. “With community members, with community businesses, coming together and offering this type of service for the community.”

Ryogoku Soccer Academy students pose for a photo in front of the Concourse Park fountain. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi

Ryogoku, based out of Independence Boulevard Christian Church at Independence and Gladstone Boulevards, works with sixth through ninth grade boys.

The event served at least 50 Northeast children and their families, providing resources from 12 different organizations, food and fun. The young school is actively recruiting students within Northeast. 

Members from Jerusalem Farm discuss new community survey with area residents. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi

“[We’re] really trying to put an emphasis on kids in the Northeast and the East districts and making sure that they have high quality educational options, and we can provide high quality soccer education as well,” said founder Brad Leonard. “We do kind of a year round model, so we take some time off in December, we take some time off for Ramadan. Because of our Muslim population, we want to be respectful of that time. Then we take a few weeks off in the summer. So it’s a unique model, but I think keeps the kids very actively engaged and keeps their learning at a very high level.”

Bike Walk KC and Ripples For Change booth. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi

Ryogoku is currently working with Mattie Rhodes and the Veterans Project to fundraise to help youth in the neighborhood secure safe and stable housing.

“Thank you to all the organizations that were part of this event and we appreciate the support and dedication that you have towards our institution,” Solorio said, adding that they have another event coming up on July 9.

KCPD East Patrol PIO Edwin Gordillo and his family share ice cream with children attending a community appreciation event at the Concourse last weekend. Photo by Abby Hoover
Families play yard games at Concourse Park. Photo by Bethany Alzanadi