We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Welsh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebecca, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
The most difficult of decisions I ever have ever had to make is having to choose which children we are able to serve. I remember standing in Africa about 15 years ago, witnessing more than 100 street kids who were in need of a home. At that time, we only had funding for about 20 kids. I tried to imagine what it must feel like for each one of them every single night, suffering without a family to care for them. Choosing which of these children were in the greatest need, was extremely difficult. Time and time again, we see the same situation here in the United States, and in other countries overseas. Just knowing there are kids like that out there, who are in need of our help, gives our team the passion and motivation to do what we do. That is why at HALO, our mission is to help one more child spend one less day alone. If we can just focus on that one child, then the problem of child homelessness is not so overwhelming.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe I am where I am professionally for a few reasons. The first time I met a child living on the street, I was absolutely sick to my stomach. That moment was seared into my soul, and I knew I would dedicate the rest of my life serving children who were in need of a family somehow. That drive from that experience pushed me beyond any limitation I thought I had. Every time I had an intimidating meeting or speaking event, I would reflect on that little girl (her name was Daisy) and say to myself, “This is not about me. This is about the Daisies of the world.” That would give me the confidence I needed to ask for anything. I also had incredible mentors along the way. I am not the expert of anything but someone else always is. Someone always knows more than me, and having the courage to reach out to them and listen goes a very long way.
What has happened over the past 15 years at HALO is nothing short of a miracle. The HALO story started with humble beginnings, in my “Cloffice”, with 100% volunteer staff who believed fiercly in helping one more child spend one less day alone. We were forced to work smart and that gritty beginning paved the way for us to stretch our resources beyond. That means we are able to serve more children, which is more important to us than anything. And that is how we have grown to where we are today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Our HALO Headquarters is located in the Stockyards District in Kansas City, MO in the West Bottoms. This area is a hidden gem. Definitely check out Stockyards Brewing Company, The Golden Ox, The Ox Cafe, Campground, Amigoni Urban Winery, Voltaire and Lemonade Park.
Also, check out First Friday Weekend in the West Bottoms, home to the largest vintage and antique market in the U.S. and attend First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, where art galleries open their doors and welcome guests to browse. There is live music, food trucks, etc. Take a ride on the KC Streetcar (it’s free!) and check out all the great sites that way too!
Definitely make sure to check out the Art Course at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This is an artist-designed, mini golf experience located in Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. Each hole on this 9-hole course presents a creative interpretation of a work of art in the museum’s collection.
We love the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I can honestly say we wouldn’t be where we are now without the support of Moroccanoil. Six years ago they learned about our work and featured us to be part of their Inspired by Women Campaign. It is a short film series about women making a difference and that short film (https://youtu.be/I4IBZ7uCodo) catapulted HALO into the spotlight and amplified the voices of the children we support. Because of that film, we have found support from people around the world. Moroccanoil continues to support HALO to this day, and we are incredibly grateful for their belief in our mission and their willingness to say yes when the children we support have a need.
Our work is centered around providing the foundation of a family for children without one. Each year, we serve over 2,000 children in need around the world. This work ranges from providing basic needs like food and shelter to giving them the mentorship they deserve. One unique part of HALO is that our donors, volunteers, and staff members are a family. We are all working toward the same goal of helping our kids reach their full potential. We have volunteers who bring food in every night just so our kids can have a home cooked meal. Our donor family tends to stay with us for the long haul because they see the impact they make with their giving. Our staff is highly motivated by helping one more child spend one less day alone.