KIDS OFF THE BLOCK, INC. (KOB) is a non-profit 501©3 community based organization founded by Diane Latiker in 2003. She started the program in her home.
AT-RISK YOUTH ARE THE TARGET POPULATION OF KOB. Services are focused on “at-risk” youth in the Pullman Community Area, a low-to-moderate income community located on the far south side of Chicago. The Community Area includes part of three political wards, Roseland, West Pullman, and Pullman. • 94.8% of the population is African-American; • 12.5% have a college degree; • 20.2% have not completed high school; • 43.1% are unemployed; • 37.5% of the population lives below the poverty level; • Women head 26.3% of the families.
Behind these bulleted demographic statistics lurks a minefield of factors that militate towards the development of “at-risk” youth in the Pullman Community Area. For a youth living in a home below the poverty level, in a family headed by a woman, and with no employed or minimally employed adult almost guarantees the youngster’s designation as “at-risk.
The home and family life of “at-risk” youth are often disrupted by the harsh realities of hard poverty. Often there are issues of “serial fathers” who are resented by older male youth or a possible threat to young girls. Domestic violence becomes a constant in the experiences of these families. Drug use is often the resort of depressed and overwhelmed parents. Family events and celebrations exist only by imperiling the household budget for the balance of the month.
To offset these budget crunches mothers may attempt employment. Decent paying jobs are few and far between. If they do exist they are located in distant neighborhoods at an hour and a half or more from the home. If an extended family is not available, the youth are pressed into taking care of younger children. Especially for the young men in these homes there exists no teacher, no mentor, and no reliable role model. The youth rebels against his mother and sets out to find his own source of income and a coterie of friends that will provide him with a sort of safety on the streets.
Un-doctored statistics suggest that upwards of 76% of these youth drop out of high school or are “no-shows” for high school after grade school graduation. The streets are a “finishing school” for them. To fulfill the need for some sort of safety and structure, and to feel a sense of belonging “at-risk” youth often turn to gangs. Gangs lead to the drug trade and often to drug use and other crime. At the same time, gang rivalry leads to the dangers of being shot on the streets. Shootings occur on a regular if not daily basis. Robbery is a daily occurrence. Burglary is rampant.
The systems such as Grammar Schools, Park Districts, and High Schools in the immediate neighborhoods of Pullman Community Area offer a rather bare menu of services for youngsters. Most of the “at-risk” youth have rarely if ever left the environment of their community. They would be lost in the hustle and bustle of the Loop. Cultural events that happen in many of the Wards of the city are none-existent in their community. If events do occur safe transportation to and from the events becomes an issue. The school system cannot afford the effort to maintain youth in school. Many of the teenage youth cannot read at a sixth grade level. The High Schools consider expulsion as the best solution to many problematic behaviors. Gang rivalry and “clicks” (groups of youth from various gangs who work together to intimidate non-committed youngsters) are an additional challenge to any youth with an interest in education.
FAITHFUL TO ITS MISSION, THIS YOUNG AGENCY HAS COBBLED TOGETHER AN ARRAY OF SERVICES WITHIN A SAFE PLACE WHERE ADOLESCENTS HAVE A CHANCE TO DEVELOP AND TO GROW INTO SUCCESSFUL ADULTS. The goal of KOB is social change – Our mission is to involve these youth in alternatives to gang violence, drugs sales/usage, school truancy and the juvenile justice system. KOB’s work with youth emphasizes self-development that leads to change. Through individual meetings and group discussions new recruits are encouraged to assess their current situation and identify skills and a knowledge base needed to achieve the goals they have targeted. Young people are actively involved in all operations of KOB from program planning and design to actual implementation.
The “at-risk” youth are involved in Health Workshops, Cultural Events, Educational Tutoring and celebrations in their honor for achievements and participation. The density and variety of programming invites these youngsters to come “off the streets” and become engaged in events that are conducted in a safe and caring environment.
THE ORGANIZATION’S KEY OBJECTIVES ARE:
To create a positive environment where youth can feel free to be creative; To provide exposure to other cultures, ethnic groups, communities, and activities; To work with each youth as an individual to promote continued positive development; To cultivate skills and meet the needs of the young people we serve; To celebrate their accomplishments.
