Turn your trash into tresaure (1)

Partner Spotlight: Re.Use.Full

AllianceNow is working hard to ensure the safety and well-being of children everywhere which can only truly be done through community connection. Building strong partnerships in Kansas City (and beyond) is one way that AllianceNow is fulfilling its mission.

Our partnership with Re.Use.Full is one way we are building our community network.

Re.Use.Full’s mission

The organization Re.Use.Full helps the community in several ways. Its goal is to connect people with stuff to give to the nonprofits that can put that stuff to good use. Re.Use.Full’s work helps community members get rid of their unwanted items, keeps stuff that can be reused out of the landfills, and ensures that nonprofits in the area get the supplies/donations that they need.

It seems so simple, right? Re.Use.Full’s mission encourages people to live sustainably within their own communities while also providing for those in need.

Meet Leslie

Re.Use.Full was founded, under the flagship Do More Good project, by Leslie Scott.

Leslie is a well-connected professional dedicated to the nonprofit sector. She is committed to bringing about positive change in Kansas City through mentoring and entrepreneurship. She is also on a mission to increase digital literacy and improve tech training in the public education system.

To achieve her goals, Leslie draws on her experience in nonprofit management, education, and workforce development. Plus, she always seeks to view problems through the lens of intersectionality.

In addition to founding Re.Use.Full and serving on the Code for KC core team, Leslie is also an author of the children’s book Forever and Ever, a dog mom to her four pups, and can often be found experimenting with ways to upcycle empty dog food cans.

She is always looking for a new opportunity to use her extensive network for good — to be the change she wishes to see in the world.

How Can You Help Re.Use.Full?

Nonprofits and organizations like Re.Use.Full rely on community members to achieve success. If you would like to help Re.Use.Full and Leslie achieve their goals, there are several ways that you can help make a difference.

Donate your gently used items.

Next time you are cleaning out your closets or garage, consider giving your gently used items to Re.Use.Full instead of dumping them in the nearest trash can. Leslie and her team will find the perfect home for them, and you can feel good about living more sustainably!

Donate your time.

If you have time to spare, you can volunteer for Re.Use.Full. Contact Leslie and the Re.Use.Full team to see where your skills can best be used.

Interested in Partnering with AllianceNow

AllianceNow is always looking to grow its community network through mutually beneficial partnerships. If you have a business or nonprofit that you think aligns well with AllianceNow’s mission, please reach out. Founder Jess’s inbox is always open!

shutterstock_1901409643

The Rise in Homeschooling Due to COVID

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of kids in the U.S. who are homeschooled has almost doubled. While fear of exposure is a big concern, some parents are also jumping from the public school ship due to losing faith in the system.


According to a report from Bellwether Education Partners, 2.6 million kids switched to full-time homeschooling over the course of the pandemic, bringing the total to nearly 5 million in the country. Census data estimates 11% of American households homeschool their children.

COVID Exposed Flaws in the System

Months of virtual learning in 2020 allowed many parents to get a closer look at exactly how and what their children are learning. Many parents found it a bit lacking.


A senior analyst at Bellwether thinks that many parents want a more individualized approach for their children. Plus, many children need a more attentive educator. Teachers often have too many children in their classrooms to give individualized attention to each child.

Safety is a Concern

The pandemic and its associated health risks are an ongoing concern for many parents, especially in areas with no mask mandates or a high number of unvaccinated people. However, there are some indirect safety concerns as well.

Many families of Asian descent had to deal with rising levels of discrimination and, in some cases, violence.

A Desire for Diversity

For families of color, another reason to leave the public school system is dissatisfaction with how the schools handle social justice topics. After the protests of 2020, many schools are either doubling down on avoiding the subjects of race and racism.

A mother of three in Virginia, Torlecia Bates, explains, “As an African American, I didn’t like the way the school was addressing some of the cultural things going on.” She started homeschooling her kids during the pandemic and isn’t sure when they will return to the public school setting. “Someone asked me when I’ll return my kids to public school, and I said, ‘When I show up in the textbooks, and I’m represented well and accurately.'”

Interested in Homeschooling?

If you are considering making the switch to homeschooling your children, AllianceNow has resources to help you succeed. You can find our homeschool resources here.

grateful

5 Tips for Teaching Gratitude

5 Tips for Teaching Gratitude

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to teach young children a valuable life lesson about thankfulness that will last far beyond the season.

