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Ima H.

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Review for A W O L All Walks of Life Inc, Savannah, GA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own classroom. AWOL took a risk and agreed to help train my special needs students for their Community Based Vocational Instruction class. They accepted all of my students and found something meaningful for them to do regardless of their disability. My students were all over the map, needs wise, but it did not matter to the Jordan's, who have a special needs child of their own. My students received the best "hands on" experience and guidance that they have ever been given on any job site.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would find AWOL a space large enough to allow them the growth they deserve so they could help more kids. I would also buy them a van, because transportation is a tremendous barrier to anyone who lives outside of the city in the suburbs and more rural areas.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

How did you learn about this organization?

From the Jordan family.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Role:  General Member of the Public & I was an original AWOL Board member, volunteer, consultant, and my special needs students have received vocational training with AWOL.
djordan (Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

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!