The organization reaches out to the most “at-risk” youth in the area to provide them with access to a path that leads away from self-destruction and economic impoverishment. In order to achieve its Mission, KOB provides a multi-service youth program which focuses on those aspects of young people’s lives, which promote good health, educational achievement, and personal and social growth. The organization describes itself as a “holistic care center for prevention, personal growth and empowerment.” KOB provides a safe place “off the block” especially for those young people who do not feel welcomed by traditional youth programs.
Activities / Recognitions
o Partnered with the City of Chicago in the After School Matters Program o Participated in MLK Day with Service for Peace o KOB hosted new program “Hip Hop Light Plates” o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK hosts “Clean & Green Day” in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day o KOB receives new and used computers, printers to start a computer lab for youth o Curtis Elementary School offers space to KOB to house it’s Tutoring/Mentoring programs o Music studio is upgraded from donations of new equipment o KOB hosts it’s 4th Annual Basketball Championship at Curtis School o KOB “Village Leaders” hosts Speak up, Speak out rally in honor of Blair Holt o KOB “Teens against Violence” March with CAPS, Ceasefire, and block clubs. o Six KOB youth are featured in CLTV special “Deadly Lessons” with News Anchor Tonya Francisco o 25 KOB teens graduate from across the city, 4 from high school that went on to college o CEO of KIDS OFF THE BLOCK is Honored by Ebony Magazine o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Marches with The Black Star Project in downtown Chicago o Columbia College Partners with KIDS OFF THE BLOCK and Youth Communications for the Promise Program (teaching youth about journalism) o KOB hosts “A Community for Unity Tribute”, honoring all youth killed by violence in Chicago o World Federation of Peace honors KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Executive Director with Ambassador for Peace Award o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Featured in ABC-7 Special “Keeping Kids Busy, Keeps Then Off The Streets. o KOB CEO & Youth Members Participate in ABC-7 Special “Stopping The Violence”. o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Hosts it’s 1st Annual “Feed A Teen” Thanksgiving Day Dinner o KOB Christmas Party was held at Curtis Elementary School 2008 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK became a coalition member of The Roseland Safety Network / Department of Human Services o KOB held it’s 1st March Against Youth Violence / along with a video shoot to launch our new campaign “Save A Teen / Do Something” o KOB created it’s 1st music video Save A Teen / Do Something o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Hosts 2nd Annual Clean and Green Day in April
o Featured on Fox News in April o Featured in Citizen’s Newspapers in May o Featured in Chicago Tribune Magazine in June 2008 o CEO featured in Chicago Sun-Times in August as 1 of 50 People Who Make Chicago a Better Place o CEO of KOB was a panelist on Chicago Center’s forum about Youth Violence o CEO of KOB was a guest on “Eight Forty Eight” radio show with Host Richard Steele o KOB, along with community partners, hosted The Roseland Youth Festival in September o KOB, along with community partners hosted The Peace Fest in Harvey, IL o CEO of KOB was featured on WYCC Channel 20 TV about Youth Violence o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK was featured in the Voorkant newspapers in the Netherlands (Holland) o KOB is featured in The Gospel Tribune in October o KOB receives award from the State’s Attorney Office for Victim Service o KOB receives award from The Pastor’s Network of Illinois o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK was honored with a fundraiser at Percy L. Julian High School by the Honors Society and was featured in their school newspaper o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK was featured in the fall issue of The Residents Journal 2008 Fall Issue o Founder/President Diane Latiker received the Roseland Business Council Community Service Award in November 2008 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Hosted it’s 2nd Annual “Feed A Teen” Thanksgiving Day Dinner o KOB was featured on Fox News (Feed A Teen) o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK was featured in the BET Special “Heart of the City” Chicago’s War on Violence / December 7, 2008 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Partnered with Curtis Elementary School to offer Tutoring Program for grades 3rd thru 8th o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Hosts 3rd Annual Christmas Party in 2008 o KOB was featured on WGN-Channel 9, and CLTV News
