Synergy Services has broken ground on a new Children’s Center at 4512 N. Antioch Road, Kansas City, North.
Once completed in late August or September 2016, the center will be a dedicated facility to serve children who have been abused, neglected or have other serious family problems. Last year, Synergy had to turn away 300 children from their SafeHaven women’s shelter because of limited beds and resources.
“We try to reach out to families who are in crisis and provide help and support for their children. The goal is to keep families intact if we can help them,” said Robin Winner, Synergy’s executive director.
The Children’s Center will serve children from infancy to 12 years old. Many have been abused; they are often malnourished with serious illnesses or infections caused by poverty, abuse and neglect.
The Children’s Center is not a foster care agency, and the average stay for a child is 35 days.
When completed, the 10,000-square-foot Children’s Center will provide advocacy services, mentoring, educational services, group and play therapies. School-aged children will attend the neighborhood public school, and pre-school aged children will have appropriate educational and developmental activities at the center.
The site of the future Children’s Center was donated by the late Clay County Judge Stephen Pratt, who donated a house and 6 acres to Synergy in 2008. Pratt had seen domestic violence cases in his courtroom and knew of Synergy’s work with women and children.
“He gave it to us with the stipulation that we use it to help children and families,” Winner said.
The Children’s Center is part of a $7 million project that also includes renovating the SafeHaven women’s shelter, renovations in the Pratt home, and the construction of an activity center and courtyard where children can play.
A common theme for Synergy is “safe today and strong tomorrow,” Winner said.
“It’s not shelter from the storm, but learning to dance in the rain,” Winner said. “You’re never going to be totally out the storm but if you can learn how to dance or succeed and flourish despite the trauma ... you’ll be able to go on to lead a successful life.”