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Beyond Landscapes: Opening Doors and Equipping Tomorrow’s Leaders

Ryan Lawn & Tree helps support the community through its partnership with Cristo Rey.

The facts can be troubling. State and local spending on prisons are far greater than spending on public education. At the same time, high-school drop-outs make up the vast majority of the inmate population. To top it off, the National Assessment of Educational Progress says fewer than 40% of graduating seniors have mastered reading and math, and these students are not prepared for college.

Yet Ryan Lawn & Tree is working to change these statistics.

For the last three years, Tre’ has been a fixture at the Ryan Lawn & Tree office. He’s been working in the accounting department, often processing invoices and payments.

As a high school senior, Tre’ has plans to obtain an advanced degree in neuroscience. He’s not sure yet if he wants to go into the medical or research field, but for now, he’s interested in the anatomy of the brain and how it works.

It’s a highly ambitious goal for anyone and especially so for a teenager from the inner city who hasn’t always had as many opportunities as others might.

Cristo Rey

The high school education and practical job training that are giving him skills to pursue such dreams are all thanks to Cristo Rey Kansas City and its work-study program in conjunction with Ryan Lawn & Tree.

Cristo Rey Kansas City is a Catholic college preparatory high school for students from urban and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and a part of the Cristo Rey Network of schools. As a part of the program, students earn a portion of their tuition through a corporate work-study program.

The school says 100% of its graduates have been accepted into college, and 63% go on to graduate from college. These students are often the first in their families to complete a degree.

Ryan Lawn & Tree has been a participating company in the work-study program for 10 years now. Currently, Ryan sponsors two students who work one day a week.

“At Ryan Lawn & Tree, we don’t do something unless we are all in, and we really care about these students,” says Kandi Hurst, who supervises the students in the accounting department.

The students earn about half the cost of their Cristo Rey education through the work-study program. Parents contribute some toward the cost, typically between $10 and $30 per month.

“(The student’s) behaviors change because they learn how to behave in a work environment,” Kandi says. “They seem to have more hope.”

Ryan Lawn & Tree also helps with a summer job skills training program for the students. Overall, mentoring Cristo Rey students has become part of the culture at Ryan Lawn & Tree.
“It’s a big part of who we are as a Ryan Lawn & Tree team,” Kandi says.

As Tre’ prepares to head to college in Denver at Regis University, he says he has been given many skills that will help contribute to his future. Applying for jobs and maintaining a resume have been made easier as he will be able to show companies he has skills that can be beneficial for them.

Tre’ also has the advantage of having real-world job experience before graduating high school, something not all students have. Overall, these skills will help give him the opportunity to pursue his dreams and explore many options.

If you have a question or would like to get involved with Cristo Rey, visit their website here (

If you would like to be a part of a team who supports our community and passionate about the green industry we would love to hear from you! Check out Ryan Lawn & Tree career opportunities today.


By Allison Gibeson, Local Writer.

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