Our Story

At AMIkids, we believe in the power of transformation. Every young person has the potential for greatness, and we’re on a mission to unlock it. For more than 55 years, AMIkids has empowered over 160,000 young people across the country by fostering confidence and a belief in success.

In 1969, the seeds of AMIkids were planted in the compassionate vision of Judge Frank Orlando, the Chief Juvenile Court Judge in Fort Lauderdale. Frustrated by a revolving door of youth in his courtroom, he knew that merely locking them away wouldn’t break the cycle of systems involvement. Turning to his friend Bob Rosof, then director of the Florida Atlantic Ocean Science Institute (FAOSI), Judge Orlando initiated an experiment that would change lives. Sending boys to work on a research vessel at FAOSI, they found a transformative alternative to incarceration.

What began in Boca Raton expanded to Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville, evolving into the Associated Marine Institutes (AMI). Through tireless efforts, a commitment to putting kids first emerged. In 2009, AMI became AMIkids, reflecting its expanded mission.

Now, 55 years later, this visionary experiment has grown into a national nonprofit, touching the lives of over 160,000 young people throughout the United States. Today, AMIkids continues to empower young people to discover their true potential and become confident, successful adults.

Our Mission

Empower young people to discover their true potential.

Our Mantra

Empowering young people to believe

Our Vision

Our 2023-2025 strategic vision:
Positively impact 20,000 lives

Want to help but still not sure how?

A personal donation is a great way to start your AMIkids journey.