Hey all —

This week I am sharing with you some news from Lawrence. On Friday, Van Go announced its founder and executive director, Lynne Green, will be retiring from a position she has held for the past 23 years. 

If you're unaware, Van Go is a nationally recognized arts-based employment program for at-risk teens and young adults.

I personally have fond memories of Green and her staff, as she was one of the first people I interviewed when beginning the Food & Fun beat. I will always be thankful for her kindness and understanding at my newness to the area, and complete lack of understanding of the impact of her organization in the Lawrence community.

Van Go has delivered life-changing opportunities to hundreds of Douglas County teens and now has an operating budget of $800,000. But that wasn't how it began.

In 1997, Green began her dream with a checkered limousine and a $2,000 grant from the Kansas Arts Commission. Over the years, the program expanded, employing teenagers for various eight-week job training programs and beginning its now-popular benchmark project. Businesses commission a bench to be created, designed and painted by a Van Go artist, and they are proudly displayed across Lawrence. More than 350 benches have been created.

For more information about Green's position and how to join Van Go, visit van-go.org.