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  • Writer's pictureAustin Bowyer

A-SOL Origin Story

On January 15, 2022, Lorna Reddicks and Austin Bowyer met while serving at OurCalling, a homeless services organization in Dallas, TX. The two quickly bonded over a passion for serving the community and spent almost three hours together at lunch that same day. The two came from very different backgrounds but bonded over the idea of preventing homelessness in youth and developing future leaders. In 1997, Lorna Reddicks founded a homeless shelter in Atlanta, Georgia, House of Love for the Family (HOL). Over the years, Lorna saw positive effects taking place on the parents at the shelter as they were taught how to create a budget, manage money, and explore entrepreneurship. Educating them opened their minds up to new opportunities for their families. This was when the thought came to introduce money management and wealth building to children at an early age. When she closed the shelter in 2004 to take care of her ailing mother, Lorna dreamt up an after-school program to prevent homelessness and poverty by teaching youth about business management and entrepreneurship. She documented a mission statement and a program overview but then put the idea away in a desk drawer.

Austin Bowyer comes from an extensive background in serving at-risk youth. Starting in college at Baylor University, he got involved in multiple after-school programs in low-income neighborhoods in Waco, TX. Additionally, at Baylor, Austin started a business and served as a mentor and consultant to two other startups. After college, Austin’s passion for supporting low-income individuals led him to get highly involved in the Fair Park neighborhood of South Dallas. In 2021, he learned about the community firsthand through organizations where he served in various ways, from feeding the homeless to mentoring a middle schooler to serving at an after-school program. When Lorna and Austin sat at lunch after they first met, Lorna shared her nonprofit idea, and they dreamed about turning it into a reality. After taking a week to think and pray about it individually, they both decided it was time to take action. In late January 2022, the After-School Opportunity Lab was born. Since the conception of A-SOL, Lorna and Austin have been hard at work. They have built the initial board of directors and recruited a team of volunteers committed to building the organization into a 501(c)(3).


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