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Kansas City’s Most Inspiring Stories

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Taylor Moreland

We are Taylor and Ally Moreland, parents of Brody. Together, we have developed a new mobility device for babies, toddlers, and children who have difficulty moving their legs. We call it The Frog. Brody Ray Moreland was born on April 3, 2017. He was born with a spinal cord defect known as spina bifida. He underwent two surgeries immediately after birth and another four revisional surgeries over the remainder of 2017. Brody’s doctors and neurosurgeons did a great job, but his level of defect, coupled with newly discovered spinal cord atrophy, meant that he would have very little to no movement or control of his lower body starting below his chest. Read more>>

Victor Oledibe

My name is Victor Oledibe an Artist | Photographer from Nigeria but currently based in the United States. I started off as an abstract artist, I drew while I was a kid and stopped at some point at a certain age in my life I continued with drawings and was practicing how to make realistic portraits, I did that for a while till I realized that it wasn’t the genre of art that I wanted, it didn’t give me a sense of happiness, I was struggling with it. Read more>>

AJ Chinn

I like to say that Craft Putt is a bundle of the things that I am most passionate about golf (including mini-golf), craft beer/cocktails, and playing games. I worked in health insurance for a decade, and it was something that I never enjoyed doing. I always knew that I wanted to build something around the things that I enjoyed being a part of and give that to other people. Read more>>

Corrie Mills

I originally started braiding at the age of 11-12. I watched my mom braid my sibling’s hair when we were young and I just picked up those methods and started braiding one of my oldest sisters’ hair. From there my braiding improved and I learned more styles over the years. Fast forward to 2019, I started braiding publicly. With the encouragement from family and friends, I went and got my braiders license and furthered my career towards being an excellent service provider. Read more>>

Muriel Hansen Wolfe

Growing up in Wisconsin, I was deeply inspired by the natural environment, and that interest continues to inform my current art practice. I’ve loved working with my hands for as long as I remember, and I was always asking for art supplies for Christmas and birthdays. I got more serious about art in high school and took as many classes as I could. My passion for ceramics started at an early age as well, when I was about 3, my mom took me to a community studio for a family ceramics class. Read more>>

Aliyah Glass

My name is Aliyah Glass, I am a social media manager, and strategist from St. Louis, Missouri. I started my creative journey as I entered high school attending a Performing Arts School, Grand Center Arts Academy of St. Louis. I was a dance major and participated as an intermediate and then advanced student for the four years of my attendance. My love for creating started with choreographing original pieces that were performed in dance concerts and in times when I was alone to improve. Read more>>

Ronnesha Grandberry

I became an Esthetician in 2011, and after years of working for other people in their salons, I decided to open my own. Shortly after opening, I had to close due to the high cost of rent and not having enough staff to keep the salon operating. At the time photography was only a hobby, but it was a hobby that made me money. Once I began getting more experience and confidence in myself, I decided to invest more in photography. It was a business that I could operate without having my own building. Read more>>

Hitori

From its inception, my musical journey has been beautifully organic. My story began in high school, shortly after my best friend, SappySaveMe, began producing beats. Whenever he played me a new beat, I would try my hand at freestyling and making melodies to his creations. The joy of artistic expression infected both of us as we discovered that we had a spark of talent to match our new musical passions. Read more>>

Olga Simpson

I am really in love with my life. I am a photographer, who specializes in lifestyle photography. I enjoy creating mood and action pictures that reveal the beauty of a person. I believe all people are kind and loving on the inside, my goal is to show it in my photos. Unfortunately, I see that today we forgot how to be worry-free and enjoy each and every second of this life. My sincerest belief is that it’s time to let go of differences and create a thriving and prosperous life we all deserve. I believe the desire and need for a peaceful future is not just my dream, but also the dream of 99% of the population. Read more>>

Penny Dunman

Approximately 7 years ago, I was called to go into real estate. Previously, I worked for a local family-owned builder for almost 10 years in the Johnson County area of Kansas City. My experiences with the building business were full of energy watching the “birth of new homes” and serving the new buyers from beginning to end. Then the building industry took a hit so my time was up and I explored other ways to serve others. Read more>>

Eric Shempert

I first became interested in sports performance training while I was still a competitive athlete, playing baseball at Avila University in Kansas City. I was always curious how training in the weight room could help improve my performance on the field. So when I graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and got my first personal training job, I was excited to work with plenty of people who also played golf and tennis. Read more>>

Betsy & Shaudin Avila

LeftUntied (like leaving a shoelace untied) was unexpectedly born in August 2016 when our daughter became obsessed with Harley Quinn. We never imagined it becoming this joyous experience we’re able to share with so many all around the world. ​As her 9th birthday was approaching she came across a pair of customized Converse online that were only available in adult sizes. She insisted she would wear them in “like three years when they fit me, promise!” Read more>>

Tamara Netzel

Cruel Consequences: Portraits of Misguided Law is a 501c3 nonprofit portrait exhibit of people who have been harmed by marijuana prohibition. We are based in Virginia but recently were in Kansas City for the Patients Out of Time Cannabis Conference on June 9-11. We educate the public about what happens to individuals when they have a cannabis charge on their record. Most are denied employment, housing, child custody, college loans, and basic dignity to pursue their lives. Read more>>

