Starting out with ten youth from the neighborhood, almost 14 years later, KOB has serviced over 3,000 participants since its inception.
KIDS OFF THE BLOCK, INC. (KOB) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit incorporated in the state of Illinois. Founded in 2003 by Diane Latiker, she opened her home to youth in her community to help them steer away from the negative influences they saw daily. KOB, has it is known, began to work with youth, teens, and young adults ages 12-24 years old. After speaking with the young people about their issues and concerns, she offered them homework help, mentoring, activities and a “safe place”. Her work with youth emphasized self-development that would lead to change. Through individual meetings and group discussions new recruits were encouraged to assess their current situation, identify skills and a knowledge base needed to achieve the goals they have targeted.
Our mission is to provide at-risk low income youth positive alternatives to gangs, drugs, truancy, violence and the juvenile justice system.
- Create a positive environment where youth can feel free to be creative.
- Provide exposure to other cultures, ethnic groups, communities, and activities.
- Work with each youth as an individual to promote development in any sustained way.
- Cultivate skills and meet the needs of the young people we serve, KOB provides services in three areas: social health, social inclusion and art. This includes academic enrichment, recreation, health, violence prevention, family planning, and career education. Although our services are free, it is expected that all young people involved will contribute to KOB and to the community.
- Celebrate their accomplishments, we work with youth to emphasize change and empowerment. Upon arriving at the organization, youth are asked to develop a total person plan which outlines how they plan to use our services and what they hope to achieve. Young people are actively involved in all operations of KOB from program planning to design to actual implementation. Many of our youth are trained as peer counselors, they assist with discussion groups and counseling. Youth also teach classes in music, dance, poetry, health, gang/violence prevention and soft skills, many are also employed by KOB in summer and work as receptionist, program assistants and can earn Community Service Learning Hours.
Founder Diane Latiker