Highlight My Town

Our Kids Matter

The children in our community are our future.  “You Matter Ray-Pec” and “You Matter Belton” are on a mission to make sure they know.  You Matter Ray-Pec is an extension of Raymore-Peculiar Public School Foundation, and You Matter Belton is in partnership with the Belton Educational Foundation.  Both organizations seek to show students they have support around them in so many forms. 

It all started in Raymore, when news broke that the community had lost a student; the third student in 16 months.  Parents in the community came together to think about what could be done to help avoid this tragedy in the future, and You Matter Ray-Pec was born.  Kristi Schumacher, one of the original founders of YMRP, parents, community members and many business owners joined forces to try and fill a void that was showing in the community.  This void left our children in vulnerable positions, needing to be reminded they are never alone.  After seeing great success with You Matter Ray-Pec, the Belton Educational Foundation led by Sonja Abdelgawad, joined forces with Belton CARES and formed You Matter Belton.

You Matter Community Involvement

Community organizations need support from everyone in the community, especially organizations as powerful as You Matter. Though it has been difficult navigating the landscape during covid, You Matter is committed to showing up for our students. Whether it’s creating uplifting signs that are posted at the schools or passing out smiles and greetings on a Friday as students walk into school, the impact can be felt in these communities.

This movement is bigger than just a few hugs and smiles (those go a long way, too!), but You Matter is hoping to get the whole town showing support. As they aim to “paint the town,” the organizations are selling T-Shirts, putting banners in parks, and asking people to show support via social media. Ensuring our children know their worth takes a village – and You Matter is the backbone of that village in both Belton and Ray-Pec.

I joined You Matter Ray-Pec to greet students at school and seeing those kids light up as they started off their days was great. It’s so clear just how much kind words mean to the kids in this community. We all know when you’re young, the world can feel so big and overwhelming, so community members from all over showing love to these students has an impact.

Get Involved with You Matter

If you would like to get involved with the You Matter Initiative, you can find both groups on Facebook.  Reach out to volunteer, or buy one of the fantastic t-shirts they have for sale. As members of the community, and adults who care about the children of these towns, it’s important that we all show support to great organizations like You Matter. Don’t wait until it’s too late to remind these kids that they matter! Thank you to Sonja, Kristi, and all those involved who are so dedicated to creating a loving culture in our communities.