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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

A W O L All Walks of Life Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Crime & Law, Youth Development Programs, Youth Violence Prevention

Mission: Our mission is to promote and provide self-awareness through the use of Poetry, Hip-Hop and Life.

Results: AWOL has served over 500 Savannah-Chatham County youth by providing them with high quality arts and technology education and training. AWOL has encountered over 10,000 community members through unique programs and arts events.

Target demographics: Youth ages 12-18 and Out of School Youth ages 19-22

Direct beneficiaries per year: 130+

Geographic areas served: Southeastern USA

Programs: Theater and Performing Art Sound Design and Music Education Film and Photography Information Technology

Donor & Volunteer Advisory

This organization's nonprofit status may have been revoked or it may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Charles S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would sometimes go by the offices of AWOL with my son and would see first-hand the impact that they made on the youth that were there. AWOL is a very important part of the city of Savannah. Because of their work with at-risk youth, the "at-risk" is removed and "productive" replaces it. Tony and DaVena have a passion to help the youth of this city reach their full potential. I have known both of them for years and have no doubt that, with the right support, they will take AWOL across this country. Changing the "at-risk" to the "productive".

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with AWOL on and off since its inception and the work they have done with the kids in our community has been nothing short of stellar. Their presence in the Savannah area has been a blessing within itself. Their innovative as well as cultural approach has drawn in youth from all over the city who maybe could have easily succumbed to the many pitfalls that the city has to offer if otherwise. They have also been instrumental in family involvement and giving back to the community as well as evidenced by their "Goon Squad" program in which they teach city youth how to rebuild computers to donate back into the community. All in all AWOL is the most progressive organization that this city will ever see and to see a program like this die out will be a travesty to the community as a whole.

Timothy R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with AWOL since July of 2010, when I moved back to Savannah, GA. Tony, DaVena and LaKesha opened up their arms and their hearts for me, even though they didn't know me entirely. The beautiful thing about the group is that everyone that is in their aura is touched with immense love. It's potent and infectious and this translates to the dozens of children that they work with one a day-to-day basis. To be with these phenomenal people is an honor to say the least and will be considered a highlight of my career and personal life.

The effect that they have on the children is immediate and obvious: the kids are encouraged to create and, if not in performing arts, they are told that they are more than they think they are. The most important thing that the children are taught is not just to perform and create but personal responsibility. They learn skills that can be applied to any "walk of life" and any career that they choose to pursue.

Tiffany W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with AWOL since its inception. If you want to support an organization that truly exhibits a grassroots effort with the purpose and drive like any major 501(c)3 organization, then this is the place for you. AWOL has always been a place for our children in the city of Savannah and surounding areas to have a safe, endearing, encouraging, and energized environment to allow them to ornately discover their love and passion for the arts. My only specification and criticism for this organization is that without financial support and residual income, they CANNOT support the number of children they would like to help. I love this organization and everything that it represents. I hope more people have the same love as I have.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AWOL Inc. is an amazing organization! The reach out to at risk children and give them an outlet to express themselves through arts and technology! Tony and DaVena Jordon are teaching kids that if you work hard and have a dream it can come true! It is truely a blessing to have this wonderful organization here in Savannah!

Robyn H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AWOL Inc is absolutely wonderful! They reach out to at risk youth in the Savannah area in the form of Arts and Technology Education. This gives the children and outlet or voice to express themselves in music, poetry and plays. Since the children have AWOL Inc, Tony and DaVenna Jordan and the AWOL staff, it gives them a hope. They have a hopeful outlook on life and it encourages them to become a productive member of society and give back to the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

AWOL is an outstanding organization that gives young people a platform to use their talents and skills in a positive manner. It provides exposure to various artforms and serves as a resource for different community organizations. The young people create and study poetry, music, dance, and dramatic arts. The organizers mentor and promote positive activities for youth. Without this outlet, many of the participants would fall prey to illegal activity, teenage pregnancy, and many would drop out of school, but AWOL gives them the freedom of expression and the impetus to empower themselves with positive growth.

Client Served

Rating: 5

After relocating to Savannah, our daughter, Zoe, began rebelling and acting out in school. As part of her rebellion, Zoe worked very hard to maintain her 14% average in school. Every interaction with Zoe was a fight. It was non-stop stress, to say the least. When Zoe pushed us to the point where we didn't know what to do, we sat down with DaVena and discussed Zoe's problems. DaVena gave us some pointers and suggested that we enroll Zoe in one of their programs.

For the next 3 months, I drove Zoe to her AWOL classes 3 days a week. She sobbed and yelled the whole way there about how she didn't want to go. Every trip was the same. "I don't want to go! I don't like these people! I don't fit in here!" When I picked her up from class, she was all smiles and talking about all the things she got to do. During those 3 months, we watched her grades improve and her attitude got a bit better.

