Breakthrough, formerly Episcopal Social Services, is a broad-based social services organization serving under the auspices of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. Since our founding in 1983, we’ve unfailingly met the changing need of the homeless, unemployed, underemployed, and those struggling with mental illness through our employment assistance program, our representative payee program, our Clubhouse, and our cherished public breakfast program.
Read on to learn more about our history and our mission, as well as our passionate and dedicated staff.
The mission of Breakthrough is to meet the needs of those in Wichita and the surrounding communities who struggle with poverty and mental illness, providing them with resources and safe communities in order to help them break through these vicious cycles. We do this by:
- Building bridges to community for those struggling with poverty through meaningful employment, financial stability, and a model of community support.
- Feeding the hungry in our community and engaging them in fulfilling volunteer activities.
- Operating a community mental health program based on the internationally-recognized Clubhouse model.
- Developing shared knowledge about recovery from mental illness.
- Collaborating with others to inspire and teach organizations in Kansas to use the Clubhouse model.
- Modeling values of kindness, respect, compassion, and perseverance.
In the early 1980s, the Episcopal Church held a nationwide fundraising drive for outreach, with each diocese receiving a portion of the money raised. In Wichita, our local diocese used the funds to establish Venture house in 1983.
Since 1983, Breakthrough has…
- Removed the barrier of hunger, freeing those served to focus on something besides their next meal
- Provided thousands of unemployed parents with job search support, empowering them to find meaningful employment and provide for their families
- Taught thousands of at-risk youth how to improve their response to conflict, enabling them to avoid incarceration and to become productive adults
- Educated those struggling with managing their disability benefits, allowing them to maintain shelter while paying down debt
- Supported those suffering from persistent, severe mental illness, helping them to become productive, independent citizens.
In our nearly four decades of existence, Breakthrough has helped over 30,000 Wichitans break through the cycles of poverty and mental illness, thanks to people just like you joining the cause and giving generously. But our work is far from complete. Today, Breakthrough serves more people than at any point in our history. Poverty and mental illness continue to wage war on thousands of your fellow citizens. We need people who support our mission to partner with us, freeing a new generation from vicious cycles and improving their lives, and our community as a whole.
In 2018, we changed our name from Episcopal Social Services to Breakthrough. We diligently asked questions and listened carefully to people in our community and those we serve. As our organization grew and our services expanded, we identified the need to clarify and simplify our many services under a single, impactful name.
Drawing from our history, and building on the power of helping people overcome poverty and mental illness, our name is now “Breakthrough.” It is a powerful word that represents the focus of our organization, to help those hurting in our community break through the cycle of poverty and mental illness. Love moves us to empower those towards independence and freedom. Love breaks through pain. Hope breaks through despair.
The name is part of an overall brand strategy to grow awareness in the community of the services provided by Breakthrough and increase the donor and volunteer base we have as an organization.
Breakthrough / Episcopal Social Services fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes and regulations in all programs and activities. For more information, call (316) 269-4160 or download the Title VI procedure and form below.