By Deborah Skinner and LaToya Bowlah
Diane Latiker, age 24, is a mother of eight and the founder of Kids Off the Block, Inc. (KOB) which she started in her home in July 2003.
KOB which began with ten neighborhood kids from Roseland Chicago, now impacts thousands of lives through Latiker’s vision.
Latiker’s vision for KOB is to create a variety of opportunities for youths to develop into positive leaders in their communities. She was given this vision through her mother Evangelist Ruth Jackson.
Kids Off The Block is a non-profit organization. Its mission is, “to provide at-risk low income youth positive alternatives to gangs, truancy, violence and the juvenile justice system."
Through services in social health, social medicine and arts, KOB aims to provide an alternative to gangs, drugs, truancy, violence, and the juvenile criminal justice system.
Services offered by KOB include academic enrichment programs, recreational activities, violence prevention, family planning and career education.
In 2008 Latiker was awarded by the Sun-Times Newspaper as one of the “50 People Who Make Chicago a Better Place.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Shine a Light)