Mission Statement

Recognizing that home is where our stories begin, Our Town, Our Kids is designed to enhance capacity of Kansas communities to reduce the number of youth at-risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system.

K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative (K-State JJC) represents a multidisciplinary team from K-State, Fort Hays State University, and K-State Extension. A team approach combines diverse sets of expertise with the rich cultural and practice-based experience of local stakeholders. Together, groups will identify system-related hurdles that may negatively affect youth.

Study circles, a key component of the collaborative process, refers to the procedure of facilitating, developing, and training local stakeholders in process and content, increasing local capacity to investigate, analyze, and develop healthy youth initiatives.

Ultimately, Our Town, Our Kids aims to empower local communities with a comprehensive set of tools which will then be developed into a scalable toolkit offered to other counties across Kansas and beyond.

Upcoming Events


February 19-20, 2019

Meeting with Katrina Pollet and Live Well Finney County

Garden City

Elaine Johannes and Lora Kirmer in Garden City with Katrina Pollet and Live Well Finney County; others to schedule. Sue Williams and Greg Paul Zooming in.


March 13-14, 2019

Meeting with Peggy Pratt and the Super District (15/17/23) JCAB

OTOK team members tbd; others to schedule in.


April 10-11, 2019

OTOK presents workshop at Governor's Conference

Wichita, KS

April Terry, L. Sue Williams, Bruce Chladny, Lora Kirmer.

What is a Study Circle?

Study circles represents the facilitating, developing, and training of county-level stakeholders in process and content, preparing them to investigate, analyze, and develop local youth initiatives, and to collaborate with others in doing so. Typically, four sessions are recommended.

About the K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative

K-State Juvenile Justice Collaborative is a multidisciplinary team from Kansas State University, Fort Hays State University, and K-State Extension, specializing in sociology/criminology, communication, adolescence, and research methods. The team received an award from Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas Advisory Group, and the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention to reduce system involvement and enhance community collaboration concerning juvenile justice.

  • L. Susan Williams, Project Director
  • Gregory Paul, Managing Director
  • Elaine Johannes, PI and Field Liaison
  • Bruce Chladny, PI and Extension
  • Michael Walker, Director, Docking Institute
  • April Terry, Fellow, Docking Institute
  • Jian Sun, Docking Institute
  • Luis Montelongo, Docking Institute
  • Mari-Esther Edwards, Graduate Assistant
  • Lora Kirmer, Graduate Assistant
  • McKenzie Cox, Graduate Assistant

Contact Information

L. Susan Williams

Professor and Project Director
204 Waters Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-4003

Gregory Paul

Associate Professor and Project Manager
234 Nichols Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506

Elaine Johannes

Associate Professor and Field Liaison
343M Justin Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506

Bruce Chladny

K-State Extension