Soaring Hopes for Healing

KCPS students participate in day devoted to Dr. King's legacy


Kansas City, January 17, 2017:  Students at Troost Elementary School sent their well-wishes into the world as part of a day full of activities to mark the National Day of Healing on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

On an overcast but relatively warm afternoon, Troost fourth graders could hardly contain themselves as they gripped balloons in the school’s playground. On a prompt from Principal Jenise Hampton, the students released the balloons while expressing hope for the world.

img_7488“Pray to let the hate go away!” student Shanelle Smith yelled.

“Have a positive mind!” Xzavior Randall urged.

The balloon launch was the culmination of a day full of activities involving students at Troost and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. That morning, King students participated in a gallery walk and music program that honored the legacy of their school’s namesake and urged young people to take positive action to make the world a better place.

The day was organized by the Huddle Up initiative through its sponsor, the Driving Force Group. The Huddle Up initiative was started last year with grant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is focused on improving academic achievement among African American males in kindergarten through third grade.

img_7503“This is really about helping change the way black males see themselves in the world and how the world sees them,” Driving Force Group Chief Executive Officer Jenny Goldstock Wright said.

The National Day of Healing is a new annual event launched to encourage people to take practical positive steps in the spirit of Dr. King, Goldstock Wright explained. Throughout the day, Troost and King students were asked to reflect on how they can promote healing in their schools and neighborhoods.

“As we release these balloons, we all need to think about how we need to heal and what we can do to make that healing happen,” Dr. Hampton said.