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Community Response continues to find innovative ways to address existing community challenges. We are committed to our mission of to "Develop and Implement innovative solutions to social and public health challenges that threaten the physical and/or mental health of underserved children, families and communities".  But why focus on Social and Public Health programs? Social programs provide limited cash or in-kind supports that have shown to mitigate the extent of socioeconomic health inequalities.

Public health works to improve the life expectancy and overall wellness of diverse populations. We understand that socioeconomic disadvantage is a fundamental cause of morbidity and mortality.  Community Response was developed to find creative ways to address challenges experienced by underserved segments of the Saint Louis community.  The following are some of our past/current programs.


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Community Response has a history of working to address social determinants of health, such as housing, that adversely and disproportionately impact low income  persons and communities of color.  Our Better Living Space program, was one such program, that addressed racial equity by focusing on pregnant and parenting women, identified as high risk due to social, economic and health determinants. The program provided group homeownership/housing health and safety education workshops and individualized support for parenting/pregnant mothers, addressing housing instability challenges that impact child and maternal health outcomes.



Community Response is SO proud to serve as fiscal sponsor for this awesome program, developed by Co-Founders Tosha Phonix and Kelly McGowan. The mission of EVOLVE (an acronym for Elevating Voices of Leaders Vying for Equity) is to build a community-driven platform that activates the creation of equitable food systems and built environments to support the wellbeing of all St. Louisans. Food systems impact what we eat, and built environments impact what we have access to in our communities. These factors, shaped by local government, are connected and integral in improving life expectancy among Black St. Louisans.

EVOLVE will spearhead this activation by:


  • Increasing civic awareness among residents through engaging social media content.

  • Supporting communities’ creation of self-determining food economies; this means Black communities and growers that own, benefit, and contribute to the local food system.

  • Building capacity among Black St. Louisans to advocate for the changes they want to see in their communities.

Community Garden
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*Project Connect now includes working with absent parents that wish to reenter their child(rens) lives

Nationwide, more than two millions children have a parent who is in prison. Prison can be life-changing, not only for those incarcerated, but also the children that are left behind. The impact of this reality on children is devastating and requires a proactive approach to address the social, emotional and academic needs of this underserved segment of our community. Children with incarcerated parents have unique needs. Community Response will work to lessen the trauma these children face by providing trauma informed mental health support in the form of support groups and individual counseling to children and their caregiver. Our program provides a circle of supports for children, focusing on empowering them socially, emotionally and academically.

The mission of Project Connect is “to build resilient children who are empowered to succeed academically, emotionally and socially by providing opportunities for parent and caregivers to understand and support the whole child”.

The PROJECT CONNECT program includes:

  1. Transportation to and from select Missouri Correctional/Prison Facilities for visits. Transportation will include snacks and meals.

  2. Monthly Support Activities- Children and their caregivers will participate in monthly support groups/activities focused on meeting the needs of children of incarcerated/absent parents and their caregivers.  This may include guest speakers, videos, discussions, etc. aimed at engaging each participant and sharing information, skills and strategies to address the challenges those impacted may experience.

  3. Individual Counseling- Children will be paired with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Professional Counselor to identify and address their individual emotional and mental health needs; and

  4. Remediation/Co-parenting support- Caregivers will be paired with a mental health professional to identify any barriers to co-parenting and to facilitate improved communication and a better relationship between the caregiver and incarcerated parent.  The question of focus is “How can we work together to support the whole child?”

We believe:

  • Parents can offer support, guidance and parents, even from behind prison walls

  • Children benefit from the love, support, guidance of healthy parental relationships

  • When the non-custodial and incarcerated parent partner, the child, family and community benefits

  • The support of at least one unwavering adult in the life of child is paramount. We can all overcome adverse childhood experiences to become well-rounded successful adults, with the proper interventions

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