One day, something in Zoe's head clicked and her attitude went through the roof. She started talking about her "responsibilities" and her aspirations. As the class progressed, Zoe was pulled more into the spotlight as her class began to perform on stage to support the album that they put together. She learned that she has one heck of a stage presence and that she's very good at performing.

Zoe completed that program successfully and begged us to let her participate in a program that AWOL ran over the summer. Given the change that we saw in Zoe, due to her participation in the last class, there wasn't even a choice to be made. That class completed and Zoe begged us to let her try out for AWOL's "Act Up" program. She tried out, she made the cut, and she's having a great time.

Today, Zoe doesn't cry before her AWOL classes but she does yell from time to time. Class starts at 6:00 and Zoe yells at us around 5:30 to get moving because she wants to be early. Her class is only a mile and a half down the road but she really wants to make sure that she gets there early! We don't see problems in school anymore either. In fact, Zoe has mostly A's and she's in two advanced level classes for the next grade level. She's also determined to get into a prestigious arts academy next year.

The changes in Zoe's attitude and outlook on life are directly related to her participation in AWOL. Her life has been changed by this program and so has ours.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have observed AWOL Inc for 3 years. What I have seen consistently is compassion. Compassion believes it takes more than money to make a difference in the life of a child. AWOL Inc. has provided education, a safe haven, and positive influence in the world of children who might not have received any of it elsewhere.

AWOL Inc. provides youth with a positive alternative to crime, recidivism and substance abuse by giving exposure to, instruction in and experience with multi-media arts for personal, cultural and vocational development. . AWOL Inc. helps children develop positive interests in the arts and express their creativity through an artistic media. They have provided an artistic atmosphere for strengthening self-esteem, respect and overall personal development.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have volunteered for A.W.O.L. but my main understanding of the organization comes frombeing a professional that has encourntered their programs and utilized them with clients. I am an Licensed Clinical Social Worker and I work with teens that have experienced the death of a loved one. I have been able to refer my clients to A.W.O.L. where in a caring and supportive environment they were able to learn how to channel their emotions into something creative and positive. Whether it is being in the Hip-Hop play, working behind the scenes or learning a skill with working with sound, photography or computers all of my clients have reported having transformative experiences. I know as a professional I appreciate so much having A.W.O.L. as a resource. As a human being and memebr of this communtiy, I can not recoommend more highly the work they do with kids that may otherwise have been lost and that is as high of a calling as anyone can have. Please endorese A.W.O.L. and help them continue to change the world one youth at a time.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I worked them when they deep-fried a bunch of turkeys for Thanksgiving and sold them to raise some funds. They were a great team and make a great turkey.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

AWOL...this organization personifies remarkable, uncommon integrity,scholarship, sisterhood,brotherhood, service driven,career minded life transforming GREATNESS. AWOL impacts the lives of energetic,bright,vivacious goal oriented youth. I was the poor,talented,creative girl from a loving home. I longed for an organization like AWOL as a teenager;there were none. Many people speak of the future...AWOL is the present and the future.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

All Walls Of Life is a great organization . It works with at risk kids that could go the wrong way. are already went the wrong way.They also work with kids that just want to be apart of the arts. They teach ,minter, they guide but most of all they change lives of lost young people.They give kids hope and dreams that they can do any thing by making the right choices in their lives. They are a blessing to the kids they serve.I come from South Carolina to see their annual show every year .Its been great my kids wish they lived there so they could be apart of AWOL.Keep up the good work because you best is yet to come.

Comments ( 1 )

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djordan 01/06/2011

Thanks so much for the great review and kind words about our organization. We are only as good as our supporters allow us to be. Thank you for the support and encouragement. Please tell your friends and family to write a review if they are familiar with us, we plan to use these on our website as well. Thanks again and be blessed.

Ima H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A.W.O.L. (All Walks of Life, Inc) is a one of a kind non-profit in Savannah, Georgia. I have been involved in AWOL in many ways, almost since its inception. I believe in the mission of AWOL to help our youth excel in life as productive, educated, community leaders, who have pride in themselves, our little corner of Georgia, our country, and our world. AWOL's founders, Tony and DaVena Jordan single-handedly made a wish, a dream, a desire rise from their own sweat and blood. Tony and DaVena took a tremendous leap of faith by risking everything they own to put together their program because, as a probation officer for the juvenile justice system and as a health educator focusing on public health, they each saw the tremendous need for teenagers to be able to express themselves in a meaningful way that was culturally significant and diverse.

