Baltimore, Maryland is renowned for many things – its seaport, its seafood cuisine, its fine restaurants, its Harbor Place waterfront, and negatively for its juvenile crime rate, drug trade and gangs. One of the best kept secrets is the Riley Hawkins’ Avenger Foundation (RHAF). RHAF is a 501(c) (3) non-profit foundation which grew out of a highly successful martial arts and leadership program aimed at targeting inner-city youth. The foundation has made a very positive impact on approximately 5,000 youngsters during its years of operation despite its client base consisting of mostly hardcore inner-city youths many headed for trouble as school dropouts and members of urban gangs.
Riley Hawkins the founder of the Avengers Martial Arts program, and later the RHAF, is an unassuming and highly committed man. Mr. Hawkins is a 10th Degree black belt Karate Master who, over the last 50 years, has established an unblemished record of integrity, honesty, and character as a formidable fighter, a trainer of martial artists, and as a dedicated role model. He and his students have received worldwide recognition for their martial arts skill, and many of them are gaining recognition in the chosen professions as well. A large number teach the discipline of Karate within the inner-city communities throughout the U.S.A without compensation, emulating the commitment that made many of them successful citizens.
The foundation was developed to reach hard core inner-city youth and to teach them the attributes necessary to become good citizens. Programs supported by the foundation are offered for free and includes martial arts training, art instruction, computer literacy classes, homework tutoring, physical fitness classes, a breakfast program and field trips to a variety of educational and recreational locations. All these activities are meant to encourage and expand the participants’ view of what is possible.
The Riley Hawkins’ Avenger Foundation has been the recipient of numerous awards and citations for its work with youth, the Police Athletic League (PAL) and communities; among them are two citations from past Maryland Governors, mayors of Baltimore City and resolutions from legislative bodies.
RILEY HAWKINS’ AVENGERS FOUNDATION PARTNERS:
Maryland Institute College of Arts
Wright’s Construction Company, Inc.
Miller Transportation and Car Wash
Jackson’s Helping Hand Maintenance Company