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In 1988, Fr. Charles and Fr. Chester Smith, SVD and a few dedicated individuals joined together to explore strategies to save African-American boys and girls from a multitude of problems which threatened their very existence. 

Alarmed by unfavorable statistics and symptoms of devastating forces at work in the community, seemingly designed to negatively impact against survival of African-American youth, these individuals enlisted the support of their respective churches.  With the financial assistance of generous donations from individuals, and fund-raising efforts, they formed “Ambassadors of the Word” to address these problems and develop strong African-American leaders of tomorrow.


  1. To prepare the youth for various leadership roles in their community

  2. To foster opportunities for awareness of the global nature of poverty and environmental oppression

  3. To address the social, economical, psychological, and spiritual needs of the youth

  4. To provide opportunities to discuss changes which may provide various opportunities for quality, rather than survival, existence.



The LOGO for AOW is the Gye Nyame, which means “except for God,” symbolizes God's omnipotence through the knowledge that people should not fear anything except for God.


Gye Nyame indicates the recognition of the supremacy of God over all beings, and therefore is the one that is feared and revered by all.

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Emotional DevelopmenT:

  • To provide African-American boys and girls with role models for growth and development;

  • To provide African-American boys and girls with an opportunity to interact with African-American men and women and for each to become mutually responsible for each other and the community.

Physical Development and Sexuality:

  • To increase knowledge and understanding of the physiological changes that are taking place as each boy and girl moves toward adulthood;

  • To explore human sexuality and the responsibility each individual has in maintaining sexual health (especially in relation to sexual activity, childbirth and sexually transmitted disease).


Spiritual Development:

  • To increase their personal relationship with God;

  • To study and become more knowledgeable about different religions;

  • To study the Bible and reflect on its’s teachings;

  • To increase knowledge and appreciation of the historical and spiritual concept of God in the lives of African-American people.

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