Did you know?
It costs $11 to get a state ID and $15 to get a birth certificate. Without an ID you can't get a birth certificate and without a birth certificate you can't get an ID. Crazy yes? Now imagine you are homeless, do you have your birth certicate with you? Probably not--and without your BC you can't get a job, or an apartment. If you get sick you have to have an ID to see a doctor...without that ID you have no prospects. You are stuck.
What can you do with $26?
- take a friend out to lunch ... but wait do you have enough for a tip?
- buy 8 packs of gum... maybe 9
- movie and popcorn.... but hold the soda
- half a tank of gas
- get 24 items from the dollar menu at McDonalds... Supersize me!
- get a person a birth certificate and an ID... change someone’s life
Give them Access to Success
Thats what we do here at Reconciliation Services every Thursday. We help people get their IDs and Birth Certificates so they can start their moving forward towards self-sufficiency. But before we get into that...
Who we are:
Reconciliation Services (RS) emerged in 2005 from Reconciliation Ministries, a 25-year old inter-faith organization, focused on turning Troost from a dividing line into a gathering place through community building initiatives and caring services. RS provides emergency services, therapeutic services and self-sufficiency services to individuals and families in the Kansas City Metropolitan area living around 31st and Troost ("Troost Village") who otherwise would "fall through the cracks".
What we do:
One of the cornerstones of Reconciliation Services has been its Document Assistance program, which helps individuals apply for and receive vital identification such as birth certificates and state IDs free of charge.
Reconciliation Services is the only provider of walk-in ID services is the KC Metro area. This unique service helped us obtain 1117 documents for individuals last yearfor and that was with 3 months without funding--another 3 months with limitted funding. So this is where you come in...
Okay but how bout a bit more before we go there...
Why we do what we do:
Having proper identification is extremely important, especially for those who are struggling. Proper identification in necessary when applying for employment, housing, government assistance, getting healthcare treatment at any hospital, filling a prescription, or receiving help from any other local agency. Further, proper and updated identification is often needed to properly identify oneself in the case of false accusation or misidentification. To be frank, not having proper identification can result in unwarranted and unjust jail time.
Those without it often find themselves in a terrible Catch-22 resulting in a paralysis which holds them back from moving forward. One cannot get a birth certificate with a state ID, and one cannot get a state ID without a birth certificate. Reconciliation Services does both. We take the time to call any state and to advocate for those in need. We help by allowing Birth Certificates to be mailed directly to us and picked up by applicants, as well as giving vouchers for state IDs. Walk-in services mean we help people who are in crisis.
How we got started straight from the nun (Mother Nicole is an Orthodox Nun and a full time volunteer as our Director of Programs and one of the founders of Reconciliation Services... here forth referred to as "the nun":
Around 10 years ago the first client that came to us was looking for a birth certificate from Louisiana. Katrina had just happened and as you can imagine getting anything from New Orleans was not easy! He was trying to get his retirement benefits from his old employer—money that he had placed in an account himself but he needed his state ID
He didn’t have an ID and needed his birth certificate to obtain one. The more we looked the bigger the problem grew. Not only was New Orleans under water…we still needed to find something that would be good enough to act as an ID...that would convince Louisiana that this man was who he said. I don’t remember all that we had to do to help him…but I had been meeting with him for 2 months and had not yet been successful when Father Alexii (founder and former executive director of RS) came in to work smiling. He had just been to a neighborhood alliance meeting where the issue of document assistance had been raised—he knew that I had been working with this one man so he had offered my services to anyone that needed help.
That was 10 years ago and eventually my first client did received his benefits…and when I walk around Kansas City I am known as the nun that ‘helps get Ids’ I sometimes am treated almost as a rock star when I enter public places. I hear all sorts of stories of how we help. I had no idea during those first days the magnitude of the need for this service. But now we help, when money is available, 250 clients a month obtain the necessary documents for housing, food, employment, and health care. Because of our document assistance program everyone who is anyone in Kansas City knows our name!
How you can help:
1. Help us change one person’s life by making a $26 donation, or two for $52 and if you feel up to it you can change 10 peoples life and give them access to success for a simple $260 donation... the sky is the limit. Just F.Y.I. the mean crowdrise people said you can only donate $10,000 at a time but they were kind enough to say you can make multiple $10,000 donations :)
Want the math on that one? 10,000 dollars will help 385 people get a birth certificate and ID--no one would object!
2. Start your own page here and fundraise for us... we promise we will help get the word out. Be it running a marathon or selling lemonade out on the lawn what ever you decide to do we are 100% behind you!
3. Share this page with your family, friends, neighbors, that person that owes you $26 or that other person that just won the lottery.... anyone and everyone.
How about another true story from the nun with a happy ending:
Ron came in the other day for assistance getting his birth certificate and ID. He was frustrated--he had just gotten a job at Gates Barbeque but needed the documentation before he could start to work. He came in on Thursday, our ID/BC time, and left with the needed vouchers. He was smiling as he left. After an hour and a half he called us, ecstatic, to say that he had both his birth certificate and ID, was standing in Gates and was officially employed by them. “Come any time you want Sister, diner will be on me!”
From unemployed and frustrated, to employed and exuberant all in an hour and a half, I think Reconciliation Services is doing what is needed!
We love these stories and are excited to continue making a lasting impact on our community with your help. Your money will go to continue this vital service to the community and continue to help promote individuals to move forward in their lives with the security of proper identification, a luxury we so often take for granted