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Ballard Community Services
PO Box 7
Lawrence, KS 66044
785-842-0729 - Ballard Center
785-842-0440 - Penn House
Ballard Community Services is a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide an affordable, high-quality early education program and essential basic life assistance to low-income families and individuals in need.

Dear Ballard Friend,

We are in full swing of summer at Ballard Community Services, enjoying the fruits of our garden and our ability to spend time outdoors with clients and children. This time of sunshine is refreshing after cold and rain for so many months, and now we take a deep breath and prepare for the future of our programs.

We are delighted to announce that Ballard’s programs are running smoothly and successfully. We are serving more people with more efficiency and efficacy than ever. With a mindset of solidarity, we have approached our work with renewed enthusiasm and have changed our approaches to meet the needs of the community. More collaboration with other non-profits, more client-centered programming, more avenues to help people toward self-sufficiency all mean that we make a difference in concrete ways every day for the good of our individual clients and the community as a whole.

You will be heartened to see the level of success that Penn House is able to create as a result of the strengths-based case management program, which has grown to include 6 strengths coaches and 40 current clients. By working closely with Just Food, Penn House has been able to streamline its resources. Moving the food pantry out of Penn House and over to Just Food permanently has opened the door to allow for more focus on moving clients toward self-sufficiency and not duplicating resources that already exist in the area.

Ballard’s early education program has transformed in the last year. We are now a Positive Behavior Support host site, which means we have the good fortune to be the recipient of intensive coaching and support in the PBS program provided by the Douglas County Child Development Association. Our focus is on creating socially and emotionally healthy children and families, so that future academic success is not threatened by emotional crisis or lack of healthy social skills.

All of this progress is exciting. What we do is a source of joy every day. Every move is a labor of love, and we know that our role is uncommon and our approach is personal, and for that we are so grateful. Our job is to make sure that the children in crisis situations are nurtured, safe, and loved, even though their home lives might look bleak. Our job is to provide hope and encouragement to people when the rest of the world is a symphony of “No.”

Recently, we had Natalie, a single mother of five who had three small children under the age of three in care at Ballard. Natalie’s struggles with addiction lead to loss of her part time job, and eventually loss of their housing. Natalie’s own mother was schizophrenic and unable to provide support or relief for the family. Her older children had already been removed from her custody, and she was struggling to maintain with the three small ones. Her placement at the Community Shelter was revoked due to an incident with another resident, and things looked more and more futile. Ballard staff worked diligently with Natalie, acquiring resources to help her put gas in her car to drive to job interviews and pull together funds to stay a few nights in a motel with the children. Our teachers washed the children’s clothes on site, sent them home with food from the pantry that could be eaten without the need of a stove, and our Family Connections Coordinator stayed in close contact with case workers from The Department of Children and Families and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

I wish I could say this became a story of success for Natalie. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts to move forward positively, her past came back to haunt her and she was put in jail on a prior charge. That day, through tears, we called the police to come take the three children into protective custody. We worked with the DA’s office and met with the foster parents to ensure the children would have continuity. We knew that Ballard had provided a source of stability and love for these children in such a difficult time, and we wanted to be sure we could continue that for them.

Unable to pay, and without qualifying for DCF support, we had allowed Natalie to leave the children in our care free of charge. We knew it was the right thing for the children. We wanted to continue to be able to support and nurture these toddlers, even after Natalie’s incarceration. That consistent space for them to grow and thrive would make all of the difference in their young lives. Our focus became solely on the children, and how to best serve their needs through multiple crises.

Exceptions like these are difficult to make and strain our already limited resources. But we are not a business. We are a service agency, and we find ways to serve our population – those who are vulnerable, alone, and at risk – whenever and however possible.

We need your support to be able to continue to work in solidarity with the community, to provide a hand to hold and a respectful and loving partnership to those who count on us, from the littlest of charges to seniors who cannot survive on their limited incomes with medical expenses and nutritional barriers. We need your support to say “Yes” to hope and “Yes” to transformation and “Yes” to children, no matter what the circumstances of their lives might be.

Your partnership with Ballard Community Services changes lives. You can say “Yes” to those who need you and we want to facilitate your “Yes” in ways that make real and meaningful differences. Please join us in providing the keys to hope and standing in solidarity with our entire community.

Thank you for your support and for being the change you want to see. We are humbled by the graciousness of Douglas County and by the ability to continue to nurture hope every day. Contribute today by mailing a check to PO Box 7, Lawrence, KS 66044. Or go online and donate via Paypal at www.ballardcenter.org.


Megan Stuke

Director of Development

Ballard Community Services

Ballard Center Food Pantry Hours: 1:00 - 5:00 pm M - F

Penn House Hours: 8:30 - 4:30 M - F