Elaine Johannes

Phone: (785) 532-7720


Purpose of the Collaboration:

Thrive!, established in 2015, is a community-based organization (with affiliates across Kansas) locally serving families in Manhattan, Wamego, and Junction City that reduces poverty through the development of relationships and life skills. Based on a social capital model, Thrive! matches people living in poverty with middle- and upper-income individuals to work together over 18 months to set goals around personal poverty reduction. Over this long-term voluntary commitment, the matched teams share experiences, resources and build an understanding of the real effects that poverty and resilience have on the lives of local citizens and their families.

Length of Partnership:

2 years

Community Partners:

Greater Manhattan Community Foundation

Community Impact:

Approximately 39 individuals have completed the 18-month Thrive! program since its inception. Evaluation shows that the program has doubled participants' formation of new friendships, a critical social and emotional support network. Participants also reported a one-point improvement in social support and connections on a five-point scale in addition to a 1.5- and 2.5-point improvement in healthy relationships and persistence/motivation, respectively. K-State personnel have assisted in the development of grant proposals to city, state and regional funders. A recent award from the Reser Family Foundation is supporting the introduction of app-based technologies to help the adults who are burdened by poverty to improve their family relationships and reduce family stress.

Institutional Partners:

School of Family Studies and Human Services: K-State Research and Extension, Couple and Family Therapy, Applied Family Sciences, Communication Studies

Institutional Impact:

Based on the land-grant university's mission of community engagement for social good, K-State faculty, staff and students have assisted in training of Thrive! volunteers; provided management resources to the voluntary Thrive! board of directors; provided child care services and training to child care volunteers associated with the program; developed an evaluation process which is now being used by other similar programs in Kansas; and have worked with the organization to conduct relevant research using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. Three studies, conducted by two graduate students and one undergraduate student, have been conducted within the Thrive! program using a community-based participatory research approach.