Lee’s Summit CARES

About Us

we believe in Making Lee’s Summit a Safer Place for Our Youth

Passionate about Serving

Passionate about Serving Youth

Established in

Established in 1986

Committed to

Committed to Prevention

At Lee’s Summit CARES, we believe the whole community should be empowered with the information they need to support our youth in the prevention of at-risk behavior.

About Us

Lee’s Summit CARES is a leading nonprofit coalition organization focused on promoting healthy behaviors and activities for youth and families.

This is approached by reducing risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol misuse. We were founded in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, in the early 1980s as a direct response to community needs and the alarming increase in youth addiction and substance abuse.

We invite you who surround our youth to do the same: schools, community groups, parents, business leaders, and community organizations. We invite you to join us as we work together to build a healthier future for our community’s teens.

Together, we can make a difference!

What We Do


We provide programming that helps parents and caregivers learn how to best support our youth in preventing at-risk behaviors. We provide programs to strengthen our understanding of mental wellness, suicide prevention, and preventing substance misuse.

Youth Advisory Board

We oversee a powerful program for youth that empowers them to promote a healthy and youth-friendly community among their peers.

Parenting Resources

We run parenting classes, videos, and professional workshops to help businesses and nonprofits to help educate their audiences on parenting techniques.

Mental Wellness

We provide various resources to help prepare the community to empower youth to develop behaviors that foster safe and healthy environments for themselves.

Our Promise

Together we can proactively and effectively support the health and well-being of our kids and our Community. Through collaborative approaches, including training, support, and public awareness Lee’s Summit CARES advances efforts to promote healthy behavior.

Our Mission

Lee’s Summit CARES mobilizes community partners to develop a physical and mental wellness culture for Lee’s Summit youth and families that inspires positive, healthy choices.

Our Vision

A healthy and safe community for children, youth, and families of the Greater Lee’s Summit area.

Meet Our Staff

Program Director


Vanessa is a Lee’s Summit resident whose children attended LSR-7 schools. She brings more than 30 years of experience working with individuals and families who experience homelessness, substance misuse disorders, and mental health challenges. She is the chair of the City of Lee’s Summit Human Relations Commission, serves on the board of Lee’s Summit Social Services, and is a member of Lee’s Summit Ministerial Alliance. Vanessa has served as a Lee’s Summit CARES parent educator at Hillcrest Lee’s Summit for parents as they move out of homelessness.

Phone: 816.347.3075
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Vanessa Hickman

Vanessa Hickman

Program Manager


Dani Cooper graduated from Missouri State University in 2020 with a degree in Sociology and a certificate in Small Town Planning and Development. Soon after, they moved to Kansas City to build their skills in academic research and administrative work. Their journey with Lee’s Summit CARES began in early 2023 when they were hired onto the team as Administrative Assistant. Now as Program Manager, their primary goals are to strengthen and build onto the foundation for programming within Lee’s Summit CARES and to bring an innovative and creative approach to what’s happening behind the scenes, such as creating externally-facing documents, newsletters, and reports.

Phone: 816.347.1641
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Dani Cooper

Dani Cooper

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