Our Mission

To empower youth aging-out of foster care and at-risk youth in attaining ownership of their lives by providing them with a foundation of life skills to transition from dependence to independence and compete in society.

Our Story

StopGap, Inc. is our founder Justine Burton’s dream brought to reality. After a traumatic childhood spent struggling with abuse, neglect, and homelessness, Ms. Burton knows the difficulty of trying to live a healthy, successful life after aging-out of the child welfare system. Determined to give a voice and hope to youth who have had similar experiences, Ms. Burton founded StopGap, Inc. in 2008. We are a Lawrence-based, grassroots organization committed to supporting youth aging-out of foster care and helping them develop the skills necessary to thrive.

Our Vision

All youth will have the skills they need to flourish as whole participating adults.



Get to Know StopGap,Inc – Friday, August 11th | 6pm

Learn more about who we are and what we do at this wine, beer, and cheese fundraising get-together at the Train Depot – 402 N 2nd St, Lawrence.

Please purchase your ticket and reserve your space by July 25th. Thank you!


$35 for 1 ticket
$65 for 2 tickets
$245 per table that seats 8

Purchase your ticket or table today!

Become a Sponsor

Interested in being a sponsor? Contact us about sponsorship opportunities. We offer the following levels:

Under $250 – HELPING HANDS
$250 – BRONZE SPONSOR (includes 2 tickets)
$500 – SILVER LEVEL SPONSOR (includes 4 tickets)
$750 – GOLD LEVEL SPONSOR (includes 6 tickets)
$1000+ – PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSOR (8 tickets and one table)


Our Classes

Foster youth may have experiences that run the gamut from the death of a family member, drug and alcohol addicted parents, emotional abuse and neglect to physical and sexual abuse. A history of trauma can result in learning disabilities and delays, difficulty with socialization, and a whole host of coping mechanisms such as: combative behavior, withdrawal, self-harm, and substance abuse.

Through our Youth Empowerment Outreach Program, our organization aims to close the gap in skills acquisition between adolescence and adulthood to help prepare at-risk youth for successful futures.

Financial Management:

Establish and Maintain Good Credit
Financial Planning and Saving
(Featuring speakers from Meritrust Bank)

Healthy Lifestyle & Nutrition:

Grocery Planning
Meal Preparation
Cooking Healthy Meals
Reading Nutrition Labels

Applying for a Job:

Job Applications
Appropriate Interview Attire
Conflict Resolution
Mock Interviews

Home Maintenance:

Locating Housing
Reading Your Lease
Tenant/Landlord Responsibility

Continuing Education:

Higher Education Options (Vo-Tech, Junior College, University)
Applying for Financial Aid
Career Goals
(Featuring speakers from The Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center)

Healthy Relationships:

Good Relationships vs. Bad Relationships
Critical Thinking
(Featuring speakers from The Willow Domestic Violence Center)
Mental Health
(Featuring speakers from W.R.A.P. at Bert Nash)

Sex Education:

STI Prevention
Safe Sex
Pregnancy Prevention
Physical Health
Drugs, Alcohol, and Addiction Help
(Featuring a licensed nurse from The Lawrence Douglas County Health Department)

Avoiding Exploitation:

Human Trafficking Awareness Course
(Featuring speakers from The Willow Domestic Violence Center)
Self-Defense Techniques
(Featuring Instructors from Prime Martial Arts)


Get Involved


Support our Youth Empowerment Outreach Program, or help us expand our program to provide Housing and Transitional Living Services to youth ages 16-21.  Our goal is to raise $100,000 for the Transitional Living Program by 2020!


We would love to talk to you about volunteering at StopGap, Inc.! We are looking for compassionate and committed individuals who want to invest in a brighter future for at-risk youth, and will help our organization grow.

Request an interview today!

Teach A Class

Are you an educator, business owner, or have a passion for teaching and a skill you’d like to share? We’d love to have you on board, sharing your knowledge with the youth we serve.

Request an interview to assist with the Youth Empowerment Outreach Program.

Training Program completion required.


Our Team

Justine Burton
Justine Burton

Justine Burton

CEO, Executive Director
Linda Trotter
Linda Trotter

Linda Trotter

Grace Chang
Grace Chang

Grace Chang

Fundraising Chair
Justine Burton

Justine Burton

CEO, Executive Director
Linda Trotter

Linda Trotter

Grace Chang

Grace Chang

Fundraising Chair

What Our Students Are Saying

  • I liked working with the people here at StopGap.

  • Provides an organized, authentic, proper path to the future in order to gain independence and maintain it.

  • It was a very positive experience and I liked the people and the guest speakers.

  • I think they do a great job with the presentations!

  • It was all very educational. I will miss you guys!

  • There were no negatives to class. The group was really great!



Let’s Talk!

Address: 1942 Massachusetts Street Lawrence, KS 66044

Phone: 785-856-7833

Email: stopgapinc.org@gmail.com

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