The Grooming Project, teaches struggling moms the trade of pet grooming as a means to change the trajectory of their children’s lives. Pet Groomers earn $30,000-$100,000 working full time and the demand is so high that felonies and low education levels are not a barrier.
After years of research, it became clear that in order to help children leave poverty for good, we would have to start with their parents. If we want a child to go to school and value education, eat healthy foods, stay off drugs, and avoid teenage pregnancy and incarceration, those things have to first be modeled in the home. There are a range of school choices in our city, but a child cannot enroll him or herself. If mom is working nights and weekends in a minimum-wage job, she is likely leaving children home alone, often with a child as young as six watching a toddler. But regardless of how hard she works and regardless of what sacrifices she makes to do that work, the money earned is often a net-loss for the children—their mom is giving up critical parenting time for money that won’t benefit the family in any real way. Money and time—these are two of the key insufficiencies that can set an impoverished child off on the wrong path.
If all we offered was job training, our program would likely fail. We help connect our families with housing, childcare, nutrition, transportation, mental health services, legal advocacy, and free dental care. Our students complete classes in parenting, financial literacy, life skills and soft skills while receiving many other wrap-around services. We help the entire family intensively from the time they’re accepted and serve as a continued support-system as they navigate their new career.
Two graduates of The Grooming Project work at Lee’s Summit Salon and are making a life for themselves and their children.