This Saturday: Bring Your Gloves to Ruby Jean’s Juicery!

It’s cold outside. Especially if you don’t have gloves.

Swope Health Services and Ruby Jean’s Juicery in Westport have teamed up to get gloves into the hands of people who need them, via a glove drive from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.

Here’s how it works:

glovesBring new or gently used gloves to Ruby Jean’s Juicery at 4001 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, MO on Saturday, Jan. 16. You’ll find the shop filled with other people who like lending a hand. While you’re there, learn about the healthy handcrafted smoothies, shakes and snacks at Ruby Jean’s Juicery.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can still help out. SHS Central is accepting donations at the Front Desk during regular business hours.

Why gloves?

Rachel Melson, FNP, works in the Outreach clinic with the homeless population. On her trips with the SHS Mobile Medical Unit to homeless shelters, she encountered people without gloves and saw that reserves were running low. Especially in cold weather, gloves are a necessity to anyone who’s spending time outdoors.

Rachel then contacted her friend Chris Goode at Ruby Jean’s Juicery. Between them, they put together the one-day Just Gloves event.

All the gloves generated from the event will be distributed through the SHS Mobile Medical Unit as it visits shelters and day programs throughout the city. (Learn more about the Mobile Medical Unit.)

“They’ll go to anyone who needs them,” Melson promised.

Join in! Bring gloves to SHS Central or plan on joining the fun from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at Ruby Jean’s Juicery in Westport.

Questions? Leave a comment below.

Join Us This Friday for The Polar Express Pajama Party — All Aboard!

PolarExpressPajamaPartyYou are invited to join us at the Plaza Barnes & Noble Bookstore at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, for the 30th Annual Polar Express Pajama Party.

Swope Health Services providers and associates will take part in the out-loud reading of The Polar Express at this free event. Children are invited to wear their pajamas to the event and enjoy cookies, drinks and giveaways.

This is just one part of a season-long partnership between SHS and the Plaza Barnes & Noble Bookstore, noted bookstore manager Heidi Boehm.

SHS has been designated as the recipient for the annual Plaza Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive.

Through January 1, 2016, customers at the Plaza bookseller will be invited to purchase books and donate them to children served by SHS. Customers select their own childhood favorites or choose from SHS-recommended titles.

“We are showing our commitment to childhood literacy and enlisting SHS to help us get books in the hands of kids,” Boehm said. “In this season of giving, we invite the entire community to give children the gift of a book.”

The annual Holiday Book Drive typically produces a donation of about 2,000 books.

SHS associates will also donate their time to the Plaza Barnes & Noble Bookstore’s annual gift-wrapping station during the Polar Express Pajama Party.

“We thank the Plaza Barnes & Noble for this great partnership,” said Michelle Keller, Vice President of Patient Services. “We know that books have the power to change lives. This is a way the entire community can help us make a difference and support children in this holiday season.”

The Plaza Barnes & Noble Bookstore is located at 420 W. 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64112, on the Country Club Plaza. Free parking is available in garages near the store. Questions? Leave a comment below.

The Polar Express

Saturday, November 14th: Join Us for Socks and Hops — Fun for a Cause

SocksAndHopsSwope Health Services (SHS) is hosting a new event that brings together some of Kansas City’s best craft brewers and restaurants, and YOU are invited.

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 14, at the historic City Market in downtown Kansas City. Festivities start at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. for VIPs) with a variety of locally sourced food and fresh-brewed beer. There’s also numerous raffles with great prizes, such as Academy Sports + Outdoors gift cards, AMC Movie passes and a spa treatment certificate from Spa on Penn.

The reason behind the event? To build awareness of SHS Healthcare for the Homeless program, our Mobile Medical Unit and host a sock drive. It’s also the kick-off event for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Socks are among the most-requested items at homeless shelters. Socks provide warmth and protection, and in the cold, can help prevent frostbite. We want to give socks to everyone who needs them and raise awareness of the needs of the homeless people in our community.

SocksandHopsAll proceeds benefit the Healthcare for the Homeless Program.

At SHS, our Mobile Medical Unit provides regular care for the homeless people of Kansas City. Everyone who visits the unit, on every visit, gets a new pair of socks from NotesToSelf, a Kansas City-based firm that uses socks to deliver positive affirmations.

Putting on the socks, the wearer sees a message — I am confident, strong, awesome — in present tense. The accumulation of positive messages can make an impact on the subconscious mind. It’s a subtle reminder that every life has purpose and dignity.

This event, combining great food and superb local craft beers, also gives us the chance to provide warmth and support for the homeless. Your donations of socks are welcome at the event Nov. 14.

Three ways to join in:

  • VIP — for your $75 ticket, you get designated parking, early access to the event, plus a souvenir sampling glass and gift bag.
  • General admission — for your $45 ticket, you’ll also get a souvenir glass to sample as many brew stations as you like.
  • Designated driver — for your $25 ticket, sample the restaurant food and soft drinks. You’ll have a special wristband and get a souvenir glass, too.

All attendees will also get a pair of Notes to Self socks, a gift from our official sock sponsor.

Click here for tickets. We look forward to seeing you Saturday!

Tackling Poverty — It Starts with Understanding

Donna BeegleDr. Donna M. Beegle is on a mission to educate Americans about poverty. With awareness and understanding, she believes, we can take steps to change the structural causes of poverty.

