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Annie Malone organization has been helping St. Louis children for 134 years

It was first created to help neglected and orphaned children, but it's blossomed into a multi-service center for at-risk youth.

ST. LOUIS — For 134 years, the goal for Annie Malone is to assist St. Louis families.

It was first created to help neglected and orphaned children, but it's blossomed into a multi-service center for at-risk youth.

They are now able to do it through multiple avenues.

One way is through the HW Kia Academy.

Keisha Lee is the CEO.

"A lot of those students come from areas that are underserved," she said. "We contract with SLPS, SSD or Special School District and other schools like that and they bring kids to us."

K-12 students are getting additional support that ranges from therapy to different ways of learning.

"These kids have different kinds of trauma, they are all on individualized education plans. The point is to end that classroom to prison pipeline," she said.

She said 98% of the students are Black boys and their teachers reflect that.

"It's important that these kids see Black male figures that look like them and is from the area that they are from and say 'Hey, don't worry we're going to be OK,' and 'I'll show you how to be OK and we'll get through this together,'" Lee said. 

The teachers said they have a deep bond and connection with their students.

Reginald Webb is a middle school teacher and grew up in Wellston.

"Some of the boys don't really have a father so some of us give them like a big brother, male father figure," he said.

Gary Henderson is a high school teacher who also grew up in St. Louis.

He went on to play professional football and has coached throughout the years.

"I stopped playing football to come do this. We're here for them and that's the only thing that matters," Henderson said.

As for Manuel Robinson, he used to play professional basketball but wanted to help children.

"They can relate to us, we can relate to them, some of us come from the same environment, so if they can see us in a great light then it's a bright future for them as well," Robinson said. 

How to help

To continue making an impact, donations are a way to keep them going for another century.

Donations would go to all their services and the children.

"You're helping a bigger cause when you give to Annie Malone," Lee said.

To donate, click here

Beyond that, most of the academy suffered a flood back in January and can only use partial amounts of the school.

They are searching for potential donors to donate a building or a place to rent. 

If you have any information to help, click here.

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