MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Aim High Academy and Jennifer Patterson give to kids in north Tulsa
6:13 PM, Sep 27, 2013
11:50 AM, Dec 16, 2013
TULSA - Kids are often told to aim high when it comes to their dreams.
There's a group in north Tulsa who is taking that idea to a whole new level.
In 2007, Jennifer Patterson started Aim High Academy, a non-profit to teach kids gymnastics in North Tulsa. It began with a hand full of kids. Now more than 200 come on a regular basis.
"I know all the benefits that the sport of gymnastics has to offer children and to see something like this being brought into the North Tulsa community absolutely thrills me because for a lot of these kids they would never get the opportunity," said Patterson.
The kids who come to Aim High love it. They're taught technique and discipline that gives them a since of purpose.
"I was at home and there was nothing to do. It was boring," said student Kiona Walker. "When I came here, it gave me something to do that was positive and not be out there in the streets doing something bad."
And many kids are seeing results.
Last year three students qualified to the Oklahoma State Gymnastics team. All because Patterson had a dream and wanted to make a difference.
"I feel like we are giving them a safe place where they can come and they know immediately when they come through these doors that they are safe, secured and loved," said Patterson.
At Aim High you will also find Damontay Gilyard. Jennifer started mentoring him when he was 8-years-old. Now he has joined the effort to give back.
"As far as Jennifer, she impacted my life a lot. She gave me the opportunity. She never gave up on me regardless of the circumstances I've been through," said Damontay.
Thanks to donations, and fund raising, Aim High moved into a new 21,000 square foot facility this summer.
With a new home, they have room to grow. The future looks bright, and at Aim High, literally the sky is the limit.
"We've been blessed recently with musical instruments and so we hope to start having music classes. We want to expand our tutoring program. We want to mentor more children and we want to see more kids come in the door for gymnastics."