The Presencia Story

Presencia began in 2009 when Ruthie and Ian North moved from Chicago to Atlanta’s Buford Highway neighborhood. They began with a vision of encountering Christ by meeting felt needs in their neighborhood.

They saw that the children of the neighborhood needed help with homework, and opened an after-school program for six students out of their two-bedroom apartment. As they began serving meals, helping with homework, hosting bible studies, and mentoring children, their enrollment grew from 6 to 45 students.

As the work grew, Ruthie and Ian recognized that it was no longer their work, but something that belonged to the neighborhood. They began training and hiring students to lead with them, raising funding or earning it at other jobs.

Now the students who began as elementary-school students lead our programming work. In our after-school program they grow relational connections that lead to well-being. Under the care of mentors who grew up in our neighborhood, Presencia’s students first learn that they are safe, that they belong, and that their needs can be met. 

As they grow, our students enter a leadership development program where they learn to lead with love and care for younger students.

Students with the capacity and passion for leadership join our staff, where they gain valuable job experience, opportunity to lead the next generation, and healthy community where they can thrive.

The Presencia family is a big community that includes diverse donors, partners, neighbors, advisors, staff, and students who all believe in the power of loving presence over time to transform lives. We invite you to join us!