Gratitude is a difficult concept for infants and preschoolers to grasp. In their early years and phases of development, they are inherently self-centered. However, as children’s thankfulness grows, they become more aware of others’ needs and feelings.

So, how can we instill gratitude in our children? It begins with a conversation with them about thankfulness, not simply for tangible items but also acts of compassion performed by others.

Here are 5 tips that will help teach your little one a gratitude mindset.

Say Thank You

Teach children to express gratitude to those who assist them. It’s as simple as saying thank you to a restaurant waitress, a brother or sister who helps them pick up toys, or a friend who gives them a birthday present.

It would be best if you also modeled the behavior yourself by thanking your child when they assist you.

Express Your Gratitude For Them…

Tell your children why you appreciate them regularly. Make it clear to them that they are unique and cherished, saying things like “I am so grateful you helped your brother tie his shoes,’ for example.

…And For Others

Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to express your gratitude for other people and things. You can make it a regular dinnertime conversation. Some families keep a gratitude journal which they add to every day.

Be Charitable

Contribute to a philanthropic cause or organization. Whether you’re donating clothes or toys, taking part in a food drive, or making cookies for a new neighbor, talk to your kids about what your actions mean to the people who benefit from your generosity.

Stay Consistent

Just like any habit or skill, staying consistent is the only way to develop it. Building a gratitude mindset will take time and practice.

The first few years of your child’s life are an excellent time to help them build the abilities they’ll need later in life. According to studies, those who are grateful are more hopeful. They’re also happier and less anxious.

By teaching our children to value what they have and what others do for them, we are not only building a gratitude mindset but also assisting them in becoming happier and healthier individuals.806

genoricity

Generosity

Whether we volunteer or donate to charities, we all know that giving helps others. Did you know, though, that the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from helping others is also beneficial to your health?

Giving has been shown in studies to improve your physical and emotional wellness.

It can have various health advantages, whether you are helping at a soup kitchen or committing to raising funds for a specific charity.

People who are generous and provide assistance to others have a lower blood pressure than those who do not, according to research. Supportive interaction with others also aids recovery after cardiac episodes.

Researchers also found that persons who volunteer their time to help others in the community have higher self-esteem, less despair, and lower stress levels than those who do not.

Does Generosity Help You Live Longer?

One study found that persons aged 55+ who volunteered for two or more groups were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t — even after controlling for age, activity, general health, and harmful habits like smoking.

Another study indicated that older adults who helped friends, family, and neighbors or provided emotional support to their spouses also lived longer than those who did not.

Make You Feel Happier?

Giving can produce a “warm glow” in the brain, stimulating areas related to joy, connection, and trust. It is why you feel good driving home from a volunteer activity, or why giving a present to someone else makes you feel close to them.

There is evidence that “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are secreted in our brains during generous actions.

When scientists examined the functional MRIs of people who donated to various charities, they discovered that giving activates the mesolimbic pathway — the brain’s reward area. Basically, generosity produces endorphins and causes the “helper’s high.”

blog

Communities are Positively Impacted by Nonprofit Support

Whether they know it or not, everyone in the U.S. benefits from nonprofits in one way or another

There are over 1 million charitable organizations in America, and they do everything from feed people to enlighten them. Nonprofits can be found helping people of every race, gender, socioeconomic background, and age group.

Nonprofits not only foster community engagement but also drive economic growth. They allow people to come together for the betterment of all. Through volunteering and monetary contributions, anyone can further the mission of nonprofits.

Charitable organizations are vital in building thriving communities through the services that they provide. Leaders in the nonprofit sector often give voice to those whom they serve, and they often understand the pain points in a community better than anyone else.

A nonprofit that has proper resources can build strong community relationships, contribute to the stability of the population, and even help lawmakers create legislation that addresses the needs of the people.

AllianceNow: Empower. Encourage. Educate

AllianceNow believes that keeping children safe is the top priority, and it will take strong community connections to protect them. By providing resources that bring awareness, educate, and promote a sense of togetherness, AllianceNow is working toward its goal.

Would you like to join the cause? There are multiple ways that you can help AllianceNow in their mission:

  • Make a donation — either one time or monthly
  • Attend our upcoming New Year’s Day event
  • Share AllianceNow’s message with friends and family

It will take all of us to keep children safe. Thank you for your support.

blog-image

Care Mental Health

Each year the World Health Organization celebrates World Mental Health Day with the objective
to raise awareness about the necessity of mental health. It also focuses on ways that care can
be given to people around the world

Mental Health and COVID

Mental health is an even bigger issue this year since the world is dealing with the lasting
impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, there
are some people who may be really struggling such as frontline medical workers, teachers,
those with pre-existing health conditions, those that have lost love ones, and those that are
dealing with COVID related disability. Still, others may have had a disruption in their mental
health care.

