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Helping Hands – Little Lights

Since Steve Park’s family-owned taekwondo studio in Northwest DC opened more than 25 years ago, Little Lights has served families with some of the lowest incomes in Washington, D.C.

After Steve met a young kid who struggled with reading, he felt heartbroken for students who needed help in school and a mentor relationship.

Now, Little Lights offers a variety of after-school programs for hundreds of children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old, including tutoring, mentoring, and more.

When there was a school teacher shortage last summer, Little Lights was there to help D.C. families in need.

With Little Lights’ help and support, all six of her children will pass, said Kourtney Mills, a mom of six.

Little Lights recently launched a college and career readiness program, which assists students in enrolling in college and setting them up for success after graduation. In addition, Little Lights offers job training to adults. Since its founding, the non-profit has grown beyond just a program. It has become an integral part of the community in the process.

“We build deep relationships with families. We even hire adults from the community to come work and be employed at our center,” Park said. “We develop the relationship long-term. Even during the pandemic, we would call parents every single week and have zoom chats, provide tablets that have internet, and act as an extended family for our students and adults, so they do have that support system that they often lack. It’s very easy for students to fall through the cracks when that support system isn’t there, and the safety net isn’t there. We try to provide that level of depth and support for all of our families.”

Touched by the fantastic works Little Lights is doing in our community, we surprised them with a check for $2,000 to go towards their incredible initiative.

Park was extremely thankful for the generous gift from the Helping Hands initiative. “We are excited to put it into our career and college readiness program and help it to grow and help more students,” Park said. “This is wonderful. Wow. I’m so touched. It’s so generous. This will really help.”