Published Date: November 8, 2018
Inner City Youth Opportunities provides a safe and structured environment after school and in the summer for inner-city children of low income families. Here is a success story from ICYO.
Antwanazia Fant first started attending ICYO as a second grader. She was reserved and rarely spoke to anyone. Her mother worked two jobs and being the second the oldest to four brothers, Antwanazia often would help her younger brothers with their homework neglecting her own.
But when she started coming to the ICYO Learning Center she began making friends and building relationships with the staff and volunteers. She became more comfortable, opened up socially, and focused on completing her homework each night. She started getting involved in programs such as Kicks for Kids, Mojo Circus Camp, and Great Outdoor Adventure at Potter’s Ranch.
She discovered a passion she didn’t know she had; she loved performing. Through ICYO, Antwanazia gained confidence and began to transform into a leader by volunteering as tutor to help the younger students with their homework, serving as a field trip chaperone, and working as a tennis helper.
This past summer, with the help of ICYO sponsors, Antwanazia was selected by her teachers at Withrow High School to visit Cincinnati’s Sister Student Exchange Program in Taiwan. She spent two weeks in Taiwan experiencing the culture and meeting new friends, saying, “Strangers are friends you have not met yet.”
The young girl who was quiet and reserved is now a true leader and inspiration to many. She is president of the Withrow Big Sister Program, president and founder of the Anna Mae Club, active in her church, and has been inducted into the Withrow High School’s National Honor Society. She has been accepted into the American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City where she will pursue her dream of performing.
Since 1993, thousands of children have benefited from ICYO's after-school homework assistance and academic tutoring, summer tennis camp and other camps, and year-round field trips. The Dater Foundation has supported the organization annually since 1997, making 25 grants totaling $655,000. A grant of $25,000 was made in September.