AALR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has served African Americans in the western suburbs of Chicago since 2000.

Originally, AALR referred to African American Leadership Roundtable, an organization focused on improving the overall well-being of African Americans by addressing various issues of concern in our community. AALR sought to build leadership, provide information, and collaborate with civic, religious, and voluntary organizations to tackle the many challenging issues faced by African Americans. While the overall goal of AALR remains the same, the organization has sharpened its focus on the education of our youth in particular. In keeping with this new laser focus on educational achievement, AALR adopted a new mission and vision statement in 2014 and revised its acronym to now stand for Asserting Achievement Literacy & Resiliency.

For 20 years, AALR has a history of supporting the success of African-Americans partnering with community stakeholders for the well-being of our beloved community. Read more about AALR's history by clicking here.

Chicago Hope

In late 2017, AALR started researching opportunities to partner with an organization that supported Chicago youth. After contacting several organizations, a decision was made to partner with Metropolitan Family Services-Calumet Office (MFSC).

AALR's Chicago Hope program commenced in early 2018 to aid in the success of MFSC's Upward Bound students with aspirations of going to college. Our support includes an annual College-Bound Preparatory Training Session, a trunk party, access to one-on-one mentoring while in college, and other collaborative work with the staff of MFSC.

AALR is pleased with our newest program, a partnership with Metropolitan Family Services-Calumet Office to ensure first generation, college-bound Chicago high school students are equipped with the mentoring support and basic essential needs to begin and sustain them during their college career. We seek individuals and organizations to partner with us in this endeaver. If interested in partnering with us, please e-mail Marla Jarrett at marla_jarrett@hotmail.com.

Pembroke Hope

AALR is embarking on a new initiative in Pembroke, IL, one of the largest rural black communities north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  After a tour of Pembroke by a couple  of Board members and a meeting with community leaders on Tues., June 16, 2020  AALR’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to develop a partnership with Pembroke. This partnership, Pembroke Hope, is similar to our Chicago Hope program with but with expanded programming.

We are excited for what is to come as we work  with the Pembroke community. You can read more about this initiative here. 

Board of Directors

President, Amania Drane

Secretary, Juliet Allen

Treasurer, Connie Brown

Justin Allen, Esq.

Marla Jarrett


AALR Scholarships

The Rev. Henry Soles and Ms. Olivia Garth Scholarships were established in 2015 recognizing the pioneering work and dedication of Rev. Soles and Sister Garth. These scholarships will be awarded to graduates who have exemplified hard work and a dedication to helping others achieve and succeed in life.

Selected scholarship recipients are expected to attend the Annual Holiday Luncheon held the second Saturday in December.


Launched in 2011 as the educational program of AALR, DuPage Academic Achievement Workgroup Network, DAAWN, is a coalition of parents, community volunteers, schools, and concerned stakeholders interested in improving the educational outcomes of African American students. The first chapter of DAAWN began in Darien, IL in partnership with District 61's Lace Elementary School. DAAWN crafted  a tutoring program to meet the needs of struggling students. The program enjoyed the support of administrators, community partners, and parents.,  Over the years, DAAWN emerged as a premier tutoring program providing opportunities for academic growth, cultural learning and awareness, social activities and outings, community service, self-esteem, character building, responsibility and incentive programs.


New in 2020!

DAAWN E-Learning

DAAWN, is kicking off a virtual learning environment that will incorporate Social Emotional Learning. Lessons will be pre-
recorded and accompanied with interaction and movements that will keep the students engaged and motivated to continue their e-learning at home and during school hours. It is our hope that this e-learning program will help parents navigate their child’s
learning at home, as well as get the students excited about their new virtual learning environment. We will be utilizing both young adults and educators to host our e-learning sessions.
Weekly sessions will begin on Tues., October 6, 2020 (No session on Election Day), with the final session on Tues., November 17, 2020. Each session will last between 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the interactions and questions. Third through Fifth graders will
start their session at 6:00pm each week and Sixth through Eighth graders will start their session at 7:00pm each week. We hope that you will join us for this exciting time.
To reserve your spot for this upcoming e-learning program, click here.

To download our program  flyer, please click here


We are grateful to our many partners who have contributed to the success of our programs.  Churches, civic and social organizations, non-profit organizations, community volunteers, and parents have been invaluable assets.  We would like to extend our special thanks to the following:

Call Us:



PO Box 4104 

Lisle, IL 60532

© 2019  AALR