The silver lining is that governments and societies around the world are finally recognizing the
need to improve mental health services, and some countries “have found new ways of providing
mental health care to their populations.”

Dignity in Mental Health

WHO decided the theme for 2021’s World Mental Health Day is “Dignity in mental health.” Their
goal is to raise awareness of how certain mental health conditions can lead to discrimination,
marginalization, or even abuse. Another issue they hope to tackle is the lack of mental health
professionals in many areas of the world as well as the lack of quality care due to facilities that
are subpar.

Everyone deserves dignity, and WHO is looking to governments to enact policy that is human
rights-oriented and that prioritizes mental health treatment. They are pushing for proper training
of mental health professionals and informed consent policies.

strength-people-hands-success-meeting

The Importance of Community Involvement in Keeping Our Children Safe

“It takes a village to raise a child,” the National Education Association says. “The whole community has an essential role to play in the growth and development of its young people.”

Just like parents and family members have an essential role in a child’s life, the community also plays an all-important role in the safety and well-being of children. According to Lakia M. Scott, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Baylor University’s School of Education, children who are the most at-risk of being trafficked lack access to education, are homeless, grow up in lower socioeconomic backgrounds, or come from single-parent households. 

Parent Education Programs

Parent education programs advocate positive parenting practices that help reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They also promote permanency, well-being, and safety for children and their families. Excellent parent education programs will have the following objectives:

  • To help parents learn where they can get support from within the community by outlining available services.
  • To teach parents how to develop and practice positive discipline techniques.
  • To promote positive interaction between parents and children.
  • To teach parents the various child development milestones that should be expected based on age and ability.

Parent education programs are a core prevention service that a community can provide to decrease the risk of child maltreatment. Better educated parents can help build healthier families and communities. 

Teaching Children: ‘Who Is Safe’

Teaching children which adults in their community are safe should start at home. However, the community should offer support in this endeavor. 

Teaching children about the possible dangers they may face can be a double-edged sword — it alerts them to potential safety hazards. Still, it may dampen their curiosity to explore the world. 

According to the National Center of Missing & Exploited Children, it is more important to help children build self-confidence and self-esteem so that they can feel empowered to keep themselves away from potentially dangerous situations.

Community talks with parents and children should be age-appropriate when discussing “what if” scenarios. However, these discussions should start at a young age, and the content can then be adjusted as the children get older. 

The following are strategies that can be employed with kids of different ages: 

Preschoolers

Children younger than five are naturally curious and more focused on themselves. They can be more easily fooled by adults. 

Preschoolers should be taught basic information about their names and addresses. By using role-playing games, they can be taught about expected behaviors.

Elementary Children

Young children, elementary-aged, naturally want to be cooperative and please adults; this makes them easier to manipulate. Teaching basic safety rules is best done through repetition, role-playing games, and by offering concrete examples. 

Tweens and Teens

As children age into young adulthood, they become better judges of potentially dangerous situations. They must go into this stage with a solid foundation as they are more likely to be left without adult supervision and are also more heavily influenced by their peers. 

No matter their age, it is crucial to open up the lines of communication between children and the safe adults in their lives. 

Keeping the Community Aware of Human Trafficking Risks

The more people aware of human trafficking, the safer a community will become. Every community should have at least one active anti-trafficking resource within its midst. 

The local library is often an excellent source for resources to help educate parents and children. Multiple training events are held each year by various groups advocating for the safety of children. 

It is also essential that communities elect leaders who make the needed policy changes to end child trafficking and abuse. It takes everyone in the community to keep its children safe.

family-walks-are-the-best

The Importance and Meaning of Child Safety

Children in every nation of the world have the right to feel safe in their homes, schools, and communities. Yet, millions of the planet’s kids go unprotected on a daily basis. They face discrimination, exploitation, neglect, and abuse. 

Being left so vulnerable is detrimental to their entire lives. Children who aren’t safe are less likely to pursue their dreams or develop to their full potential.