o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK travels to Washington for the Inauguration o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK featured in Time Magazine in January 2009 (twice) o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Founder has been chosen for the Lewis Hines Award o St. John Baptist Church Hosts KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Day in February 2009 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK featured in Time Online Magazine in February 2009 o KOB Partners with Public Allies to offer 25 youth community organizing workshops o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Founder Diane Latiker receives Parent Hall of Fame Award o Organization featured on NBC-5 regarding Youth Violence in March 2009 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Memorial Tribute to youth killed by violence featured on front page of the Chicago Defender Newspaper. o KOB became a coalition partner in the Roseland Community Collaborative (RCC) to combat recidivism among youth returning from the juvenile justice system. o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK CEO and family traveled to New York to receive the Lewis Hine Award in March 2009. o KOB received it’s certificate to become a “Promise Place” through America’s Promise Alliance (Founders: Mr. and Mrs. Colin Powell) o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK hosts Candle Lighting Ceremony for families of Youth Killed at KOB Memorial Tribute site in April 2009 o KOB featured in Sun-Times Newspaper, Chicago Tribune, and on ABC-7 News, CLTV, WGN, and NBC-5. o KOB featured on CNN “Children Killed in Chicago” in May 2009 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK featured on Anderson Cooper 360 in May 2009 o Diane Latiker featured on CNN’s Don Lemon in May 2009 o KOB Teens Create Safe Sex Ringtone “Strapless” for Aids Foundation of Chicago’s New Campaign “With Me Comes A Cure” o KOB interviewed by AL-Jazeera TV in May 2009 o KOB featured in Guardian News Magazine/TV special in June 2009 o KOB starts it’s summer jobs program for 53 youth in June 2009 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK gets approved for Summer Nutrition Program in June 2009. o KOB attends rally at Thompson Center to protest cuts to human service programs in June 2009 o KOB is part of Roseland Safety Networks trip to Springfield, IL to rally against cuts to service programs in June 2009 o KOB youth attend three day camp at O’Hare Airport with CAPS and Tuskegee Airman to learn about careers in Aviation o KOB girls/young women (15) attended workshop at UIC about Women in Corporate Leadership sponsored by the McDonalds and the WNBA Chicago Sky Women’s Basketball Team, they also got to attend the game. o KOB youth attended the Black Women’s Expo at McCormick Place in July 2009 o KOB participated in Alderman Anthony Beale’s (9th Ward) 10th Back to School Parade 8-22-09 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK attended the HBCU and Nation of Islam “Anti-Violence Rally on 8-29-09 o KOB was featured on Fox News and CBS concerning youth violence in September 2009 o KOB along with Safety Networks presented a Youth Town Hall Meeting to address the violence in Roseland in October 2009 o KOB won the Nike Back Your Block Grant in October 2009 o Diane Latiker was a panelist for Hip Hop Detox on Youth Violence in November 2009 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK participated in the 100 Pastors “Stop the Violence” Forum in November 2009 o KOB participated in the American Bar Association Panel Discussion “Time to Deliver” at Chicago State University in November 2009 o KOB youth participated in Youth Voices Against Violence Friday Night HIV/AIDS Awareness Forum in November 2009 o KOB hosted it’s 3rd Annual “Feed A Teen” Thanksgiving Day Dinner in November 2009 o KOB was featured on CBS 2 for “Feed A Teen” 2009 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK gave Christmas gifts to six needy families (coats, hats, shoes, games and monetary donation) December 2009 2010 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK started it’s program at Fenger High School to serve 160 students at Fenger and 40 students at the Feeder Schools in January
