Center for New Americans

Healthy People, Healthy Communities

Molly Keenan, Healthy People, Healthy Communities Coordinator

Jewish Vocational Service has partnered with the United Way of Greater Kansas City to implement the Healthy People, Healthy Communities Program. The program is working to enroll uninsured people in public health insurance programs, namely Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), though information and other assistance is available as well. We are not limited to any specific population, but JVS's background in working with immigrant and refugee populations, we are focusing primarily on uninsured groups with a language barrier.

We are partnering with many organizations in the community to better assist the uninsured population. We have done outreach at schools, community health fairs, safety net clinics, community centers and places of worship. If you know of any organizations or groups whose clientele would benefit from this service, please refer them to our program! We assist with completing and submitting applications, renewal forms, provide status checks and aid in simply navigating the system. We can also make referrals for other health insurance options, including discount programs and private insurance.

Molly studied Intercultural Studies and Community Development at John Brown University, which led to her interest in a variety of cultures. Before jVS, she worked with a refugee resettlement agency in Chicago, aiding clients through the immigration process. She also served as a community health coordinator during her year of AmeriCorps volunteering and just recently moved back to Kansas City to be closer to family.
If you or someone you know would benefit from this service, or would like more information, contact Molly Keenan at 816-471-2808 ext. 1130 or

The United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is our primary funding partner for our Center for New Americans.
 The Center for New Americans (CNA), located at 1620 Baltimore, opened January 6, 2004. It is the home of the JVS Resettlement Program, formally known as the Nationalities Center and operated by the Don Bosco Center for over 30 years. We are prepared to assist refugees from any country and we have received refugees from Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Cuba, Burundi, Vietnam and many other countries around the world.
As the premier resettlement agency for western Missouri, JVS is responsible for meeting newly arrived refugees at the airport, welcoming them to their new home, moving them into apartments, orienting them to American culture and assisting them with becoming self-reliant by helping them find jobs. Since refugees are either fleeing war torn countries or leaving refugee camps where they have lived for several years, many come to this country with very little personal possessions. Many have limited or no English language skills. Most do not have any support system. Without the JVS Center for New Americans, these future American citizens would have nowhere to turn in their time of need.
JVS provides the following services to newly arrived refugees:
  • Case management                                                                      
  • Transportation assistance
  • Citizenship classes
  • Pre-drivers education
  • Relationship enhancement classes
  • Health benefits
  • Employment services
  • Transitional cash assistance
  • Clothing, housewares and furniture

    JVS needs your donations for our Center for New Americans. JVS staff members who establish refugees in their apartments must do so with items donated form members of the community. Donations can be dropped off at 1608 Baltimore, Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. You can also contact Steve Lindsay at 816-471-2808 or  to see if pick-up may be available for your items. We are in particular need of the following (all clean and in working order, please):

    • Twin & Full sized beds and bedding
    • Furniture: sofas, coffee/end tables, kitchen tables & chairs
    • Lamps, alarm clocks, radios & televisions
    • Irons and ironing boards, vacuum cleaners, toasters
    • Kitchen items: cookware, utensils, plates, bowls, glasses
    • Insulated winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves (preferably waterproof)
    • Sewing machines
    • Personal hygiene items: toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, sanitary napkins
    • Baby items: clothing, car seats, supplies, furniture
    • Clothing: men's, women's, outerwear & shoes
    • New Children's underwear and socks (all sizes)
    • Educational toys (all ages)
    • School supplies: backpacks, pencils, paper, crayons
    • Computers in working condition
    • Monetary donations*
    • Gift cards to Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, etc.*

    Due to space limitations we are not able to take exercise equipment or king size beds. Donation pick ups are only available on Tuesdays.

    * Gift cards and monetary donations can be mailed to:
    Attn: Joy Foster
    1608 Baltimore,
    Kansas City, MO 64108
    Other donations accepted at 1608 Baltimore from 8:00-4:30 p.m. Mon. – Fri.