DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — For more than three decades, a nonprofit has been dedicated to improving the lives of kids on the east side of Dayton.

It’s called KIND, founded in 1987, and it’s located on East Fifth Street.

“KIND stands for Kids in New Directions,” said Executive Director Laura Helsby.

The nonprofit relies solely on donations and local grants to serve kids and carry out its work of setting them on the right path for the future. 

“Kids really needed a safe and loving and nurturing environment to go to after school and during the summer,” said Helsby.

Roughly 40 kindergartners through sixth graders in east Dayton come to KIND. It’s not just a hot meal and free transportation. Staffed with four teachers, they also work on bridging gaps academically. 

“They teach me how to read,” said Kiser fourth grader Jolly Ester with a smile .

Like the name, they also stress kindness.

“They’re very nice, and they love me, and they care about me,” said Cleveland Elementary third grader Patience Deasange.

They help create strong bonds with one another.

“I love to play with my friends,” says Kiser third grader Ange Mutse.

It provides a safe place to go after school, giving them not just the chance to learn, but the chance to be a kid, feeding physical needs and emotional ones.

“Their face just lights up to know that you love and care for them and you are providing them with resources that they lack. It grabs your heart to see how thankful they are,” said Helsby.

KIND is helping make a difference in the community, one kid at a time.

On June 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Shoes 4 the Shoeless will be at KIND giving free shoes and socks to kids who need them. On June 20, KIND will hold a golf fundraiser.

To learn about these events or other ways to donate to KIND and give back, click here.