o KOB was awarded a 2010 CDBG grant for it’s Summer Basketball and Cultural Arts Program in January o KOB participated in the CAPS “Stop the Violence” Rally with Mayor Daley in January 2010 o KOB launched its No Snitching “Keeping it 100 / Enough is Enough” Billboard Campaign. 2-6-2010 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK partnered with Moody Bible Institute in February for the Family Food Give-A-Way. We gave 50 bags of groceries to 50 families. o Founder Diane Latiker was 1 of 3 people honored on Anderson Cooper (CNN) for Black History Month. o Founder Diane Latiker featured in CNN story on the Gun Ban in Illinois. February 2010 o KOB honored with banner in Nike Factory store on 84th Cottage Grove. o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK Featured on Chicago Tonight / Channel 11 o KOB hosted it’s 2nd Leaders In Training ( L.I.T.) workshop in March 2010 o KOB took 10 youth from Fenger High School and Curtis Elementary to Atlanta to visit the King Center. o KOB was honored at the Fox News Celebration of the “Peabody Award” by Darlene Hill o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK participated in the 2nd Annual “Peace Walk” with the Youth Peace Center of Roseland o KOB hosted it’s 1st Annual “Safe Summer Bar-B-Que on June 12th at Palmer Park o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK moved into it’s new center in July of 2010 o KOB held a 2 Day Celebration for it’s 7th Year Anniversary in July 2010 o The 3rd Community for Unity Event was held in honor of slain youth. KOB released butterflies and balloons. o Diane Latiker received the Ephraim Bahar Community Service Award in July 2010 o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK hosted the “Legacy” Management training series in partnership with GSA for young adults in KOB. o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK was featured on PBS Broadcasting for their “Need to Know” TV series in August 2010. o KOB was a partner in the 3rd Annual “Peace Fest” at Olive Harvey College in August of 2010. o KIDS OFF THE BLOCK participated in Alderman Anthony Beale’s “Back to School Parade with Roseland Safety Networks. o KOB participated in the “All I Do Is Win” Back to School Festival at South Side Help Center in August 2010 o KOB was featured in the documentary “On the Frontlines” at the Black Harvest Film Festival in August 2010 o Diane and Aisha Latiker were featured on WVON 1390 radio show in August 2010 o Diane Latiker was invited to Washington, DC to participate in a panel discussion on Youth Violence with Congressman Bobby Rush. o Kids Off The Block participated in the Walk for Peace with ICARE and St. Sabina Church. o Kids Off The Block featured in Black Enterprise Magazine in October 2010 o Kids Off The Block honored by The Chicago Community Trust at their 95th Anniversary Celebration o Kids Off The Block was featured in the Chicago Defender in October 2010 o Kids Off The Block hosted its 4th Annual “Feed A Teen” Thanksgiving Day Dinner o Kids Off The Block and Wal-mart partnered together and fed over 900 people in December 2010 • 2011 • o KOB hosted MLK Day with Mellenium High School teachers and students on 1-17-2011 o KOB hosted two Lunchroom Takeovers at Fenger High School (Outreach Events) 2-2011 o KOB began Health/Nutrition and Fitness Classes at Fenger High School o KOB began Entertainment class at Fenger High School o KOB began Basketball / Mentoring Program at Songhai Elementary o KOB was featured on WCIU Channel 26 (The U) o KOB Youth were honored by The Hinsdale Unitarian Church in Downer’s Grove, IL o Kids Off The Block Founder Diane Latiker was honored with the Black Heritage Award (Marion N’Zinga Stamps) o KOB began Line Dancing Classes for Youth
o KOB hosted 25 youth for Movie/Dinner Night o KOB was featured on the Michael Baisden Show 4-2011 o KOB Founder was CNN Hero of the week 4-2011 o KOB attended tour of Ace Tech Alternative School o KOB youth participated in the Marcus Hendricks Foundation Event o Kids Off The Block took over 30 youth to Washington, DC to march in the rally for jobs and education with Congressman Bobby Rush in May 2011 o KOB and SEIU partnered for two months on outreach activities in Roseland o KOB was a part of Roseland Safety Networks trip to Springfield to meet with Senator Emil Jones 111 and Governor Pat Quinn o Kids Off The Block hosted New CPS Chief Claude Brizzard with Community Leaders of Roseland 6-2011 o CEO Diane Latiker was honored with a Special Youth Activist Award by Fenger High School Principal Elizabeth Dozier in June 2011 o Kids Off The Block hosted the 2nd Annual Safe Summer Bar-B-Q at Palmer Park o KOB participated in The 2nd Annual “Peace Walk” o KOB Youth Advisor Aisha Latiker was featured on You and Me in the Morning Channel 26/The U in July 2007 o KOB participated a Mock Townhall Meeting with SEIU for jobs, and education o Chicago Youth Centers visited KOB with over 30 young people from all over the country o Kids Off The Block hosted a meeting with New Deputy Director of the Chicago Crime Commission Jodie Weis in July 2011 o Kids Off The Block was awarded a grant for 20 jobs for local youth by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources 7-2011 o The Dwayne Wade Foundation with the “Keepers of the Village” Award honors founder of KOB Diane Latiker. 