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Check Out Sawyer Jurgensmeier’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sawyer Jurgensmeier. 

Hi Sawyer, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
The KC Community Care Fund began with the realization that nonprofits and government programs can’t meet every need, and that their support is difficult to access in emergencies. We recognize that people are the experts in their own lives and that they know best what kind of individualized support they need. We began our work and created our collective fund at the beginning of COVID to help families afford groceries and coordinate deliveries to individuals who could not leave their homes. We then expanded this project out of passion for mutual aid, which is the concept of people helping people directly. We collect funds at local live music shows and online to be quickly and easily redistributed via electronic accounts such as Cashapp. When we are out of funds to offer, we connect people to local mutual aid groups, where folks can collect donations directly for a specific bill, or where people can share items such as medical equipment and furniture. We also collect clothing donations and offer them for free to those in need, in collaboration with PRIDE Haven KC, which is a local shelter that houses LGBTQ youth; these clothes help trans and gender non-conforming guests explore their gender expression. Working together online and in person, our community has the power to ensure all among us are cared for. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We have struggled in consistent fundraising, finding that folks prefer to donate to individuals and families directly. Through this realization, we’ve worked to help people understand how to crowdfund on their own, encouraged them to ask for the help they need and deserve, and promoted these efforts throughout our community. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have a background in direct service work for local advocacy organizations, helping survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking navigate systems of support and walking with them through their own personal healing. I have trained community partners in culturally responsive care to historically oppressed groups, the neurobiology of trauma, forensic interviewing, and meeting the needs of rural survivors. Currently, I work for PRIDE Haven KC, the local shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth. I work to teach them valuable life skills and encourage them to pursue their dreams. I have also worked to distribute Narcan in our community to prevent overdose deaths and promote local harm reduction education efforts. 

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Our mutual aid resource hub can be found at linktr.ee/kcmomac. 

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