SHIFT aims to give teens in Spring Hill, Kansas a safe, understanding environment to spend time with peers and trained adults, to shape their future and their present, and to give them someone to talk to and creative, fun ways to spend their free time.
We are absolutely here to listen to our teens when they need someone to lend an ear, to show them that we care, and to be there when they need us. We aren’t counselors, but instead, we are parents and community members who care.
We aim to diversify our projects to be sure that all teens, regardless of interests, have a way to feel a part of the community. The number one thing that has been expressed to us while building our program is that teens in Spring Hill don’t always feel like they have a place to be, and want the community to feel invested in their lives, not just in the future, but in the here and now. That’s the void that SHIFT is aiming to fill with our programs and projects.
SHIFT offers free monthly events for teens, complete with free food and plenty of fun. This allows teens to have a free and fun way to spend time with friends in a safe, supervised location. In the past, we have had dance parties, outdoor events with lawn games and a kickball game, karaoke and board game nights, and movie nights.
We are hoping to soon offer classes like makeup artistry, cooking, and financial planning for teens. We have previously offered self-defense and anti-bullying training and classes in conjunction with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, a hair- and skin-care class with Perfect Details, and a car maintenance class with J&T Automotive. We would like to partner with more skilled volunteers in the future for additional free classes and training for teens.
SHIFT has a mentoring vision that includes three parts. Our future goals include teen volunteers acting as mentors to elementary students to help teens gain leadership and mentoring skills and to help the youth in our community grow as they approach the age where they’ll be a part of SHIFT themselves. We would also like to have adult volunteers acting as mentors to teens in need in our community, and finally, we would love to have local businesses acting as mentors for a long-term career mentoring program that goes beyond a short-term job shadowing program.
Teen Talk and Text Line
In the future, we would like to put a teen talk line in place, which would have a trained person to take phone calls, texts, and emails from teens who need someone to talk to. Our goal is for any teen that needs someone to listen, to be able to reach out to a volunteer they can talk to. We don’t aim to have all of the answers or solve the teens’ problems, but many teens have said they purely want someone to lend an ear after a bad day, a rough patch, or a bad grade. We’ve also had teens express that they’d love someone to listen when they need to celebrate a small or large victory in their lives, and the teen talk line is there for both of these things.
A teen center will eventually be a “hub” for SHIFT activity, both acting as an event space for our upcoming events, as well as an open format that allows teens to play pool, ping pong, and video games in louder spaces. It will also feature a quiet space for board games, quiet study spaces, and a snack bar that will act as a revenue stream for SHIFT. Our aim is that teens will take personal ownership of the space by helping to care for it, and we would love for it to be a space that all teens feel welcome to spend time at.
Outdoor Recreational Multi-Court
SHIFT would like to get the entire community active at a skate/bike park, a futsal/volleyball/basketball combined court, and a set of batting and pitching cages. This would be a space that would bring families together and give teens an outdoor location to spend time and stay active together.