I too worked in the public health system, then, later became an educator in an inner-city high school. I knew what the Jordan's were doing was something that was special and I knew it would work. DaVena tirelessly wrote grants, took kids to performances, while Tony worked two jobs and became one hell of a pitch man. When the first grant money began to trickle in I decided that, while I could not do much for AWOL artistically I could give them the one thing I had; credit. That's right, I believed in this program so much that I was willing to take a chance and give them a small part of what they needed to become a true non-profit. I tell you this, not because I desire any accolades, but because I want you to understand how noble the cause of AWOL had become.

I have seen so many children blossom under the care of Tony and DaVena Jordan. I have also seen some of the most talented people in a wide variety of professions (from real-estate agents to computer gurus) give hundreds of volunteer hours to this organization. When people are willing to give that much of themselves it speaks volumes to the importance of the program.

I know that I have not focused on the types of programs offered by AWOL, but I want people to understand that the spoken word, theatre, computer, technology, sound production, and video production programs only work because of the dedication of the Jordan family, the AWOL staff, the wonderful volunteers, and the beautiful souls of the children and young adults who work tirelessly to soar higher than they ever imagined they could fly.

Comments ( 1 )

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djordan 01/06/2011

To the best friend that I could have asked for from Armstrong, April your contribution to AWOL is and has been invaluable! Tony, myself and the youth of Savannah will forever be grateful for your consistent and tireless devotion to AWOL. All the late night phone calls, listening to me cry, scream, shout and cuss (just a little) to get funds for AWOL means so much to me. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! AWOL despite all the odds being stacked against on most day's will keep on keeping on because of people just like you that help us. Without your help, me and Tony would never have made it this far. I still remember you writing my first pay check! lol. And now its a whopping half a million dollars later and your still here cheering me and Tony on! Thank you April!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

While working as a freelance journalist, I was told about AWOL in 2006, when the organization was in the midst of planning their first ever Hip Hop History Play. I wrote an article about their efforts for Georgia Music Magazine that year, but was so inspired by the work they were doing that I stayed in involved over the next several years, writing another article about the addition of their film program for The South Magazine, and then volunteering to teach a session of their music education program. That led to joining the organization as a part time artist facilitator, teaching music history, creative writing and marketing as a part of the music program. Over the years, I've watched young people who've been actively involved in the organization develop from shy teens into motivated, intelligent young adults who've gone on to college, taken internships, and become professionals in their own right. It's awe inspiring to say the least.

AWOL goes out of its way to provide a safe and friendly environment for at-risk youth in the Savannah area. In a community that still clearly demonstrates the scars of segregation and is burdened by a poverty rate that is well above the national average, AWOL provides youth with critical education and opportunities that they would have missed out on otherwise because of slashed school budgets and neglected neighborhoods. It provides an opportunity for young people to discover that the world is bigger than their block, or their city, and understand that there are more options in life than jail or minimum wage labor, but only if the kids are motivated and educated. The program is not a band-aid to fix all the wrongs in the world, but when it is successful, it helps mold self-confident, intelligent young people who will contribute to the culture and community of whatever place they choose to end up in life.

Susan I.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

AWOL Inc is one of my favorite non-profits. Each time I'm around the staff and kids involved, I find myself inspired and hopeful for the future.

Working with limited resources AWOL takes kids that our society has written off, and transforms them into optimistic, focused future-leaders through mentor-ship and well designed arts and technology programs.

calirich

Donor

Rating: 5

As a partner of AWOL I feel honored and priviledged to be a supporter to such an gifted organization. They give children positive alternatives to a productive live no matter where you come from. AWOL takes the time to nurture and prepare challenged and talented youth to utilize their mind and gifts God has blessed them with for good, and they empower them to become productive citizens. AWOL helps youth envision success not failure, victory and not defeat, they teach children to love themselves, get an education and give back to their community. This organization of the arts is essential and an asset in the times we are living because it motivates the youth not to give up, but continue to perservere and strive for excellence. Yes I say it boldly and loud I am PROUD to be an AWOL partner mostly because AWOL doesn't just mean All Walks Of Life it also means Always Willing to show Others Love!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with AWOL in a number of capacities. Tony and DaVena Jordan care so much about Savannah and especially about the youth in our city. From the Savannah Urban Arts Festival to their ongoing youth programs (in technology, sound design and performing arts) the organization's hard work and dedication touches many lives and makes our town a better place!!

Kevin L.

Donor

Rating: 5

AWOL does amazing things with young people, especially with the Goon Squad and community computer program. They take computers that would otherwise end up in a landfill, clean them up and put them back into the community, helping to close the digital divide and providing much-needed connectivity to families in need.

I'm constantly amazed at all they accomplish for Savannah.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

AWOL has done incredible work since beginning many years ago now. The impact on kids who have little use for traditional intervention models is nothing short of miracelous by taping into what the kids love the most: their own creative talents.