CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago woman has transformed the lives of thousands of teenage boys in one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city by providing a program to keep them off the streets.
Diane Latiker says she created the “Kids Off The Block” program in 2003 by opening up her home in Roseland on the far South Side to nine youths seeking refuge from gang violence. WLS-TV reports that over 3,000 kids have joined the program in the 16 years since.
Latiker removed furniture from her two-flat to free up space, and sold televisions so she could purchase computers to help the boys with their schoolwork.
Joel Q, a 25-year-old teacher and graduate of her program, says 62-year-old Latiker taught him to be a community leader and provided a moral foundation.