She brought her message to Kansas City last week at an event sponsored by Swope Health Services (SHS) in celebration of National Health Center Week. Nearly 50 people attended, including SHS associates and board members as well as members from SHS partner organizations and community support advocates.

Dr. Beegle has firsthand experience with her topic. She grew up in “generational migrant labor poverty” and dropped out of school to get married at age 15. By the time she was 25, she found herself with no husband, little education, no job skills and two children.

“Poverty steals your hope,” she said. “Yesterday is gone and there is no tomorrow. You just have to make it through today.”

Through personal experiences of homelessness and hunger, she explained the role of the media and social policies in segregating those in poverty from those “in privilege.”  She gave examples of well-meaning but ineffective social programs — handing out literacy brochures to people who can’t read, for example.

She also recounted a story that gave some insight into why people in poverty might be reluctant to seek out healthcare. When she was young, her school sponsored a dental screening. She was scared to death and cried so much, she ended up not being seen. Why was she so terrified? Everyone she knew who went to the dentist went to have their teeth pulled, due in part to living in poverty and not having the proper nutrition to support healthy teeth. In fact, she didn’t know anyone over 30 who still had teeth — all the adults she knew had dentures.

PovertyAt the luncheon, Dr. Beegle also shared a preview of a video documentary, featuring her and her family. Due out later this year, she feels this is another way to raise awareness and launch community action. A preview of the documentary is available on Facebook online at

“We have to consider the humanity of people in the crisis of poverty,” she said. “It’s not that people don’t care. It’s just that they don’t understand. There is an ignorance of poverty that we need to change.”

She called for a community-wide approach to removing the isolation of poverty.

“We can shift the paradigm from fighting people to fighting the systems that perpetuate poverty,” she said.

SHS President and Chief Executive Officer David Barber wholeheartedly agrees and promised the audience that Dr. Beegle’s presentation was just a first step. Stay tuned for ways you can learn more and join the dialogue.

About Dr. Donna Beegle

Donna Beegle, Ph.D., is president of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm based in Portland, Ore. She is the author of “See Poverty, Be the Difference,” a resource book for professionals who work with people in poverty.

Dr. Beegle has an undergraduate and a master’s degree in communications. Her doctorate degree is in educational leadership from Portland State University.

Resources for those working to better understand and assist those in poverty are available in her book and on her firm’s website:

Come Celebrate National Health Center Week With Us August 9-15!

Come join us at Swope Health Services as we celebrate our role in the community during National Health Center Week, August 9-15, 2015.

Here are three ways you can join in:

  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 12: A community luncheon and presentation at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, (4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64108) by Donna K. Beegle, expert on breaking the cycle of poverty. Tickets are $45 and include lunch and a copy of her book “See Poverty…Be the Difference!: Discover the Missing Pieces for Helping People Move Out of Poverty.” (NOTE: Reservations for this presentation are now closed. If you would still like to attend, call Amy at 816-599-5666 for assistance.)
  • 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, August 14: Burgers, Brews and Brainteasers — a trivia night fundraiser for SHS at Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill (817 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO, 64111). Tickets are $20 and include an all-you-can eat burger bar, drink specials and admission to the trivia contest. Bring a team of 6 to 8 or come on your own and join a team. Order tickets here.
  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, August 15, 2015: Community Health Fair at Swope Health Central (3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, MO, 64130). See exhibits, talk with our health professionals, play games and enjoy a free pancake breakfast (while supplies last). (No ticket required.)

NHS adThe federal Department of Health and Human Services declared National Health Center Week to celebrate the role of community health centers in providing high quality preventive and primary health care to patients without regard for their ability to pay.

Community health centers have increased access to health care, nationally serving more than 21 million patients annually, including those living in poverty and without medical insurance. Hundreds of community health centers across the country are taking this week to celebrate with patients and their communities.

Has Swope Health Services made a difference to you? We’d love to hear about it. Leave your comments below.

Dr. Karmen Smith Honors Mother and Supports SHS

On Friday, May 15, SHS hosted a luncheon with Dr. Karmen Smith, a Trauma Specialist and Ordained Minister based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From left: Mark Miller, Vice President of Behavioral Health and SHS CEO Dave Barber receive Karmen Smith's donation.

From left: Mark Miller, Vice President of Behavioral Health and SHS CEO Dave Barber receive Karmen Smith’s donation.

Dr. Smith’s “A Legacy of Compassion” presentation reflected on the career and philosophy of her mother, Kanzetta Harris, a former social worker with SHS. The Kanzetta Harris House, one of the SHS group homes, is named in her honor.

“My mother had a different set of eyes than I did,” said Dr. Smith. “She endeavored to see her clients the way God sees them.”

Dr. Smith recalled how she would question her mother’s compassion when applied to those who beat their spouses or robbed others for drug money.

But her mother would answer, “If I can’t see the good in those people, how can I help them?”

The heart of her message is best captured through the quote she shared and attributed to the theologian, Thomas Merton, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

At the conclusion of her presentation, Dr. Smith surprised all attendees with a $10,000 donation for the Kanzetta Harris House.

Learn more about Dr. Smith’s online workshop, Trauma to Triumph.