Making A Difference With AMIkids


rose connolly

​Have you ever asked God to change your life, but not really known how or why? Well, I have some advice for you… don’t ask it if you don’t mean it!!

4 months ago I spent about an hour touring a court-ordered residential facility for teens. It was only an hour, but I knew that my life was changed forever. This wasn’t the rough and rigid juvenile hall we’ve all seen on TV. Confidence, respect, and smiles filled the sweet faces of my resident tour guides. There are no bars here. No cells. No barbed wire. Instead, the AMIkids halls are filled with counselors, educators, mentors… family.



It’s a stark comparison to the family life most of the residents are used to–like Angel, a Cuban refugee, whose stepfather was abusive and dealing drugs out of his home. By the age of 12, Angel was battling his own addictions and quickly turned to gangs for the family he so wanted. Between the ages of 15-16 he was arrested 6 times.

Shannon’s childhood was also formed by parental addiction. She ended up living with her grandmother and multiple cousins. They struggled to make ends meet. Her circumstances caused anger, resentment, and bad choices that eventually landed her in a courtroom.

Unfortunately, the cycle of negative behavior and chronic re-offence is a reality for the majority of kids in today’s juvenile justice system. For many, it will continue for the rest of their lives unless someone steps in with an alternative to their situation.

The AMIkids family is doing just that and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it. To date, over 125,000 kids have been given a chance to separate their troubled past from their bright future.

Angel earned the AMIkids Admiral Scholarship, completed his B.A. while working full time as an admissions counselor, and graduated as valedictorian. He’s currently a licensed minister working with youth and pursuing his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.


Angel accepting his BA in Psychology in 2016

Shannon went on to earn her doctorate and is now a college adjunct professor of education and a high school teacher working with kids who have emotional and behavioral disorders.

Shannon’s graduation in 2014.

Every child deserves this opportunity and I often think of Ephesians 2:10 when looking in the beautiful faces of our kids. They are: 

 “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand.”

I got in my car after the tour that day and called everyone I knew who I *thought* would listen to me. Hehe! And I could go on and on about our kids now, but they really say it best:

how you can make an immediate impact for our kids:

LIKE our Facebook page and SHARE the video to increase our visibility.
SCHEDULE a tour with me at one of our Tampa programs to meet our kids and get a first-hand glimpse of what we do.
PRAY about getting involved and how your gifts could be used to impact our kids.
CONNECT us with others in your network that may be a good fit for corporate partnerships.

If you would like to learn more please visit our website here or email me at I would love to hear from you! ​


AMIkids annual whitewater rafting trip.

​“Potential is a priceless treasure in all of us, like gold hidden within…but we have to dig it out.”- Joyce Meyer

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  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries
    October 10, 2017 at 7:41 AM

    This sounds like such an incredible organization. Kids who are struggling are fortunate to have places like these that truly care!

  • Susannah
    October 10, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    That’s so wonderful!

  • Kimberly
    October 10, 2017 at 11:07 AM

    That sounds like an amazing experience and an amazing organization … thank you for sharing their story!

  • elise
    October 10, 2017 at 1:39 PM

    this sounds like a wondeful program. your work is inspiring!! keep it up you’re making a world of a difference.

  • Julie
    October 12, 2017 at 8:57 AM

    Oh my goodness!! This is amazing. I’ve never heard of this company but I LOVE what they are doing. So many teens just need to feel loved and valued to succeed!