AMIkids operates 24 residential programs, 23 day treatment programs six Infinity schools and three WINGS programs across eight states.
In 1969, Judge Frank Orlando, a Juvenile Court Judge in Fort Lauderdale, was frustrated at seeing the same young men come before his court time and again. At the time, his only option was to send them to “reform school,” where the kids would stay for a time then end up right back in his court. He knew that if these boys were to turn their lives around, they would need more than to be simply locked away.
Judge Orlando expressed his frustration in an article in the Miami Herald, which was seen by an old friend from high school, Bob Rosof, who was then director of a non-profit organization in Boca Raton, Florida that conducted research with the Marine Science Department of Florida Atlantic University.
Judge Orlando saw an opportunity to send some of the boys he regularly saw in court to work with Mr. Rosof and his staff where they would be given the opportunity to work, and in turn, be rewarded for their efforts and appropriate behavior. Mr. Rosof and his staff acted as role models for the boys and built relationships to help them see a different future than the one they saw in their past.
With the help of Florida Senator Louis de la Parte and Ollie Keller, the original non-profit transitioned into the first AMIkids program, Florida Ocean Science Institute in Boca Raton, FL, whose focus became changing the lives of kids. Beginning a revolution in juvenile justice programming, AMIkids offered an alternative for youths who may have otherwise been caught in the downward spiral of incarceration. By getting a second chance, a new direction and a guiding hand, the kids were now able to work their way into a world of opportunity.
As a direct result of the efforts of Judge Orlando and Mr. Rosof, AMIkids has helped more than 105,000 kids transform their lives