For any child, the first line of defense is the family. Parents, grandparents, and other caregivers are the ones initially responsible for creating a protective environment. Later in life, this responsibility also falls upon daycare centers, schools, and the community as a whole. 

A community that is dedicated to the health and safety of our children will always offer

  • respect
  • active listening
  • consideration
  • assessment of concerns
  • safe and loving spaces
  • accessibility for those differently-abled
  • inclusiveness

The Facts About Safety

The goal of this article isn’t to scare you with a bunch of frightening statistics, but half of the battle is in knowing what you are up against. It is essential to understand the risks so that you can adequately prepare yourself and your children to face them.

Child trafficking affects more than 1 million children per year, and more than 200 million are sexually abused or exploited. About 22% of children around the world will receive some sort of physical punishment at home. 

But willful violence against children is not the only danger that lurks. Kids are especially vulnerable to accidents. Each year, about 1 million children die due to accidental injuries, and it is one of the leading causes of death for children in the U.S.

Children are also particularly vulnerable to receiving grievous injury or death in a car crash — especially when not properly restrained in an age-appropriate safety harness. Playing sports without the proper equipment can also result in serious injury for kids. Plus, upwards of 3,000 children are treated for injuries due to falls out of a window each year.

What Can Parents Do?

Luckily, there are ways to keep our children safe from the dangers listed above. However, to truly protect all the children, it will take strong community involvement as well as parental vigilance.

Big picture things that can help expand the safety net for our children include voting for lawmakers that understand the importance of child safety and who support legislation that will put an end to child trafficking and exploitation. Supporting community groups and initiatives like AllianceOne is another way to protect kids.

On a smaller scale, parents should teach their children the difference between a safe adult and one who is not — where they should go to seek help and who they can trust. Children should also be taught basic safety precautions such as staying away from the medicine cabinet, wearing proper gear when participating in sports, and practicing good water safety at the pool. 

Please don’t feel like you have to go it alone; there are a plethora of resources available to help parents and kids navigate the world so that everyone can live a safe and happy life.

Hyprcubd-Nick-Jess-Phillips-01

Linking tech to humanity: Hyprcubd integrates collaboration among IoT community

Editor’s note: This article is underwritten by Plexpod — a progressive coworking platform offering next generation workspace for entrepreneurs, startups, and growth-stage companies of all sizes — but was independently produced by Startland News.

Building a company that solves real-world problems for tech founders isn’t easy — but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done, Jess Phillips said. 

“It can be daunting, expensive and overwhelming to say the least,” Phillips, co-founder and CEO of Hyprcubd, said of the Internet of Things platform — designed to make it easy and affordable for fellow founders in the IoT space to bring their devices to the cloud as fast as possible.

The Liberty-based company also offers them assistance with connectivity, device management, and data management, she said.

“The industry is difficult to navigate. It’s difficult to know where to start, to piece together everything needed from the backend, to make sure the device talks to the app, to ensure the infrastructure is efficient and to decide what services to use,” Phillips said, offering a glimpse at what can become a “nightmare” scenario for founders. 

“With a company such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), they have more than 175 products to sift through and services to sort out. It is difficult to know how to choose the right one. That takes time. How do you know what to choose? How do you connect them together? What are my costs going to be? All of these are unknowns,” she detailed. 

With Hyprcubd, a variety of data from sensors and devices is combined in real time, stored, analyzed, and visualized in such a way even the most tech-novice business leader can understand it and use it to make informed decisions nearly immediately, Phillips said. 

“These issues were the things I wanted to know. I wanted to solve them — and once I did, I wanted to provide this solution for other founders, inventors, and entrepreneurs.” 

That platform can be set up in roughly 15 minutes and costs companies $10 per device — a massive savings for young companies especially, Phillips said. 

The company was born serendipitously in 2018 when a project Phillips had been working on collided with one led by her husband and co-founder, Nick Phillips. 

“It grew from two people who had two issues. Nick was working for a large company and he kept running into the same problems at work and, of course, they wanted to throw money at it and engineers at it. He said, ‘You know, I can fix this,’” she recalled, adding she was at home listening to her husband’s problem while working as a psychotherapist. 

“I said, ‘Do I take the route of fixing it?’ as a wife and say, ‘This is what you should do, honey,’ or do I take the route as a psychotherapist and analyze it and tell him what he should do? Either way it wasn’t a win-win.”

Ultimately, Phillips decided to give her husband a friendly and motivational nudge in the direction of tackling the issue himself — all the while navigating a problem of her own. 

