KIDS OFF THE BLOCK, INC. (KOB) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit incorporated in the state of Illinois. Founded in 2003 by Diane Latiker, she opened her living room to a group of 10 kids in her community to help them steer away from the negative influences they saw daily. Almost 12 years later, KOB has serviced over 2,000 participants since it's inception with mentoring, academic tutoring, career internships, job training, sports, and cultural events. Since 2007 the organization's "Feed-a-Teen" Thanksgiving dinner event has served more than 8,000 youth and their families. It's holiday toy giveaway has donated Christmas presents to more than 1,200 families since 2010. 


To provide at-risk, low-income youth positive alternatives to gangs, drugs, truancy, violence, and the juvenile justice system

Natasha slesnick - Ohio State Univeristy & Star Foundation 

Natasha is a professor of Human Development and Family Science and associate chair for research in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on intervention development with homeless youth and families. She has consulted with multiple organizations on the best strategies for intervening in youth homelessness.

She has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1998 and has written more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and one book. After opening a drop-in center for homeless youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she moved to Columbus, Ohio and opened her second drop-in center. 


  • PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of New Mexico, 1996
  • MS, Clinical Psychology, University of New Mexico, 1992
  • BS, Psychology, University of Washington, 1989

Tim Wambach - keep on keeping on foundation

Tim was born and raised in Chicago, attended St. Mary of the Woods Grammar School and Loyola Academy High School. He graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a BA in Speech/Communications. He has worked as Youth Director for St. Mary of the Woods (Chicago), Sales Rep for elementary textbooks, speaker for National Financial Educators, Speech Coach at Glenbrook South High School, and trainer for Next Level Consulting and Chad Carden Group providing training services for Fortune 500 companies.

Tim authored the book “How We Roll” in March of 2010, a book describing his relationship with Mike Berkson. Tim ran 717 miles between Orlando, FL and Chicago, IL in August of 2005 to raise awareness for Cerebral Palsy.

In 2006, Dr. Bernard Brommel, retired speech professor of NEIU, dedicated a scholarship in Tim’s name for students overcoming great odds.

Currently, Tim and Mike spend much of their time on the road performing Handicap This! ( to help raise awareness and further the mission of Keep On Keeping On. Tim can be reached at: or 847-322-1297

Unity Tournament of Champions 

Unity Tournament of Champions was founded in 2016 by Chris Visto and Chrissy Dizon and is an annual, highly competitive, basketball tournament with a core focus in making a positive impact by utilizing basketball as a mere tool to connect local leaders, elite athletes and youth organizations.  


UTC strives to set their company apart from a typical basketball tournament by also organizing Community service events with said participating teams. This in turn, provides an opportunity to engage in selfless acts of kindness, not only just once a year, but consistently throughout the year!

Kerri Ashurst - University of kentucky 

Kerri is a Senior Extension Specialist for Family and Consumer Sciences Extension. She serves as PI for a variety of grants focusing on outreach and support to military families and Co-PI for Kentucky's Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) grant focusing on fatherhood and CYFAR grant focusing on homeless and unstably housed youth in the Jefferson county area.

Kerri's focus is building state-wide capacity for reaching underserved or at-risk children, youth, families, and communities. Kerri's primary areas of interest include families who are coping with major crises such as illness or death of a family member; positive youth and young adult development; couple communication and relationship building; and stress management. She has had a lifetime of exposure to select portions of Extension programming as her father served as a 4-H Youth Development Specialist at UK for over 30 years and Kerri herself participated in 4-H as a youth.


  • Ph.D. Univerity of Kentucky Family Sciences
  • M.S. University of Kentucky Marriage and Family Therapy
  • B.A. University of Kentucky Psychology

Amanda La Guardia - University of Cincinnati 

Amanda C La Guardia is an assistant professor and clinical mental health program coordinator for the counseling program in the School of Human Services within the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services at the University of Cincinnati. Her clinical experience includes in-patient expressive arts group work and out-patient family and individual counseling with youth transitioning into or out of the foster care system. She also has experience running out-patient adolescent substance abuse groups.

Her research interests focus on professional identity development, collaborative and interdisciplinary mental health care, family crisis, gender issues, and non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors (suicide-related behaviors/self-directed violence).  Dr. La Guardia works from a holistic, strengths-based feminist perspective that emphasizes the importance of cultural and societal expectations as they intersect with multiple roles and experiences of marginalization and oppression.  By integrating core philosophical beliefs from Adlerian theory, Dr. La Guardia seeks to improve mental health care through empowerment-based initiatives emphasizing belongingness, encouragement, and social connectedness.  


  • PhD, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, 2009 (Counseling Graduate Teaching Certificate: Women's Studies).
  • MA, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 2006 (Counseling Couples and Family Community Agency).
  • BS, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 2002 (Biology and Psychology Minor: Criminal Justice).
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