For 25 years, Van Go has worked with area youth providing job skills training, social services, mental health support, nutrition education, and more. The depth of services provided have a significant impact on the lives of participants, many of whom attest that their time at Van Go was “lifesaving”. The greatest measure of the success of our programs is in the stories of our graduates.
Where are they now?
The question we’re asked most frequently by funders and supporters is: “Do you track the progress of Van Go participants after they graduate from your program?” The answer is a resounding, YES! Here are just some of Van Go’s alumni successes.
The Van Go program helped me dig out the creative side of my personality that I had been hiding all my life. The program has given me opportunities to express myself in ways I wouldn’t have before. Without Van Go I am certain I would not have the level of confidence that I do now. The Van Go family made my dreams become a reality!
If you told me 3 years ago I’d be a high school graduate attending KU in the fall, and being happiest I’ve ever been, I genuinely wouldn’t have believed it. In all the lows and highs, Van Go supported me. Whether that be a safe space for me to share my feelings, help me make a job resume, or even find scholarships; I don’t think any of that would have been possible without the never-ending support this program and its people have given me. Finally, something I and many others have often said is that Van Go has never felt like a job. It’s a family. Van Go truly does change lives because it’s definitely changed mine.
Van Go helped me connect with mentors who had the very specific knowledge I needed to apply to my own artwork. Taxidermy is a craft that requires a particular set of skills. If I had continued to try to develop these skills all on my own, I’d never have gotten as far as I have in this amount of time. I will always be grateful to Van Go for facilitating these connections with my teachers.
Van Go helped me create my vision of success by giving me the confidence to pursue my dreams... I now work at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I have a baby and an amazing husband. I didn’t drop out of high school. I think my work ethic really grew and developed through Van Go; they are my family.
2020 Services by the Numbers
Work opportunities provided for youth
Unique teens and young adults employed
In wages and stipends paid to youth
Individual snacks provided
Individual meals served