Community Connections

Reproductive + Sexual Health Class:
Off to a Great Start

Laughter–nervous, relieved, and full-bellied–fills the Community Room during our new Reproductive + Sexual Health class. Varied laughter makes sense: U.S. society places a number of taboos on open, honest discussions of sex, gender, sexuality, and reproduction. Laughter can provide a needed release when you consider for the first time that all your hair will eventually turn gray. Laughter can lead to a deep breath and sigh of relief when you realize you’re not the only person to think or ask questions about discharge, vaginal odors, and why we use metaphors instead of calling body parts by their names.

Geared towards women, nonbinary folks, and people with vulvas, this free course covers topics including healthy relationships, anatomy, family planning, and pleasure. Lead by local experts, each class provides participants with space and time to learn, reflect, and be vulnerable. During her second class, one participant noted that, “it can be hard to talk about this, we don’t often get the chance.” And she’s right. Folks growing up in Kansas and Missouri might never have received a “sex ed” class and definitely not one which takes the seven pillars of inclusive sex ed into account.

As participants learn in Week 1:

Sexual + Reproductive Health includes the ability to have a satisfying and safe sex life,
the capability to reproduce, and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so.
Sexual + Reproductive Health is not just the absence of disease; it includes social,
physical and mental well-being.

Reproductive + Sexual Health classes offer important information to help folks understand and protect their bodies, minds, and right to choose. In recent months, the Missouri legislature proposed and passed laws which impact Women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and push abstinence only education. Having a weekly time to educate is now increasingly vital, especially for folks from queer, trans, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and additional historically divested from communities.

This class is offered By Black and Brown folks, For Black and Brown folks. Laughter creates community, so take a breath and join in.

The current group, Cohort 2, meets on Thursday evenings. Cohort 3 starts in mid-June and will meet on Tuesday evenings. Free dinner and childcare is provided for all participants. Each course lasts seven weeks.

Interested in joining Cohort 3? Enroll here >>

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Youth Journeys Spotlight

Thank You Principal Snipes!

The halls of Faxon Elementary bustle with activity. Amidst it all, Principal Kathleen Snipes cuts a confident and noticeable figure. In her day to day role as Principal of Faxon Elementary, she touches the lives of over 300 students and more than 55 Front Porch Alliance volunteers. Recently, Principal Snipes announced her retirement from Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS), closing this chapter of a 30 year career in education.

Principal Snipes joined the Front Porch Alliance family in July 2012. Over lunch, she met with Charlotte Davison and Jill Coughlin to learn more about Partners Active in Learning (PALs). Our longest running program, PALs uses intergenerational mentorship and tutoring to supplement classroom learning and help students gain confidence in Math and Reading. For PALs and students, weekly visits are often the highlight of their week! Asked about a favorite moment or story, Principal Snipes noted, “10 years of kind-hearted stories fill my brain. I can’t pick just one!”

Principal Snipes in her sun-filled office.

Principal Snipes and Charlotte Davison in Faxon's entryway.

According to Charlotte Davison, “I've seen the school blossom under her leadership, the staff increase and stabilize, the atmosphere of the school become more vibrant, and growth in student performance increase. I consider her my boss at Faxon, supporting and helping to direct the PALs' work with her students.” When she saw how well PALs supported her teachers and students, Principal Snipes threw her support behind the program. Great teachers drew Principal Snipes to her career in education, and we are glad her support of student learning extended beyond the classroom.

In retirement, Principal Snipes looks forward to more time with family and friends, though she did note she’ll continue to see our PALs. “Funny story…one of our PALs has a place at the same lake. I see him at the local Farmer’s Market!”

“Thank you, Kathleen,” said Charlotte, “for your grace and respect for the PALs and their work with your students. You show respect for your students, parents, teachers, staff, and community. You've made Faxon a far better school than when you came. I hope you have many happy hours ahead of you with a fishing pole in your hands and time with your family. The PALs and I will miss you but are looking forward to seeing what your next chapter will be! We are confident you will be making a difference in whatever you choose to do.”

