Young leaders work to inspire Kansas City’s youth

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new grassroots movement aims to improve inner city neighborhoods one person at a time. 800 Degrees Kansas City is a group made up of young adults from the city’s urban core who want to improve outcomes for future generations.

The group started during the summer of 2017 after a successful one-time youth summit sparked a desire in Earnest Muhammad to affect long-term change in his community.

“I talked to a few young people that was on the panel and asked them did they want to do this on a regular basis and form some type of group to help the community and encourage other young people to become a part of something positive,” Muhammad said.

Today, the group now has roughly a dozen members. They do weekly outreach and mentorship events, they also host monthly summits to engage and interact with inner city teens and youth.

“At the first summit we had, we had a panel and the discussion on the panel was peer pressure. So when we do our summits we make sure that we touch on a topic that we make sure that’s affecting the community,” Muhammad said.

The group is currently expanding it’s reach to help homeless teens and youth in Kansas City’s inner city.

“The homeless rate is pretty high, it’s a lot of homeless teenagers and young adults in the Kansas City area alone,” Muhammad said.

So now, they’ve purchased a  home in Kansas City, in hopes of turning it into a space that will change outcomes for homeless and displaced youth.

“ We came up with the idea to open an elevation homes for these young people and we wanted to put together a nice program and agenda for them,” Muhammad said.

This project is based off the principle upon which the group was founded, that an ounce of positivity can spark unbelievable change within the community.

“I think people in the community will be in a better predicament as a whole so if they know about this then maybe they won’t experiment with these types of things, drugs, gangs ,” Muhammad said.

In addition to conducting monthly fundraisers, 800 degrees KC has a GoFundMe page to help raise money for their home.

To learn more about the group, visit 800 Degrees KC on Facebook.