Her “Why:” Local Woman Addressing the Issues of the Community With Non-profit K.Y.C.E.P.
Cecilia Smith Austin | 8/23/2019, 12:27 p.m.
Chasta Winslow is a woman on a mission and passion for helping others - founding Kudos Youth & Community Enrichment Program (K.Y.C.E.P) to bridge the deficit found within Title I schools that serve low-income communities in 2016.
Three years later the organization continues to thrive, with the Lamar University graduate expanding services to touch everyone from Texas youth to the elderly. The mission is simple: “Promoting health, education, positive self-images and unity through intestinal fortitude, selflessness and intentional acts of kindness.”
Always on the go, recently Winslow gave us a peek into her world - sharing the journey of K.Y.C.E.P with Houston Style Magazine as they gear up for another busy back to school season. Read more to discover how the non-profit is impacting their community.
HSM: Tell us more about the organization, what made you launch K.Y.C.E.P?
Winslow: Kudos Youth & Community Enrichment Program (K.Y.C.E.P.) was founded in 2016 out of a desire to serve on a greater level. My students are my “why” and I’m always looking for ways to provide essentials and other opportunities for them. I wanted to take what I was doing in my classroom, and expand it into a campus-to-campus, community-to-community program that enriches our youth and the elderly.
KYCEP is a multi-purpose, all-inclusive organization that seeks to develop well-rounded individuals, curb hunger, decrease dropout rates, reduce stress and increase academic performance. My team and I have a common desire to give from the heart and be of service and empower secondary and post-secondary students - especially within disadvantaged families. Our goal is to fortify our communities, families, and youth by instilling selflessness and healthy leadership.
HSM: What demographics do you typically collaborate with or assist?
Winslow: We work with high school students aged 14-18, undergraduate college students, single parents, elderly individuals and communities from all ethnic backgrounds that could use a little more love, care, and support.
HSM: You’re currently the Executive Director, but tell us a little bit about the woman behind the organization.
Winslow: I’ve been an educator for 13 years and have always had a desire to be of service and help to those in need; it’s something I find joy in doing. I come from a home where my parents have always tried to help others and spread love through kind gestures, so naturally, that has become a part of me. I founded K.Y.C.E.P. because I saw a need and wanted to create a means to stretch my heart and hands as wide as possible. I sat on the thought for years, but in 2016 it all came together in a way that I realized I could no longer sit and be subpar. Kudos is my passion project and what I’ll continue to do for the rest of my life in some capacity or another.
HSM: What’s your vision for K.Y.C.E.P?
Winslow: My goal for K.Y.C.E.P. is to build enough momentum and awareness for sustainability throughout the years. We desire to increase the number of youth and communities that we can serve while leaving a lasting impression. When you hear our name, we want it to resonate with others in a happy and satisfactory way. Most importantly, we want to have recurring sponsors and donors that allow us to be a blessing through acts of kindness and intention for those we meet each year. My prayer is that K.Y.C.E.P. becomes a household name as an honest charity others can be proud to attach themselves to.
HSM: Please share any upcoming events or initiatives we should keep on our radar:
Winslow: K.Y.C.E.P. is in the process of seeking donations to help with our free monthly Care Packages that are sent to disadvantaged college students and orphaned elderly in the U.S. through a partnership with Care Pack Box. We also host annual free fortification conferences, community food events, yard care and home clean-up for the elderly, college tours, academic incentives, haircuts, health challenges; as well as other initiatives geared towards local nursing homes, schools and communities in Houston and other areas within the U.S. I think our program definitely helps to serve a need as social security is slowly depleting.
K.Y.C.E.P. also partners with local campuses to create programs for their students. Our secondary student participants have monthly meetings, attend annual conferences, college tours, take academic accountability and participants earn community service hours through our planned projects. At the end of each year, two participants are awarded scholarships during an end of year dinner. My team and I are working hard to secure corporate and small business sponsorships as we get ready for the upcoming school year. Our program is only as great as those who give to ensure that K.Y.C.E.P. withstands time and economic changes. Donations can be made by visiting www.kycep.org - where you can also receive a determination letter and sponsorship package information. Catch us in action on our website!
HSM: What’s a personal quote that you live by?
Winslow: Always remember to remain objective and be fearless of uncomfortable conversations.
Learn more about K.Y.C.E.P. and sponsorship opportunities kyep.org.