DeKalb Kids Projects, Inc. was established as a 5o1(c)(3) organization in 2014 by a group of three individuals ages 27 – 28 who wanted to create a better educational and living environment with activities and support services that would cater to the specific needs of the community. We are conscious of the changing demographics in our community and are committed to growing and adapting our program to meet the emerging needs.
Our mission: To build projects for our youth of DeKalb to become better leaders!
Students arrived at Stone Mountain High School at 8 am to assist in the first phase of DeKalb Kids Proct, Inc. Project Health: Breaking Ground. Project Health Breaking Ground is a collaborative effort between our organization and Stone Mountain High School towards the building of an outdoor classroom and community garden. Students were challenged on the process of learning and applying basic instruction, listening to meet goals, and learning to incorporate teamwork to help facilitate the vision of Project Health. Applied life skills included learning and mastering basic concepts of the woodwork, carpentry, gardening, and landscaping.
Students were greatly impacted as they each took ownership of their tasks, leading their peers, and viewing the final product. Many of the students learned to use household tools such as a hammer, shovel, drill, and pickax. Specific processes included the mixing and laying of concrete, constructing a fence from beginning to end, building raised beds, laying the foundation for mulch and soil, planting seeds, repotting flowers, and general concepts of gardening for each item planted.
Some educational concepts applied during the project consisted of Geometry, Physics, Calculus, Environmental Science, and Psychology to name a few. More than 50 volunteers worked together from Stone Mountain High School, including faculty, staff, students, and residents from the community to accomplish the vision. DKP would like to highlight our very on Kenneth Cowser of Quality Precision Concepts for leading the carpentry aspect of Project Health: Breaking Ground! We would also like to thank our Founders, Diijon DaCosta, Tiijon DaCosta, and Dawit Willis for all of their hard work in creating a sustainable organization used to empower the homes, community, and schools to directly impact the youth.
A Master Carpenter is one that focuses on custom woodwork such as framing for houses, and repairing structures made of wood.
As a child, my dad was a Carpenter who was constantly working. I anticipated going to work with him, it was the only way to spend time with him. As I got older, the skills I learned through observation became helpful because it allowed me to make money.
As I begin to make money, I began to pay more attention. The more I learned, the more money I made. As I began working with more people, I found that I actually enjoyed it. I loved hearing the visions of people and finding ways to make their dream a reality. I found a love for seeing growth.
I discovered that my ability to hear a vision, mentally work the processes, break each step down, and work the entire project backward was a gift. It’s like the construction of a puzzle, how you build the border first to a gist of the picture. I am able do just that. I can see the bigger picture! I have always excelled at math from an early age. My competence with numbers is useful because mathematics plays an important part in carpentry. Precise measurements and accuracy are critical because a few numbers have the power to ruin a project when they are wrong.
”I’ve always wanted to be as helpful as I could to my community even as a child. I wanted to be influential. I wanted to make a lasting impact like the people who left an impression on me that I’ve carried with me even today.”
If someone is interested in carpentry I would suggest that they be open to learn. They have to pay attention to even the tiniest of details. They have to be attentive during the learning experience because even a momentarily lapse could spell disaster for the project . My experiences came from my dad at a very young age so many of the concepts have become natural to me. I would suggest for someone that is interested in learning a skill whether it’s piano or learning to cut grass, that they always be a student and continue growing to reach their maximum potential.
I am married and I have six beautiful children. I have an awesome family! I try to be the positive light because I know that just a little bit of light can make a huge difference. My wife and I are big on exposure. It is my duty to expose my kids to as much as possible because they need it. I have to be as honest with my kids as possible.
Success is not money! You have to understand that money will come and go. Money is a number and numbers are infinite, you’ll never have enough!
Real success is living in your passion because your passion will excite you and most importantly take care of you. You can identify your passion by asking yourself “What am I willing to fight for?”. When you do what you love, it makes the fight a little easier. That passion will help you against any opponent life throws at you.
Words of wisdom that I share with the youth is that we all have a purpose. It is our job to find it and feed it! If you don’t find it someone else will give it to you and you’ll be working for them. Every child is special and everything that’s meant to be will already be on the inside of you.
”I live by three most important words: faith, family, and happiness.”
On a muggy Saturday morning, several Eldridge L. Miller Elementary teachers, former students and children partnered to create an outside classroom to create a new way of learning.
With the help of DeKalb Kids Project, volunteers and a few teachers at Eldridge L. Miller Elementary transformed a plot of land next to the school into an outdoor classroom and greenhouse.
Kenneth Cowser, owner of Quality Precision Concepts, was a sponsor for the project and helped build the school’s newest amenities.
“I want to try to do anything to beautify our community,” Cowser said. “I can still vividly remember people who helped me when I was younger. They made an impact on my life and impacted my character of who I am today, so I definitely wanted to make that same impact for somebody else.”
Cowser is a former student of E.L. Miller and said it’s important for him to give back to the community any way he can. He said he was excited to help transform the school’s green space into something beautiful.
“Shoot, I remember 20 years ago we were out here playing,” said Cower, laughing. “I remember walking from class here every day going to gym class. This is really major to get to see this positive transformation.”
Cowser said he became involved with the project through his childhood friend and current DeKalb County Schools board member Diijon DaCosta—also a former student of E.L Miller.
DaCosta, a 1996 graduate of E.L. Miller, said the purpose of the project is to help children learn how to produce their own food as well as learn the value of hard work.
“The goal is to tie the community back to the school so we can have a better partnership,” DaCosta said. “The teachers will build this into the curriculum and the kids will start to plant seeds once the school year starts.”
DaCosta also helps run non-profit organization DeKalb Kids Project. According to organization officials, the organization is “focused solely on transforming the minds of the youth to become better leaders.”
DaCosta said the organization helps the DeKalb community every Saturday.
“Our goal is to bridge the gap. That’s why you see so many different age groups out here. Everybody out here right now either went to the school, is going to the school or graduated from the school,” DaCosta said. “We just want to teach them to give back. They could be doing anything in the world right now, but they’re out here at 7 a.m. in the morning and we won’t stop till the job is done.”
DeKalb Kids Project said the new outdoor classroom is part of a transformation at the school.
Bryant, who helped mix concrete and guide volunteers during the building process, said he wants to teach his students “survival skills” they can use later in life. Bryant said during his tenure as principal students have gone on several field trips each year and developed valuable social skills.
“It builds character for them,” Bryant said. “I’m a product of DeKalb. I’m in education because of my former teachers. I’m one of those statistics that shouldn’t have made it. Our kids [at E.L. Miller] have grown so much socially and emotionally. When you talk about development, it’s not just about test scores.”
We are a nonprofit organization focused solely on transforming the minds of the youth to become better leaders. We are passionate about academic excellence and strive to find creative outlets for the youth. We are establish relationships within the homes, community, and schools and we provide positive support to the youth to inspire hope and create change.