“In the same timeframe I was designing and developing a device. I had this invention idea and he was supporting me,” she said, citing the day a cup of coffee turned the couple into caffeinated co-founders. 

“We realized that Hyprcubd and my invention were essentially growing together and it was a very interesting kind of growth. I knew how difficult it was to navigate and bring this device to the cloud and all of the pieces that were involved in that.”

Nearly three years later, Phillips has found herself leading the company and fully immersed in Kansas City’s evolving tech scene — supported by leading innovation and entrepreneurs support minds such as Lesa Mitchell, managing director of Techstars Kansas City and marketing experts that include Aaron Fulk and Eze Redwood at Lillian James Creative. 

Phillips also serves as a mentor for young women in tech through Underground Social and she and her husband participate in programming offered by Code For KC.

“Stepping into this as the CEO of Hyprcubd, knowing that I could make a difference and an impact in other women’s lives and in the community — and be a voice, because we are few and far between, there aren’t that many women in the tech industry, it speaks to my heart and its just so exciting,” Phillips said, sharing a glimpse into her past, which saw her growing up in computer science classes alongside her mother. 

“I sat in the computer labs of Kansas State University watching my mom in her computer courses. I look back and remember thinking, ‘Oh, this is just so boring,’ but I realize now that that had such a huge impact in my life,” she said, hopeful she can influence her two young daughters and her son in a similar way as she and her husband work to scale Hyprcubd. 

“Knowing that I had a very strong mother who always gave me that drive and [showed me] that you can do anything — and I’ve always believed that — I feel like I’m passing on that you really can do anything if you put forth the effort and the work. And it does take a community!”

jess

Hyprcubd CEO: From Psychotherapist to tech startup founder

For Jess Phillips, being a problem solver is simply who she is. It’s why she pursued a nearly 10-year career as a psychotherapist and child protection therapist.

Now, she’s using her skills for a starkly different path as CEO and co-founder oftech startup Hyprcubd.

To outsiders, the transition may seem abrupt. But Phillips views it as a natural extension of what she always has done — helping others identify and solve problems and achieve their goals.

“I personally have always been a problem solver. It was me searching out, ‘How do I continue helping people?’” she said.

Hyprcubd’s launch is rooted in another problem Phillips was trying to solve: finding a high-quality GPS tracking device for protecting her children and others. When she didn’t find a suitable option, she decided to invent one. Her device now is patent-pending and trademarked.

Through that experience, she encountered a number of frustrations, which led to founding Hyprcubd with her husband, Nick, a software engineer. One challenge, for example, was choosing Amazon Web Services, which offered more than 175 products and services from which to choose.

“It’s really hard creating an (Internet of Things) company because there’s so many things that you have to piece together. … It can be daunting,” she said. “How do you know what to choose? How do you connect them together? … Once I send my data to them, how do I visualize it? How can I be sure my device is working correctly? These issues were the things I wanted to know. I wanted to solve them, and once I did, I wanted to provide this solution for other founders, inventors and entrepreneurs.”

Hyprcubd removes the guesswork for inventors and entrepreneurs and provides a one-stop-shop Internet of Things (IoT) platform. Some features include managing devices and data, helping companies bring their devices to the cloud and providing real-time access to valuable data. Hyprcubd also provides device monitoring to help companies easily identify issues so problems can be fixed. The startup aims to make IoT innovation significantly cheaper and easier, Phillips said.

“We’re hoping to help other people bring their dreams to life,” she said.

For Phillips, running a tech startup hasn’t been much different than being a psychotherapist. She’s applied a number of the same principles to her new role: self-reflection, knowing that it’s OK to fail, and then moving on and learning from mistakes. Another key is being a good listener and accepting critiques from customers.

“I think that’s imperative to growth, that you’re always willing to evolve and meet the needs of your clients by working at, ‘What can we do better?’” she said.

Beyond customers, her top priority has been listening to advice and lessons learned from other local entrepreneurs and mentors, including Lesa Mitchell, managing director of Techstars Kansas City.

“Her advice and mentorship has been key in guiding me and just empowering,” Phillips said. “No matter what you’re doing, whether it be psychotherapist or tech, I think keeping your drive and being authentic to who you are is very important. … Helping people solve their problems – that is who I am. I’m a problem solver, and so that truly has been the root of this entire process. … It’s exciting to help other people succeed while also having a company that is meaningful to us.”