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POSITIVE IMPACT: Pro Deo offers a Model of Excellence for Teen Wellness

Data from the Lee's Summit Police Department on Teen Crisis Interventions

The mental health crisis in young adults is real, and the emergency continues to grow in Lee's Summit, through Jackson County, and across the nation.

“Every child’s path to adulthood – reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills, and dealing with problems – is different and difficult... There’s no map, and the road is never straight... the challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate. And the effect these challenges have had on their mental health is devastating.”

~Vivek H. Murthy, M.D.U.S. Surgeon General

At Pro Deo Youth Center, we welcome all students through our doors and lift them on their darkest days and celebrate with them on their brightest days.


  • 52% of Pro Deo teens have self disclosed mental health concerns

The teens Pro Deo serve and their families also self-disclosed:

  • 22% of the teens we serve suffer from anxiety

  • 15% depression

  • 7% autism

  • 34% ADHD

  • 19% listed other mental health disorders, including but not limited to ODD, sensory processing, bipolar and RAD

Pro Deo is built on fun, engaging activities for youth.  Activities bring students in the door and help them build relationships.

Pro Deo is poised to expand programs, serve more youth, and create a model that can be duplicated in other communities.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Children’s Hospital Association have joined together to declare a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health.


In a joint statement they mentioned in part:

“As health professionals dedicated to the care of children and adolescents, we have witnessed soaring rates of mental health challenges among children, adolescents, and their families over the course of the COVID -19 pandemic, exacerbating the situation that existed prior to the pandemic.”


These organizations believe the mental and behavioral health of students is now a necessary focus of education. Research suggests that each day, many students go to school with mental health concerns that threaten their well-being and educational performance. School-connected mental health services can improve access to care, allow for early identification and treatment of mental health concerns, and are linked to improved mental health outcomes, which may reduce absenteeism.

Through a purpose-built space, Pro Deo can expand its offerings to include pre-vocational programs and programs to serve individuals having special needs. Pro Deo will be able to serve teens in a space they feel was made specifically to meet their needs, encouraging others to join them.

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  • Program Volunteers (semester commitment recommended)
    Every day after school, Pro Deo Youth Center provides after school programs and tutoring. Our goal is to give all Lee’s Summit teens a safe place to go where they can be loved, valued, and equipped for change. Program volunteers serve after school by leading workout classes, teaching life skills, contributing to small groups, doing art projects, and by being a consistent loving adult in the teens lives. If there is a healthy living or lifestyle skill you’d like to share with our teens please contact staff with your ideas. Requirements: at least 21 years old, volunteer application submitted, background check completed
  • Presenter/Activity Leaders
    Volunteers who have a special talent or skill that they would like to share, teach, or lead can do so by completing the Volunteer Presenter/Activity Leader form. Presenters are asked to prepare a 30-45 minute interactive or hands-on activity that is appropriate for high school age students. Depending upon the number of students participating, the presenter may be asked to do the activity twice. For example, the first group of students would be with the presenter from 3 to 3:50. Then, the activity could be repeated with a different group of students from 4 to 4:45 p.m if desired. This would ensure smaller group sizes. Suggestions for activities can be found in the Volunteer Handbook. A Pro Deo staff person will always be present when the activity leader is with the students.
  • Extra Hands
    Individuals who serve in the role of Extra Hands generally are not here to lead an activity rather they are here to assist staff by being an extra set of hands, ears and eyes. You may assist in group activities if needed, but you will also be there to build relationships while having conversations with teens. If you see or hear something going on with the teens, report those instances to staff. We appreciate Extra Hand volunteers who are willing to volunteer on a regular basis, whether it is once a week, twice a month or whatever works best for your schedule.
  • Drivers
    We are always looking for more volunteers to help us transport teens. Transportation is always one of the biggest barriers that keeps teens from being able to attend Pro Deo Youth Center and we would like to reduce that barrier as much as possible. After School drivers will arrive at Pro Deo Youth Center at 2pm, drive one of our 15 passenger vans to the designated local high school and bring those teens back to Pro Deo. We are also seeking volunteer drivers to help transport teens home after programming at 5pm.
  • Tutors
    Skilled tutors are what makes our Tuesday/Thursday Homework Room possible. This volunteer position will work one on one with a teen or assist a small group of teens if they are working on the same project.
  • Corporate, Church, or Group Volunteers
    Groups can volunteer in two ways: teen interactions or one-day/short term projects. Teen interactions include anything from providing Friday night dinners, sponsoring a fun evening outing, planning a holiday party, or even just organizing games or activities for our teens to do during after school programming. One day projects can include facility projects such as cleaning, outdoor work, organizing the supply closet or any other project suggested by a staff member.
  • Community Service Hours/Court Ordered Hours
    Teens or other individuals may volunteer with Pro Deo for community service hours. Projects include cleaning, organizing, doing office work, or other tasks needed to assist staff.
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