PawKids Founder and executive director LaTonya Gates Johnston (above) launched Paw Kids in a neighbor’s backyard with five children. Credit: Photo courtesy of PawKids

By Isaiah Singleton

PawKids began in 2015 as an after-school enrichment program for children in Grove Park and has expanded over time in response to the needs of children, their families, and the community.  

Founder and executive director, LaTonya Gates Johnston launched PawKids in a neighbor’s backyard with five children. PawKids are a faith-aligned community hub that exists to empower, provide holistic resources, and build genuine self-sustainability in the lives of Atlanta neighbors.   

With support from two churches (historically Black, Paradise Baptist Church and majority-white Atlanta Westside Presbyterian are the basis for the “PAW”) Johnston purchased a former trap house on Donald Lee Hollowell Blvd and renovated it to provide a safe, loving environment for the kids after school. 

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