For the Chiefs December 30, 2018, game against the Oakland Raiders, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the Chiefs selected Monica Roberts, Founder and Executive Director of Healing Pathway Victim Services, as the Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion. Prior to kickoff, Roberts received on-field recognition and conducted the ceremonial first pass to Dave Lindstrom before touring the Chiefs broadcast booth and enjoying the game.
"We are thrilled to honor Monica Roberts for her outstanding work in the Kansas City community," said Christina Lively, Blue KC's Department Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "Her efforts through Healing Pathway have made an incredible difference in the lives of more than 700 children in the Kansas City metro, and it's our privilege to bring recognition to what she and her volunteers are doing. She's the epitome of a true Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion."
Growing up in the urban core of Kansas City, Roberts witnessed firsthand the effects of violent crime and realized that there was a population of co-victims that was often forgotten after the news left the headlines: the victims' children. After beginning her career as a social worker, Roberts decided to take action on behalf of these children by founding Healing Pathway.
"I wanted to do more than place a bandage on the wound, I wanted to impact generations to come," said Roberts. "I felt that I could make a difference by creating a targeted program that specifically addressed the needs of this very vulnerable group of children."
Established in 2012, Healing Pathway advocates and empowers children who have lost a parent or parents to homicide within the Kansas City metropolitan area, providing compassionate and professional support to the surviving children of homicide victims. Following a trauma-informed care model, Healing Pathway offers four main areas of programming: case management, education advocacy, mentoring and victim advocacy.
"Each year we provide services through volunteers with huge hearts," said Roberts. "I am proud that we can continue to serve children in need with the help of so many amazing community members. I couldn't do any of this alone."
One seasonal event Healing Pathway offers each year is a Christmas party for homicide victim children that is co-hosted by the Kansas City Police Department. After collecting toys in a "Stuff the Squad Car" event in November, Healing Pathway and the KCPD present the toys to the children during a special event designed to bring them joy during what can be a challenging time, while also helping foster positive relationships between the community and law enforcement.
"Monica has dedicated her life to helping children in the Kansas City metropolitan area," said Roberts' longtime friend Shinita Jones, who nominated her to be named a Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion. "She is an example to an entire community of what can happen when you work together."
To nominate a local hero like Monica Roberts to be recognized as a Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion, visit chiefs.com/bluekc.