Impacting young lives for good

Our Story

In 1997, with a donated Checker limousine and a $2000 grant from the Kansas Arts Commission, Lynne Green founded Van Go, Inc., an arts-based social service and job-training non-profit for at-risk teens. Based on Lynne’s fervent belief that art-making is transformative and healing, Van Go provides teens, accustomed to failure, the opportunity to make public works of art—giving them a unique opportunity to succeed and connect to their community. 

What began 20 years ago as a mobile arts outreach to underserved 8-18 year olds, has blossomed into what Van Go Inc. is today: a nationally recognized, arts-based employment program for at-risk teens and young adults, 18-24. In 2006, Van Go was invited to the White House to receive the Coming Up Taller Award, the first Kansas organization to be recognized with this prestigious honor. Since then, Van Go has received the Kansas Governor’s Art Award (2008), KU’s Community Collaboration Award (2013) and in 2016 was recognized for its important work by a visit from National Endowment for the Arts chair, Jane Chu.

Van Go, which has delivered life-changing opportunities to hundreds of Douglas County’s neediest teens, now has an operating budget of $750,000.

Did you know?

Lynne Green founded Van Go with a donated Checker limousine and a $2000 grant from the Kansas Arts Commission.

Van Go Timeline

  • 1997

    Van Go founded with a $2000 Kansas Arts Commission Grant

  • 1998

    Van Go Checker Limo donated by E.G. Smith and painted by Van Go kids

  • 1999

    Began JAMS, an arts-based job-training program for 14-18 year old at-risk teens

  • 2003

    Began Capital Campaign to purchase 715-717 New Jersey Street

  • 2004

    First “What Floats Your Boat” event

  • 2005

    Van Go wins the prestigious national “Coming Up Taller” award – visits White House

  • 2005

    Van Go purchases 715-717 New Jersey Street

  • 2006

    Capital Campaign concludes

  • 2007

    Building renovation begins

  • 2008

    Van Go is winner of Kansas Governor’s Arts Award

  • 2009

    Van Go dedicates expanded facility, Dan Rockhill, Architect/Builder

  • 2010

    Launched “The Arts Train”, Van Go’s program for 18-24 year old at-risk youth

  • 2011

    Launched “Go Healthy” program

  • 2012

    Van Go Celebrates 15 year Anniversary

  • 2015

    Began “The Big Picture” Endowment Campaign to solidify Van Go’s future

  • 2016

    Endowment Campaign completed

  • 2017

    20th Anniversary Celebration

What They Say