8-2011 o Founder/President Diane Latiker named CNN Top 10 Hero 2011 9-22-2011 o Donor builds KOB Basketball Court on Memorial Lot o Diane Latiker featured in the Chicago Crusader Newspaper o Diane Latiker featured in Tom Joyner’s Black American Web Newspaper 10-2011 o KOB Founder received the Civic Advocacy Award from the Illinois Against Handgun Violence organization October 2011 o Diane Latiker was invited to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Festival of Thinkers 2011 Conference. November 2011 o KOB Founder receives award from Dubai Minister of Justice November 2011 o Diane Latiker receives recognition from the 97th Senate of Illinois November 2011 o KOB Youth Leaders travel to St. Louis, MO to meet with the City Council November 2011 o Diane Latiker and family went to LA to receive her CNN Top 10 Award 12-11-2011 o Diane Latiker received the Community Leader Award from the Roseland Hospital Foundation Board 12-16-2011 o Diane Latiker was featured in the Chicago Tribune Newspaper “Remarkable Woman” in December 2011 o Kids Off The Block receives a donation (1 2010 Van, 10 HP Computers, and a printer) 12-30-2011 •
o Kids Off The Block hosted its 2nd Annual “Speak Up, Peace Out” event with 32 students from Gwendolyn Brooks High School on MLK Day. 1-16-2012 o Diane Latiker spoke at CICS Prairie Charter school to over 200 students, grades 6th through 8th on 1-25-2012 o Diane Latiker spoke to 120 Sophomores at Carver Military Academy on 2-1-2012 o Kids Off The Block hosted 20 youth for a Night of Fun (bowling and skating) on 2-1-2012 o Diane Latiker was nominated for the DVF Award on 2-2-2012. o Diane Latiker was interviewed by DreamBig Magazine in Seoul, South Korea on 2-3-2012 o Diane Latiker has been invited to speak to over 250 incarcerated women in Atlanta on 2-23-2012 o Diane Latiker has been invited to speak at Harvard University to the Black Lawyers Student Association 3-3-2012 o Diane Latiker was guest panelist on “Taking Back Our Streets” at Apostolic Faith Church on 210-12 o Diane Latiker was guest speaker at Development School for Youth in February 2012. o KOB “Tha Movement” and Diane Latiker went to Toronto, Canada to complete their album. March 2012 o Kids Off The Block was featured in Hometown Heroes with Ty Pennington in May 2012 o Diane Latiker was featured on 2nd Chance Radio with Kenny Anderson in May 2012 o Diane Latiker was a guest speaker at Harvard University for the Black Law Students Spring Event. May 2012 o KOB “Tha Movement” featured in What’s Da Bizniz magazine in May 2012 o Diane Latiker was a featured speaker at the ETA Theatre in May 2012 o Diane Latiker was a featured speaker at Northern Illinois University (NIU) to over 400 students in May 2012 o Diane Latiker was on CNN speaking about the violence on June 11, 2012 o On Sunday, July 1, 2012, Kids Off The Block will be one of the featured organizations on ABC’s Secret Millionaire. o Diane Latiker spoke at ELCA Convention in New Orleans, LA at the Superdome to 35,000 students from across the country o Kids Off The Block hosts “Labor Day Tournament / Peace in the Hood” 9-3-2012 o Kids Off The Block partners with Chicago Excel 9-4-12 o Kids Off The Block joins H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Endure) a initiative of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s CARE Project 9-8-12 o Diane Latiker was a panelist at All Star Project’s conversation about afterschool event. 1-26-12 o US Customs and Border Protection Team lays wreath at foot of Memorial Tribute to honor fallen youth. 11-9-12 o Kids Off The Block hosted its 5th Annual “Feed A Teen” Thanksgiving Day Dinner. 11-15-12 o Kids Off The Block hosted “HIV & AIDS Awareness for Youth event with Center for Community Health and Vitality. 12-1-12 o Diane Latiker was a panelist at Columbia Links Town Hall meeting “Don’t Shoot I Want to Grow Up”. 11-15-12 o Kids Off The Block was featured in a News One article about “Feed A Teen Thanksgiving Day Dinner”. 11-16-12 o Kids Off The Block participated in an Anti-Youth Violence video with Mid C Media to bring attention to the violence in Chicago. 12-5-12 o Kids Off The Block was featured in a CNN video to update its viewers about the work of the organization. 12-3-12 o Kids Off The Block hosted its 5rd Annual “Toy Giveaway” at Fenger High School. 12-15-12 •
o Diane Latiker was featured in Black America Web. 1-5-13 o Diane Latiker was featured in “The WIP” online newspaper. 1-7-13 o Diane Latiker placed a full-page ad and wrote a letter to President Obama. 1-7-13 o Met Jonny Imerman of Imerman Angels / 2012 CNN Hero 1-8-13 o Dorothy Brown Clerk of the Circuit