Just ahead of his comedy show at the Uptown Theater Aug. 14, comedian and Kansas City native Eddie Griffin took time out to appear as the special guest at a fundraising event for the nonprofit Giving Yourself Real Love (GYRL).  The event was held at Soiree Steakhouse and Oyster Bar on 18th and Vine.

Councilman Brandon Ellington moderated the event, a one-on-one with Griffin where he asked the comedian his opinion on a variety of topic including the pandemic and vaccine, the entertainment world and how it affects youth, and the importance of investing in Black communities.

The event packed the restaurant.  

GYRL, an organization dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence and prevention, last year expanded its programming to include a youth program.

The youth program offers a variety of classes for children ages 7 to 18 such as cooking, martial arts, graphic design, writing and gardening.

“My hope is all the children on the east side of Troost get the same opportunities of those children on the west side of Troost,” said GYRL’s founder and director Gloria Ellington.

Ellington invested in several properties on 39th and Chestnut Street, where the GYRL office is also located, to provide a resource center and emergency housing center for victims of domestic violence.

She wants the resource center to provide a stable place for the programs more than 80 children to continue participating in the activities and classes GYRL provides every week.

But the properties need hefty, expensive repairs and Ellington funds the program herself, without grants or city funding. That’s been particularly difficult, since they’ve been forced to rebuild several times following break-ins to their office and after their Domestic Violence Memorial Rose Garden was mowed over twice.

Until the houses are repaired, programming is being held at the Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose Center, While Ellington said they are fortunate to have as an option, her goal still remains having a place the children and GYRL can call their own.

She’s set a fundraising goal of $100,000 to be used to help renovate both the resource and emergency housing centers.

Griffin was immediately drawn to the work GYRL was doing in the urban core and offered his support for the program, promising to mentor 10 children from the program last year.

“At GYRL, we’re giving young ladies and men hope,” Griffin said. “I’m doing this fundraiser to raise money and awareness for them to keep going.”

At the fundraising event, Griffin donated $1,000 to GYRL.

“These donations help GYRL tremendously,” Ellington said.

The program is still looking for donations to meet their goal and volunteers to teach classes.

To learn more about GYRL, visit their website: https://gyrlplease.org/.

Avatar photo

Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *