From QuikTrip to QuikTrip: AHH article - August 2014
***From Quiktrip to Quiktrip: What can you do on one tank of gas? If you are in one of the Artists Helping the Homeless vans, you could spend 30 of the next 48 hours on the streets of Kansas City giving help and hope to 45 of our neediest neighbors – and in the process making it possible for police officers, paramedics and others to focus on their public safety responsibilities and saving taxpayers money.
That’s an example of what Artists Helping the Homeless accomplished during a typical 48-hour period in August 2014, thanks to the time, money, goods and services provided by our generous supporters. It all started with a full tank of gas at our neighborhood Quiktrip. Here’s the story straight from our daily log:
Filled up at Quiktrip. Beginning mileage: 50,562
• Assisted the U.S. Border Patrol to initiate a search to locate a Canadian youth who entered the U.S., but lost all his identification and now is unable to return home.
Kansas City Star: Star Shots - Best Photos from Nov. 10
With the end of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Missouri and Kansas Eyes Wide Open Exhibit, which displayed combat boots representing Missouri and Kansas troops killed in those wars, is retiring. After a final display at Mill Creek Park S...unday, Nov. 10, 2013, the boots were distributed to the homeless. Turning Combat Boots into Ploughshares: Boot Distribution was organized by the American Friends Service Committee, Veterans for Peace and Artists Helping the Homeless, which also served food. Richard Griffin (right), searching through a bin, eventually found a pair he liked. Griffin, who is homeless, said his birthday is on Veteran's Day.
FOX4 News: Formerly homeless men find hope through fitness program
- November 2013
LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — They could be any guys at the gym. Jumping up and pumping up. Nothing hints of where they’ve been. Down and out.
Joey Garett was living in his car, drunk, down and out.
“I can’t even picture myself being like that anymore,” he said.
Not since Kar Woo found him on the streets a few years ago. He finds other homeless people in his “Be the Change” van. On this day, the van is parked at a gym appropriately named “Life Transformations” in Lee’s Summit.Woo has brought a group of formerly homeless men there to exercise. They’re men he’s steering to housing and jobs, too. Woo thinks fitness is a huge factor in the men getting themselves permanently off the streets.“
Exercise naturally lends itself to say I have to have a regimen,” Woo said. “I have discipline. I have to be goal-oriented. So those help us.”
There’s also that euphoria from working out. Better than booze.“I think that’s one of the reasons I’m kind of obsessed with it a little bit,” Garett said. “Traded one thing for another, but this is a healthy thing to do.”The men work out together three to five times a week.“In the beginning, we were draggin’ them out,” Woo said. “It was sorta funny. But after three months, they would say ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.’”
And what happens at the gym is uplifting. The men are building not just muscles, but also self-esteem.“You guys are pros. All right. Nice, nice, nice,” their trainer told them as they worked out.
When the men accomplish goals in the gym, they can see themselves doing other things. Woo found Dillon Pierce in a rescue mission three months ago. And now?“
Working on getting my car and my license back, and I’m going to school the next semester,” said Pierce.
He’s going to college. The men are going from being homeless to finding fitness and wholeness.
KSHB Community Profile - Artist designs programs for homeless in Kansas City - December 2012
Kansas City Star article: "Helping homeless, one ride at a time" by Edward M. Eveld- May 2012
Besides transportation, Kar Woo offers support and a link to services that can get people off the street.
She was thin and blond, and the van driver, Kar Woo, locked in on her multicolored socks and stylish sandals. “Cool socks.”
About an hour before midnight, she’d emerged from a dark pocket near 75th and Monrovia streets in Lenexa. She climbed in with an overnight bag and confirmed she had a reservation at City Union Mission’s family shelter.
Woo got her basic information, but little else. She wasn’t a talker, and he didn’t push. She needed a ride, and he was there. That was the first and main thing. That was a start.
Until 1 a.m. every day, Kar Woo, a slender man with dark shoulder length hair that’s greying around his ears, drives around this brightly painted mini-van, with the Gandhi quote, “Be the Change,” printed in big red letters on the side. He drives it between hospitals, domestic violence shelters, schools, bridges, treatment centers, and even jails, helping people who are homeless. Read the entire article here»
Woo recognized in KC Magazine as one of the "100 People Who Make Life Better in Kansas City" - April 2012
KAR WOO: Record-high gas prices haven’t put the brakes on Woo’s desire to help those in need. Locals might see him behind the wheel of his Be The Change van as he drives the city’s homeless to shelters, rehabilitation services and more. Woo started the nonprofit Artists Helping the Homeless in February 2008, which includes a transportation service and weekly meal service for the local homeless population. Woo’s efforts give KC an extra bonus: By giving rides to those in need, Woo helps the community save tax dollars by lessening the use of unnecessary emergency services. From 2010–11, 9,271 van trips were made to assist 1,538 homeless individuals.