Using his own money, Temple resident Garfield Hawk III bought a basketball hoop and a few balls to provide a recreational outlet for the children in the community of East Temple where he grew up. That was in 2009 and, more than ten years later, the effort he started is called UnINcluded, a non-profit that is dedicated to providing structure, loving mentorship and goals for children and teenagers.
“We create those positive spaces and help children build positive habits,” says Doree Collins, executive director of the organization that is dedicated to helping children learn and thrive.
Located on seven acres in East Temple, UnINcluded inspires young people to learn to love to read, provides an urban farm where participants learn about growing and preparing their own food, a youth leadership program, and an afterschool program.
The name UnINcluded is a play on the word included and takes its meaning from the negative things that the nonprofit wants to help children avoid including drugs, teenage pregnancy, gangs, obesity, and illiteracy.
Collins says one of the non-profit’s most popular efforts gives books to young children and, in turn, high school and middle school participants take the time to read with the younger children and to be role models for them.
Seeing children find a passion for reading is rewarding, Collins says.
“I’ve had parents tell me ‘My child couldn’t wait till they got home to read their book,’” she says.
Another gratifying part of being involved in UnINcluded is seeing children grow into caring people and seeing them pass those values along to younger participants, she says.
Follow UnINcluded on social media and visit them online at www.unincluded.org.