72-Year-Old Woman Opens Her Heart and Home to Help Children Stay Out of Gangs
Why she is a local hero: Hill opened her home as a safe haven to the kids of South Los Angeles, offering mentoring, tutoring, and gang intervention.
After a 40-year career of teaching students, Hill knew she wasn’t finished. She couldn’t stop thinking about all of the kids she’d lost to gang violence. By her count, that number was at a jaw-dropping 2,000. That’s when she vowed to help more kids than she had lost through her organization, Mama Hill’s Help.
Hill offers tutoring, pregnancy prevention, and gang intervention.
“I had a 4-year-old who came to the house for the first time with his mom. His sisters were in the program, and he was throwing up gang signs. I said, You know what? You leave him with me. We got him straightened out,” Hill told TakePart.
The kids that Hill works with come from difficult circumstances. They come from struggling single parent homes, where parents have drug addiction and gang membership is the norm. Some have parents in prison and relatives who have been murdered.
Many take a daily risk by coming to her program, because they have to pass through several gang territories on their way there. But once they arrive, they are rewarded. Hill leads field trips and counsels. She is a one-stop shop for kids who want to do better. Her home is considered a gang-free safe haven. Every year, she helps 125 families.