what is aok?
About Our Kids, Inc., (aok) started as bcaws Summer Camp in 1999 to provide affordable and progressive childcare for school age children while school is out for the summer because there were 600 children under the age of 12 in the Lamar School District alone and licensed child care capacity in the entire county was 181. (Kids Count in Missouri, 2000)
This grassroots effort has morphed from summer childcare into a non-profit dedicated to teaching lifelong skills to youth K-12. Annually more than 50% of our Summer Camp campers are eligible for free/reduced meals.
aok’s programs were funded entirely by local contributions from 2014 until a federal grant was awarded in August 2017, which not only validated our role in caring for area youth, but also has been a source of community pride demonstrating to young and old alike that youth are important to our population.
We are blessed to be part of such a giving and generous community.
what is youth development?
Youth development is a process that prepares adolescents to meet the challenges of their formative years and includes efforts of other youth, adults, communities, government agencies and schools to provide opportunities for youth to enhance their interests, skills and abilities into their adulthoods.
AOK provides education, activities and experiences to instruct kids physically, socially and morally.
We have an extensive range of educational programs and services and we supply training and materials to area schools and organizations, enhancing their ability to reach youth.
AOK staff is trained to address risky behaviors including underage drinking, sexual activity, and drug abuse. They can also deal with emotional and mental issues, such as cutting, self-mutilation, depression, ADHD, Asperger syndrome, and more. Their primary goal is to meet the emotional and developmental needs of the Barton County youth.
By designing and implementing comprehensive youth development programs, AOK helps parents, caregivers and other youth leaders connect to the teens in the community.
where is aok?
AOk hq functions as our harm reduction basecamp, where the public can access a variety of resources, such as Narcan for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose.
There is also a comfortable meeting space for area coalitions with state-of-the-art audio/visual support.
the wolf building
AOK’s programs at the Wolf building are designed to meet the educational, emotional, physical and nutritional needs of children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Using a variety of approaches and curriculum, the staff promotes service learning projects that include hands-on activities with direction followed by structured reflection period to emphasize the significance of the activity.
Nathan’s Place is a safe, drug-free supervised home-away-from-home for kids, with a kitchen, living areas, laundry facilities, and a shower. For recreation there is a basketball court, exercise equipment, a major sound system, video games, pool table, foosball, movies, and more.
The classroom is used daily for homework as well as for periodic instructional sessions, including character training, decision making, anger management and nutrition. In addition there are monthly activities that provide more outlets for expression and exercise of the body and mind.
Monday–Friday at 5pm. Free of charge to any hungry youth.
in loving memory
Nathan’s Place is named in memory of Nathan Finley and is the home of the VolunTeen AOK program.