Principal Snipes, thank you for your years of service to KCPS, Front Porch Alliance, our PALs program, and the Eastside! We wish you the best in the next chapter of your life.

If you would like to volunteer as a PAL, please contact Hanna Hochstetler, Youth Programs Coordinator:
   Phone: 816-921-8812
   Email: YouthJourneys@FrontPorchAlliance.Org

Parent Perspectives

Inspiration + Helpful

Written by Leischele Carter

Accompanying children, parents, families on their parenting journey is one of my greatest privileges as an community-based organization. As a Parent Coach in the Nurturing Parenting Program, I get an intimate opportunity to see families move from prenatal to toddler stages. In this role, I also reflect with the families on their experiences in the program. I recently spoke with one of my first families, who joined Front Porch when their children were in the womb. 

The H-C Family joined our Neighborhood Families program in July of 2018 and currently is in the latter part of the program with the children approaching 4 years old. The mother of the family shared that when she found out that she was pregnant she was in a place of searching for where she could get support and education about parenthood as much as she could. She was active on a lot of parenting groups on social media and was contacted by a parent coach at Front Porch, who shared our vision, mission, and the logistics of the program. From there the family met up with the Parent Coach, enrolled in the program, and have been consistent, dedicated participants since then. 

Mom shared that she joined with an intent to educate herself about parenthood and how to support the education of her children. Mom expressed that since enrolling, she gained that and more. Asked to share two words describing her family's experience, mom said:

Inspiration and helpful

Mom expresses that the inspiration comes in when:
 “there may be times where you are too involved in yourself or the kids
and having someone to encourage you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

Nurturing Parenting was helpful in the sense that she has learned resourcefulness and how to use available resources in the community to support her family. 

 We were able to discuss the things that the family enjoyed, like making intentional time each week to do activities together and take those activities and develop them at home. They also expressed enjoying the growth that they have had as a parent and as a family in their mental, emotional and physical health. Overall Mom shared that Front Porch has been instrumental in her journey as a parent as well as her children's development. The family expressed looking forward to seeing how they and other families that have been part of the program can later support Front Porch Alliance as they grow out of the program. 

Community Corner

Breastfeeding Support

Written by Misty Liebisch

With formula shortages affect families across the United States, breast feeding rates are on the rise, including here in Kansas City. A recent study showed that over 70% of mothers reported not having the support that they needed to reach their breastfeeding goals during the lockdown. Support for breastfeeding parents and their families is vital! Fear not however, however, since Kansas City has a few new resources out there geared towards supporting nursing mothers and their families. 

  • Saint Luke's is pleased that our in-person Breastfeeding Support Groups were been re-opened in the spring to new mothers with children under 3 months. But now, they have expanded access back to mothers and support people at any stage in their breastfeeding journey. For classes both online and in person visit  Maternity and Parenting – Saint Luke's Classes and Events ( for dates and locations.

  • The Breastfeeding Center at Advent Health for Women is available to new moms and is staffed by our certified lactation consultants. To discuss breastfeeding issues, please call  407-303-7650 to speak with one of our consultants. The Breastfeeding Center is open 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.

  • North KC Hospital runs a free support group to provide information and reassurance for breastfeeding parents. Please call 816.691.5177 to speak with a lactation specialist. There is also an in-person support group that meets approx. every Tues. Dates and times are listed on NKC website.  Breastfeeding Support Group - - North Kansas City Hospital (


Patient Education. "Breastfeeding Your Baby: Getting Started." Pediatric Patient Education (2021).

Schindler-Ruisch, Jennifer and Kathyrn E. Phillips. "Breastfeeding During a Pandemic: The Influence of COVID-19 on Lactacion Services in the Northeastern United States." Journal of Human Lactation 37, no. 2 (2021): 260-268. doi: 10.1177/08903344211003898 

Volunteer Spotlight
Tony Weiss

Written by Hanna Hochstetler

     ​Tony Weiss started coaching Robotics at Faxon Elementary in Spring 2022. The students quickly took a liking to him and he’s now an integral part of the crew. Tony shared, "My experience in the robotics program has been overall very positive. I believe this is a great program and way to get kids involved (and interested) in STEM very early on in their education and careers. This type of learning helps build critical thinking and problem-solving skills too. All of this I believe aligns with the mission of Front Porch Alliance and specifically, the mission of the Robotics teams."

