Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. director recognized for dedication to community enrichment

Sylvia Bolling


Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. founder and executive director, Sylvia Bolling, recently received three awards for her work with the community center. In mid-February, North Harris College awarded Bolling its Community Leadership Award. On February 21, Bolling was one of four recognized by METRO as an outstanding African-American Honoree. The Iota Phi Lambda sorority will name Bolling their Outstanding Woman of the Year on March 7. Bolling appreciates these awards because of what it means to the organization. She said, “They validate to the world what we’re doing and allows more people to see Aldine Y.O.U.T.H.”

Bolling is humble about the praise, and said she should not receive all the credit for the center’s success. “It’s not Sylvia Bolling herself. It’s God. Mine is just the name God chose in order to let other people know what He can do. I could not do it if He did not send the right people to nurture the vision,” she said.

These recent awards add to a long list of accolades Bolling has received in the last ten years. Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. is a grassroots non-profit organization. Its mission is to empower positive change in the lives of youth and their families through partnerships with businesses, agencies, schools, churches, and volunteers. Bolling originally started the organization out of her own home. She and her daughters put up hand-made flyers and held activities in the libraries and parks. “We had nothing the world said we needed to have,” Bolling said.

Bolling quit her job as a speech pathologist to fulfill her vision. In 1990, she incorporated Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. In 1995, they purchased their building and 6.8 acres of land. Four years later, they celebrated when they paid off the mortgage. The first paid staff member came on board three and a half years ago. Now there is a staff of four.

There is no stopping Bolling who believes in always moving forward. “I tell them, ‘If the light bill is not paid, bring your flashlights. We are not stopping.’”

Bolling’s ultimate vision is to use more of the 6.8 acres to create a large community center. She believes the recent awards will help to complete that goal.

“These awards will bring Aldine Y.O.U.T.H. to the next level,” she said. Bolling hopes her success will be an inspiration to others. “I want this to be a testimony to other grassroots people who have great visions but the world says you can’t do it. It can be done, but you have to wait on God’s timing and be faithful,” said Bolling.