Kids are Kids, a non-profit organisation in Ocean View, has become a beacon of hope for children, allowing them to start thinking positively about their future and what they want for their community.The organisation was launched last year and is in the process of being registered, but has already done several projects in Ocean View, Masiphumelele and Lavender Hill.The organisation was started by Luke Koeries (18) with the idea to create a space where children are allowed to be children without fear. “The organisation basically helps underprivileged kids. Wherever there are kids you will find us there. The idea is to bring communities an alternative to gang and violence and show children that there is a way out of crime and gangs,” he says.After losing his father, he realised that life can be a struggle and that this is a harsh reality for many children in his community. “When my dad died I realised there are so many kids that don’t have fun and no food because they can’t afford it and no-one is there for them. I wanted to fill that gap and show them they are loved,” says Koeries.Through the organisation, children go for hikes, receive help with their homework, clean up their communities and attend afterschool care.Koeries is currently in Grade 11 at Ocean View High School, volunteers as a firefighter and works as a part-time DJ. He believes the youth must keep busy. “Find something to do. Being idle makes people think of all the bad and negative things like joining gangs and committing crimes. Our communities don’t have role models and the people that make it in crime are the gangsters. However, through the organisation, children as well as the youth are beginning to see that life as a gangster is very [dangerous]. They have seen people being shot dead in the area and now people are moving away from that. With the work we do, we hope most people will see that crime doesn’t pay,” he says.Koeries recently organised a big Easter programme for children from various communities and says he has no words to describe the joy he saw on the children’s faces. “It was an amazing experience. To be able to bring so much joy to children can’t be put into words. What made the day extra special was the fact that there was a fire truck in the area and children got to play and learn more as they enjoyed the Easter eggs. When the truck had its sirens on you could see the excitement on their faces. It was such a wonderful day, and seeing kids running freely without being scared of anything was really nice. We also gave out Easter eggs and there was an Easter egg hunt,” he says.V To assist the organisation, call Luke Koeries on 074 011 7172.