     Tony went on to share that, "Watching the kids learn and seeing them excited about coding, building the robots, and completing their missions every week is very rewarding. I enjoy getting to see them use their problem-solving and innovative skills to design the robots and missions. Working and teaching kids in my local community has always been an important value to me so robotics has been a great way to give back locally."

     For those who volunteer with our Robotics teams, you know they are lively and energetic. After a long day of school, our students spend an additional two hours working with us and preparing for the competition in December. At times our practices can get a little goofy as we come up with new ways to connect with each other. 

One of Tony's favorite experiences with our Robotics teams happened earlier this year:

When we were all getting to know each other, we played
a name game where each student chose an adjective
that starts with the same letter as their name and a
dance move to pair with it. We then had to go around
the circle repeating everyone's adjective, name,
and dance move until we had them all correct.
It was a fun exercise and the kids were all very
invested in coming up with unique adjectives
and dance moves. We had a great time and lots of
laughs as it took awhile to get it correct!

Reflecting on his time volunteering with Robotics, Tony said, "Volunteering with Front Porch Alliance is a great opportunity to give back to the local community. These kids are the future of our neighborhoods, communities, and city. Investing in them is the best investment to our future we can make. On a personal note, I believe most folks would find volunteering with FPA to be a rewarding and rich experience to grow and learn from as well. Robotics in particular offers a great avenue for getting kids more involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) and teaching them about the opportunities in this field. Also, Hanna does a great job running the program, she is organized and enthusiastic, bringing positive energy and creating a fun environment to be part of. This makes volunteering very easy; I just show up and get to enjoy my time with the kids!"

Thank you for your hard work, patience, and dedication Tony!

For anyone interested in joining our Robotics coaching staff, or supporting our Youth Journeys programs, please feel free to reach out to Hanna Hochstetler:

Community Connections
Anchor Island

     Like many small KC businesses, Anchor Island Coffee has been hit hard the past couple of years. Despite dropping anchor in a community that supports their business venture, COVID-19 forced married owners Armando and Mike to close their doors only two weeks after opening. Armando and Mike, however, remained committed to their vision while navigating the treacherous waters of small business ownership. Anchor Island, as our summer 2022 Reel Collectors can attest, is a true community way station which allows customers and neighbors alike to Stay Anchored.

     A few weeks ago, Anchor Island experienced another set back when a truck barreled through the front of their shop in late September. Just hours after the collision, Armando and Mike were back to square one, literally picking up the pieces and trying to figure out how to keep their business afloat. This time though, they had the support of the Eastside community to see them through the storm. Community members showed up in the middle of the night with brooms and shovels to clean up broken glass, and utilized their social media platforms to set up and share a GoFundMe to help save Anchor Island. 

     Thanks to the help of their Eastside neighbors, Armando and Mike weathered the storm and safely reopened with a revamped first floor. They are serving coffee once again at their brick and mortar shop on 41st and Troost. There are still rocky waters to course in the aftermath, but, according to Mike, “At the end of the day, we are Kansas City’s first tropical coffee shop, LGBT, Latino and American owned ma-and-pop shop. Troost has been a great blessing to us, allowing us to not only open at the beginning of COVID, but to remain open and continue to grow. There truly are many great people in the area trying to make it in this world, one day at a time. Without the neighborhood’s love, help and support, we simply would not be here today.”

     Make a trip to Anchor Island, it’s worth it! While there, try these staff favorites and enjoy the Reel Collectors’ documentary, and Stay Anchored.

     Drink of Choice: iced green espresso
     Meal of Choice: grilled cheese

3210 Michigan Ave. Kansas City MO 64109


Front Porch Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered with the State of Missouri. All donations are tax exempt.

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