Kansas City’s Supply Chain Management Center Helps Children at Operation Breakthrough

Sep 27, 2023, 12:03 PM
During a recent Supply Chain Management Center (SCMC) strategy meeting, team members spent an afternoon volunteering at Operation Breakthrough, a Kansas City organization that provides a safe, loving, and educational environment for children in poverty and empowers their families through emergency aid, education and other services. SCMC staff from North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Missouri spent time learning about Operation Breakthrough’s mission, and worked with students during the after-school program.

Shontrella Kellin, SCMC project manager, and Robert Leuszler, SCMC senior commodity manager, took roles in the culinary arts center, where they worked with students to bake brownies and clean up the kitchen. John O’Connell, SCMC customer programs leader, and Sam Stearly, SCMC senior business intelligence analyst, were deployed in the smart lab, where they helped students with electronics, robotics, and coding.

tearly was partnered with a student to build a solar robot. “It was fun seeing him figure out how the pieces went together, and he was very excited when we put the battery in and the robot started moving,” he said. “I liked building things as a kid, and still do. It’s terrific that Operation Breakthrough gives these kids the opportunity to do it as well.”

Meanwhile, David Hebert, SCMC IT specialist, and David Weatherford, SCMC innovation leader, worked with children in the art studio on a variety of craft projects, including sculpting, painting, and drawing. Hebert had his portrait drawn by one of the students, a memento of his volunteering experience that he will cherish.

Michelle Burdine, SCMC program lead, Ryan Williamson, SCMC compliance manager, and Emily Kayrish, SCMC communications lead, spent the afternoon in the MakerSpace, building towers and playing games with children ages 5-11.  

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to work directly with the students,” Burdine said. “And the students really wanted to feel a direct connection with the volunteers and share things about themselves in a safe setting.” Burdine spent part of the afternoon playing badminton with children using a net and paddles they crafted in the MakerSpace. “That feeling of connection is so important,” she said.  

Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC), which manages the Supply Chain Management Center, has been a corporate sponsor of Operation Breakthrough for many years. In 2021, KCNSC sponsored the rollout of their Ignition Lab, a workforce development program and lab purchased through Kansas City Chief’s tight end Travis Kelce’s Eighty-Seven and Running foundation. There students gain real-world experience in graphic design, mechatronics, green tech, computer technology, fabrication, product design, culinary arts, digital media, and automotive engineering.
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