Founder & President Kids Off The Block, USA
The mother of eight children, Diane Latiker founded Kids Off The Block, Inc. (KOB) at her home in the Roseland community on the far south side of Chicago in July 2003.
Ms Latiker was given this vision through her mother Evangelist Ruth Jackson. Ms. Jackson saw that the youth in the neighborhood liked and respected her daughter. Looking at the children that were always at her home, Ms Latiker saw future health professionals, doctors, lawyers, professional musicians, professional sports figures, politicians, actresses, and many other professions.
She believed that she could make a difference in the community, and in the many youth that she came in contact with daily. She became encouraged and began to think about opening up her home to get these young people off the streets and involved in programs that would benefit them for the rest of their lives. KOB started out with ten neighborhood kids, and now has over 250 active members, with a waiting list of over 100.
Ms Latiker dismisses claims that the current youth are the “lost generation”, saying: “ Through forms of compassion, love, and guidance this generation can be led to discovering a spectrum of opportunities and become positive leaders in our communities”.