HOLA on YouTube

Over the past couple of months, we have been hard at work putting together all of the pieces of our 25th anniversary celebration. During this time, I have had the opportunity to reconnect with staff, alumni and volunteers from our early days and what an extraordinary experience that has been. I was around in those early days and seeing so many of the alumni thriving is a true testament to the power of a place like HOLA. Mitch Moore started HOLA in 1989 to provide a safe space for kids living in a gang and crime ridden neighborhood. They didn’t have anywhere they could go to and just be kids. Those kids are grown up now and many have kids of their own. When I had a chance to visit with many of them, one sentiment was paramount: HOLA had become a second home to every last one of them. HOLA kept them off the streets, out of trouble and most importantly, safe. Click here to view the new HOLA video that includes interviews with many of HOLA’s earliest alums.

Today, the neighborhood is still pretty rough and HOLA youth still need a safe place to hang out. When I speak with our current students, many express the same sentiment as the older alums: “HOLA is like my second home.” It makes me extremely proud that for 25 years we have been providing a safe and supportive environment to underserved kids living in the inner-city. But, as I reflect and look forward, I am awed and inspired by how far we have come. Today, we are so much more. Every kid that walks through our doors knows that they will get the individualized attention and support they need to finish high school AND graduate from college! In a neighborhood where high school graduation rates hover around 50%, HOLA’s high school seniors ALL graduate from high school and over 95% go on to college. We have over 200 alumni currently enrolled in more than 75 colleges and universities around the country. Not only are these kids going to college, they are matriculating through and graduating at rates significantly the average. Since 2009, 90% of HOLA alumni have either graduated or are persisting through college. Many of these graduates come back to our community to give back and pay it forward. It is with great pride that we have been able to hire several HOLA alumni to fill positions on our staff. What they have to share with our youth is immeasurable.

Twenty-five years is quite a milestone. Thank you for being a part of it and stay tuned for exciting plans to expand our campus that will propel us into an even bigger and better future.

 
 
 

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HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.


 

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