Rachel Hiles

I like to refer to myself as a 30-something aspiring local celebrity do-gooder in Kansas City, MO. I just completed a seven-year mission caring for my grandma, Barbara. Right before Covid, we became roommates. She passed away in our home due to natural causes (Alzheimer’s) in late January of this year (2022). I quit my job of seven years back in 2018 after caregiving got too heavy of a load for me and I launched my own business. Read more>>

Olga Ten

I’m Olga Ten. The Founder of Upmarqt. I started my entrepreneurial journey in early 2022. My background is 12 years of corporate where I focused on global business and marketing strategy. This was exciting but I felt like I could bring more value elsewhere. Since the pandemic started, I did a lot of thinking about what my real strengths and talents were. At work, I was a massive overachiever and so I thought what if I do something that I really love, imagine what I can do. Read more>>

Joenne Hartley

I worked in the medical field for 20 years and after retirement, I started doing photography as a hobby. The Hobby soon turned into a passion! I soon switched from landscapes to fashion/editorial photography. I had a photography instructor that really helped me with my self-esteem and gave me the confidence to go after my dream. I started creating my own designs for my photography business when I was unable to find what I wanted for editorial photo shoots. Read more>>

Dylan Allen

I grew up in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City. We moved to Lakewood in Lee’s Summit during middle school, where I ended up meeting many of my lifelong friends. After high school, I went to UMKC for film production but felt like I needed more hands-on training to really learn the business, so I transferred to Valencia College, a film school in Florida. While at Valencia, I was very fortunate for the opportunity to work under and be mentored by DGA director, Ralph Clemente. Read more>>

Kristina Long

Hi, my name is Kristina Long! During the summer of 2020, I created a project for my then 16-year-old son to learn the streets and history of Lee’s Summit while he was in the process of getting his driver’s license. I’ve always enjoyed planning fun things for my family to do, so this was a project I enjoyed putting together for him. It started out as a day camp and a fun way to spend time together. Read more>>

Crystal Tucker

When my daughter, Kelcey, turned 12, she started begging to volunteer at our local animal shelter. I had been putting off her requests because she has such a tender heart, I knew that she would want to take all of the dogs home! And I wondered if it would be too sad, and too hard, on both her and me. But, we attended a volunteer orientation and she was hooked. Because of her age, I had to volunteer with her, and I never expected to love it as much as I did. Read more>>

ANRI

My artist name is Anri (ON-REE, like the word ornery) and the story of the ICT Fashion Tour came from the moments and feelings from my own art journey. Right before the pandemic in late 2019, I was invited to create an art installation and exhibit my creations at a local business, TISSU Sewing Studio. I never really considered myself an artist and sometimes I have spells of imposter syndrome about the thought of it. Read more>>

Da’Shona Martin

I’ve always been passionate about where I come from, and have lived off of 31st street my whole life. I’ve seen family, friends, businesses, neighbors, etc. come and go. So, when I was in my senior year of high school I took a seat and step back. I re-evaluated what I wanted to do and where I was going. I knew I was going to business school but the questions “for what?” and “then what?” were constantly in my head. Then, it just kind of clicked for me. Read more>>

Caitlin Beckert

I’m from a small town called West Chester, just outside of Philadelphia, PA. I moved to Kansas City in February 2020. Perfect time for everything to shut down due to the pandemic!! I was in a new city where I knew nobody. I was lonely at first but then I threw myself into my job, now two years later I was just promoted to a position I would never have imagined 2 years ago! With all my alone time, I bought a heat press and some screen print transfers and started printing my own shirts, and just like that, ChileTeez was born!! I sell unique t-shirts, hoodies, keychains, earrings, and pens. Read more>>

Dane Justice

My love for saxophone likely came from early exposure to melody; I’ve lived and breathed music in some form or another since I was born. My dad is a gifted singer, and as a toddler, I’d stay up during nap time at daycare to listen to the recording of Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue playing softly in the background. I can remember hearing jingles on TV, and running around to the piano to copy them. My parents were pretty attentive to this and had me start piano lessons at a young age. Over time, exposure turned into passion, and passion into a career. Read more>>

Jessica Dunegan

I used to be a big city girl living in Austin, TX, and now I’m a small-town girl living and working in my hometown in the Sunflower State! I am a brand specialist, designer, illustrator, artist, and yoga teacher. I own a branding & design business (JessDunegan Design) and co-own a yoga studio (Yoga State) with my mother-in-law, Connie. I began JessDunegan Design and Yoga State in 2015 after moving back to KS to begin my loving relationship with my now-husband, Kyle. Read more>>

Cion McManus

Fleur Du Pré has a very humble beginning. It began roughly 3 years ago when a family member asked me to do their wedding flowers. I sheepishly agreed but my first wedding was a success! I had so much fun in the process and it brought back childhood memories of presenting posies to my mom from our garden. Between learning everything I could from videos and practicing in my kitchen while juggling nursing school, I definitely had my work cut out for me. Being self-taught really helped me grow as a florist and ultimately as a person. I love the challenge of being a florist. Read more>>

Kimberly Keys

Kimberly L. Keys is an ARKANSAS native-born and raised. She was born in late Dec. Willie and Sis. Blanchie Keys. Kimberly was born with the gift of song and you can sure tell she doesn’t take that gift for granted. She grew up singing in the church with her family and has been going since then. She has opened up for a few National Recording Artists such as Lyfe Jennings, Tank, Monica, Ja Rule, Ashanti, and Jacquees. She also sings background for Michael Buble and Michael McDonald. Read more>>

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