Circle of Light Associates was founded in July 23, 1991 by Reverend Jeff Johnson Jr. and a group of concerned Christians who saw a need to strengthen and increase the quality of life in neighborhoods. They began to help the elderly with lawn care, snow removal and minor house repairs -- all completed by volunteers. This program is still in place today.
- 1991 - Circle of Light Associates (COLA) established
- 1992 - COLA moved into a facility located at 5022 Martin Luther King Blvd and operated a food bank in conjunction with the Saint Louis area Food Bank. Approximately 5000 families and individuals were helped.
- 1993 - A two-family flat was purchased which housed two families and provided them with adequate and affordable housing.
- 1996 - COLA began hosting tutoring assistance and G.E.D classes with certified members of the Saint Louis Board of Education. Since the program inception, over seventy-five students accomplished their certificates of completion and fifty students graduated from computer classes.
- 1997 - The transitional housing program opened its doors for operation. Approximately 70 families completed the full transitional program with 52 of those families moving into permanent housing.
- 1997 - COLA opened the Greater Achievers Learning Center. The center is a full-service child care center with extended hours to accommodate the working parents’ hours.
- 2005 - COLA established a mortgage program for under-served individuals to assist with down payments, closing costs and competitive interest rates toward the purchase of a new home.
- 2005 - COLA opened Down Home Elegance, a full-service Banquet Facility which serves thousands of people in the North County community while bringing opportunities to individuals seeking employment.
- 2008 - COLA Contracting Services, Safety-Administration Division was established. This business is designed to support our current non-profit organization in safety needs, such as CPR training for the daycare and Banquet Facility workers; food safety for the Banquet Facility workers, and OSHA required safety training.
- 2009 - COLA opened the Grass Roots Food Pantry.
- 2009 - COLA Greater Achievers' Learning Center expanded its facilities and hours in order to accommodate infants and help more working families.
- 2009 - COLA Drug Rehab and Recovery Center, in conjunction with the Missouri Substance Abuse Professional Credentialing Board, was opened to help individuals heal spiritually from the pain of addictions.
- 2010 - COLA Victory Garden opened and was sponsored by Thomson-Reuters. It is utilized by those who are in a diversion program or local program serving at-risk youth to provide a learning environment that will aid in providing them with marketable skills and community involvement.
- 2011 - COLA Continuing Education Department was awarded a grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to conduct tutoring and mentoring for school-age children from Missouri schools district wide.
mission & vision
Circle of Light Associates (COLA) is a non-profit organization located in the Baden community. COLA was formed with the commitment, desire, and dedication to enrich the lives of individuals and serve the less fortunate families in the St. Louis area by providing services in child and adult care, education, job readiness, catering, transitional housing, and social awareness.
We have served hundreds of people and families through our volunteer efforts.
Our History...AT A GLANCE
Our COLA STEM Initiative program is reaching kids who may not be exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs.