WASHINGTON — Horton's Kids, which has served southeast D.C. for more than three decades, is expanding into a new hub.
It's a 10,000-square-foot indoor space complete with 10,000 more square feet of outdoor space.
The organization's goal is to give kids who are exposed to violence daily a haven to just be a kid.
“The hub hopefully will provide a place where anybody that comes kind of feels that neutrality and can relax and breathe," executive director Erica Ahdoot said. "And you know, that opens up all sorts of pathways for learning and connection and all of that. So it's critical.”
Horton's Kids' approach is to serve the entire family, so they offer workshops on things like job training and entrepreneurship for parents.
They also have a distribution center for food, diapers, house supplies, and more.
Right now, they’re working with about 600 kids and family members – and they only hope that expands with this new hub.
The organization has been around for 34 years -- and has made a huge impact on hundreds of kids' lives.
They said for the last six years, 100% of their seniors graduated from high school.
DCPS, on the other hand, saw a 71% graduation rate in 2021.
The executive director says they chose this spot for the hub because it’s in a neutral neighborhood in Southeast while still being accessible to the kids who need it most.
Ahdoot said they want the kids to put their stamp on the hub.
“The vision is that this is truly an asset for the community," she said. "We want the kids, particularly the middle school, and high school students that are coming in to really feel like it's their own. There aren't a lot of spaces like that in that immediate geography, where kids can come and convene, and feel safe and get access to different learning opportunities and enrichment opportunities and things like that.”
The building they moved into is actually a converted church, which often serves as the center of a community, so it's a fitting transition.
As for the outdoor space, they hope to tackle that in the next six to eight months.
They plan to build a better basketball court, playground equipment, and a mural on the side of the building.
The ribbon cutting for Horton's Kids new hub is from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, February 3.