TOPEKA JUMP

Topeka Justice, Unity, and Ministry Project

Background

The Topeka Justice, Unity, & Ministry Project (Topeka JUMP) is a congregation-based justice ministry organization that brings together religious congregations in the Topeka/Shawnee County area to do justice. In contrast to charities or direct service organizations, Topeka JUMP seeks improvements to systems (e.g., school system, criminal justice system, etc.). Unlike advocacy organizations, Topeka JUMP trains religious leaders to determine the issues that the organization will act on and empowers its members to speak on their own behalf. Topeka JUMP is also unique in its mission to regularly produce large and growing numbers of organized people to Nehemiah Assemblies where solutions to crucial community problems are brought forward and negotiated with appropriate officials. By marshalling this form of people-based power, Topeka JUMP expects to make systemic improvements in the county that are long-term and sustainable.

Accomplishments

EDUCATION

In 2013, we found that 5,000 students were identified as at-risk for failure in our elementary schools. Through our work, USD 501 expanded Community in Schools into five additional elementary schools with the highest need. With continued support from JUMP, in 2014 and 2015, USD 501 expanded support services for at-risk students so that an additional 1,000 students were more successful in the classroom. Thanks to partners like the United Way, Kansas Children’s Service League, and Communities in Schools, these results are duplicated from year to year.

MENTAL HEALTH (ongoing)

After researching best practices for dealing with crisis, we learned that recovery can happen when decent housing and gainful employment are a part of the treatment plan. We have been working in the county to expand evidence-based supported employment services for people with mental illness. As a result of our work, the county has restored a total of $300,000 over the last two years to mental health services. This year, Valeo Behavioral Health and the Shawnee County Department of Corrections committed to creating a partnership that will provide a supported employment specialist for inmates upon release.

SAFE & AFFORDABLE HOUSING (ongoing)

In 2015, we discovered that there were over 7,000 families with a severe housing need (either rent distressed or unsafe conditions). We are currently working with the city to develop a plan to increase access to safe and affordable housing. Because we came together in 2016 at our annual Nehemiah Action Assembly, Mayor Larry Wolgast committed to develop a plan and he has been working with a task force to follow through on that commitment! This year the Mayor agreed to explore an affordable housing fund that, with the help of public dollars, will support improvements to Topeka’s affordable housing stock. The Topeka City Council is now engaged in the Affordable Housing discussion and we’re excited about the progress we’re going to make this year.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (ongoing)

Transportation is a barrier to employment for many people in Topeka. This year, Topeka Metro committed to develop transportation solutions that will provide access for employees working in the industrial area south of Topeka.

Current Membership (20)

  • Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ
  • Asbury Mt. Olive UMC
  • Central Congregational UCC
  • El Shaddai Ministries
  • First Baptist
  • First United Methodist
  • Gethsemane Worship Center
  • Grace Cathedral
  • In God’s House
  • Inward Faith Outreach Ministries
  • Lowman UMC
  • Mother Teresa of Calcutta
  • Most Pure Heart of Mary
  • New Mt. Zion MBC
  • Southwest Baptist
  • Southern Hills Mennonite
  • Tecumseh UMC
  • Trinity Presbyterian
  • Westminster Presbyterian
  • Westside Baptist

Contact Us

3033 SW MacVicar St.
Topeka, KS 66611
Tel. (785) 783-3721
topeka.jump@gmail.com
www.topekajump.weebly.com

Shanae’ M. Elem
Lead Organizer