Having been a recipient of public aid, Louise King was inspired to open a social services agency for young people. This single mother of two wanted to help low-income families with the same problems she once had, such as, difficulty buying school supplies and Christmas presents for her two children.
In the summer of 1992, after months of soliciting donations from businesses all over the community and recruiting firefighters and police officers to speak about fire safety, drug prevention and the importance of staying in school, King held a Back-to-School party at Gloria Taylor Park. The kids were provided with a picnic lunch and pencils, crayons and paper for school.
The program has grown from 40 youth in its first year to more than 100 this past fall. In addition to the annual Back-to-School party, King also has a Christmas party for low-income families. The first one was held in her basement with 50 youth participating. They all received presents of stuffed animals and games. King spent more than $500 of her own money for this past year’s Christmas party.
Through her organization called Service Connection, King encourages young volunteers to serve at a local senior citizen home. The youth join the seniors in playing checkers or other board games or coloring in coloring books. Some seniors even had their hair styled by the youth. King also encourages the youngsters to volunteer their services whenever possible to other organizations. Additionally, she has a small group of children in whom she continually encourages to achieve good grades and to make the honor roll by giving them incentives.