Eagles Nest Youth Association
(Published Originally 07.04.15 on ARTISCEND.COM)
Written By J. Randolph
Founded in 2006 by Marc Williams and Kenny Diggs, the Eagles Nest Youth Association supports hundreds of kids and young adults in the greater Washington metropolitan area by providing over a dozen sponsored athletic and academic development programs.
Initially they concentrated on instructive and competitive year-round sports to provide a safe haven for troubled adolescents. The program provided a means to get kids off the streets and into a productive environment. In 2011, the group started the wildly successful “Shoot Hoops Not Bullets” summer basketball league. The league is hosted in 5 communities for 8 weeks throughout the summer and has helped provide opportunities and exposure to over 500 young adults. In addition to basketball the participants are granted access to career workshops, classes, and even job referrals.
What started as a childhood partnership stemming from mutual love of Sports and Entertainment eventually blossomed into a full service youth development nonprofit. Today, with the help of college mentors, professionals, and an engaged community, Eagles Nest Youth Association teaches business etiquette, music production, photography, videography, and more in addition to their thriving sports programs. Kids learn to apply themselves in the classroom and receive the tools they need to be successful outside of it. “It’s about providing opportunities, support, and exposure as we galvanize our youth” said Williams and Diggs. Their current focus is their STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The program introduces the youth to computer programming and robotics which will undoubtedly be the cornerstone of upcoming job markets.
With more than 35 years of outreach and development under their belt, they have little left to prove. But Williams, Diggs and the entire organization continue to drive forward with unflinching dedication to their ultimate goal of engaging troubled youth and being a platform to and for a better life. When asked “What is the legacy you want to leave behind”, they replied “[we want] to pass this model on to the next community leaders in order to galvanize, teach, expose and serve; Money isn’t everything—service is. True gratification and success comes from the quality service you provide.”