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Kansas City's nonprofit dog grooming school is hoping for $8.5-million expansion

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Shautina, a former student at The Grooming Project is performing a full groom on a small dog.
Natasha Kirsch
Shautina, a former student at The Grooming Project, performs a full groom on a small dog.

Since opening its doors on Troost in 2016, The Grooming Project has served over 600 people stuck in cycles of poverty.

The Grooming Project, founded by Natasha Kirsch, uses training in the high-demand trade of pet grooming—as well as comprehensive support services—to help parents escape poverty.

Many people entering the program have high school diplomas—or no diploma at all.

After graduating, groomers can make between $35,000 and $70,000 a year, and carry no student debt.

Amanda McIntyre is an alumna of The Grooming Project. Now, she's opened her own salon, "Classy Canines," in Independence, Missouri.

Amanda faced challenges early on, including a battle with addiction. She credits much of her success to the program.

"I thank Natasha every day that she brought this to Kansas City, because without her I'd still be lost. And without the program, I'd probably be dead," McIntyre said.

Now, after six years of operation, the Grooming Project has outgrown its facilities.

Kirsch, the project's executive director, has launched an $8.5-million fundraising campaign for a new space, located at 58th and Troost. The fundraiser, named "Expand Prosperity," will help renovate a dilapidated building near the current school.

The new location will provide staff with space and privacy. Additionally, the expansion will more than double the number of families served each year; triple the number of dogs groomed daily, vastly reducing appointment wait times; and allow for doggie day care services.

  • Natasha Kirsch, founder and executive director of The Grooming Project
  • Amanda McIntyre, graduate and owner of Classy Canines
  • Jen Smith, graduate of The Grooming Project

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