We’ve received incredible support from the AOK family, including board members, donors, friends, family and neighbors. Together, we are changing lives.

Take Edd. Edd is an artist—a bright and sensitive, thoughtful kid with a huge heart. We saw the diamond that was hidden inside him, and by sticking by him and helping him with what he needed, we helped him to see it too. When he moved in with us in the fall of 2015 we connected him with mentors, helped him with homework, gave him an allowance, got him a phone and a computer and helped him navigate the college application and financial aid processes. More than all that, we gave him love, we listened to him, we took him seriously. And we’re so proud to say he is winding up his first year at Hampshire College.

There are so many more young people with stories like Edd’s. There is Samera, a young photographer with a keen sense of social justice who is attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and wants to be a war photographer; James, who we have been feeding and loving since 7th grade and who just started community college in DC; Keyno, who moved in with us after taking care of his sick grandma for the past two years before she died and who just started barber school; Branndon, who lived with us during his senior year of high school and has jumped feet first into his freshman year at the University of Illinois in Chicago—just to name a few. They—and many more—frequent our house, sit at our table and share their hopes and dreams with us. And they all need our love and support.

We are making a significant difference:

  • Thirteen young people are pursuing their dreams through all kinds of educational institutions.
  • Six started at 4-year colleges in September 2016.
    • We helped them navigate the financial aid system to obtain the maximum amount of financial aid from all available sources.
    • We closed unexpected funding gaps with the help of generous donors for three of our young people in college.
  • Two more started community college in DC in January 2017.
  • One started barber school in February 2017.
  • One has been accepted to the Pratt Institute for the Arts and another to the New School School of Jazz, both in NYC.
  • Two are working to obtain their GEDS, with plans to attend college next year.
  • One AOK young person started a City Year placement in New York City in August 2016.
  • We helped 12 youths apply for jobs and internships.
  • In the last several years we have provided our young people with thousands of meals, school trips and art camps, and in some cases bikes, phones, computers, art supplies and other day-to-day needs.
  • 18 youths had presents under the tree this past Christmas.
  • We are bringing twelve young people to Cape Cod for vacation this summer. For many of them, it’ll be their first ever vacation.