Columbia's kids and those making a difference in their lives

Saturday, April 21, 2012 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 3:58 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 21, 2012

COLUMBIA — This spring, the Missourian examined a topic that's often overlooked. Reporters took an in-depth look at kids and the people in the community who are making a difference in their lives.


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John Schneller, the editor for this section, has lived in Columbia for 39 years and has a grown daughter. He describes how we went about covering the topic in the introductory video above.

The idea arose, in part, from a recent award the city received for being one of the 100 best communities for children in the U.S. That award from America’s Promise Alliance singled out several local organizations: the Youth Community Coalition; Central Missouri Community Action, which provides Head Start, job training, housing assistance, mentoring and life skills; Sol House, which offers shelter and other help for homeless teens; Rainbow House, an emergency shelter for abused and neglected children and several others.

We challenged the reporters to go beyond the institutional framework of these and other organizations to find the personal stories of those involved in helping kids. In doing so, we discovered the stories of not only volunteers, but mentors as well.

These mentors were not always examples of adults helping kids, but as in the case of Michael York, kids helping kids.

By talking to those involved in improving the lives of Columbia’s kids, we learned about the challenges mentors face.

We sought out the expertise of those in Columbia running and researching programs to help children and asked them about the importance and benefits of mentoring has to those involved.

We also asked readers and residents to write in and help identify the needs of kids and those who are making a difference in their lives.

The stories in this section reflect suggestions from the community and our own reporters work. We'll also be accepting additional nominations for community members who are making a difference in the lives of kids. You can submit them at or

Thanks for spending some time with the Missourian today, and we hope you enjoy reading these stories about kids and those making a difference in their lives.

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