Aaron Hutchins

Since I was the captain of my team, it helped me develop my leadership skills. Now it helps me manage my business as far as having other people work under me. The company growth I anticipate, it wouldn't have been there without DC SCORES.

The memory is etched in Aaron Hutchins' mind like a life milestone. It was the day he realized what he wanted to do with his life.

One day my neighbor's house caught on fire and his dog was chained to the back of the house, and it was the second floor that was on fire. I went and got his dog and then I thought, "What if the dog was inside? Would I really have gone in to get it? And then I guess I answered yes. That was it. That's how I knew I wanted to do this.

Ever since that day in 2012, Aaron, 17, has strived to helpif not in as dramatic a fashion. He began lifeguarding soon after rescuing the dog and now, having just graduated from Phelps High School, is pursuing a career in either carpentry or firefighting. Whether it's laying a sturdy foundation for people's homes or saving others from danger, the DC SCORES alum is dedicated to serving others. And leading.

In high school, Aaron decided to start his own business. It began with a typical job for teenagers: mowing neighbors' lawns. However, it didn't take long before he was landscaping and then doing construction. Soon, Aaron had business cards made reading "Hutchins Property Improvement" and began taking on complicated projects, including resurfacing a hardwood floor, building and painting a shed from scratch, pouring concrete, and installing a fence in a backyard. Aaron has also continued to lifeguard, so you can imagine the amount of downtime he's had very little. Understanding he couldn't complete such ambitious projects by himself especially on timelines satisfactory to his clients his business cards have the tagline "Your schedule is our schedule" Aaron hired a few friends with similar skill sets to become part of his team. Soon, he was leading a business that continued to grow during his high school years.

"I've just been interested in construction for my whole life, really," Aaron said. "I've been living in the same house my whole life and that house was built back in 1912. Of course, there are just a few problems. When I was little, the carpenter might come out and I was always there just sitting and watching him, always really interested in it."

But where was Aaron's ability to lead a team of workers born? Aaron played soccer for the first time as a member of the DC SCORES team at Aiton Elementary School. During three years of wearing the Bears' blue uniform on the soccer field and on stage at the Poetry Slam!, Aaron learned how to be a good team member and blossomed into a leader. He became the captain of the Bears, instructing teammates where to be on the soccer field and helping classmates with their poetry.

"Especially since I was the captain of my team, it helped me develop my leadership skills," Aaron said. "(Now) it helps me manage my business as far as having other people work under me. That kind of helps me realize what everyone wants, what I want, and what's best for business."

Aaron further honed his leadership skills when he became re-engaged with DC SCORES in high school. As a DC SCORES alum, Aaron learned about a leadership team that was being formed to organize events for former program participants in high school. He applied for and was voted the alumni group's president. Soon, Aaron began scheduling meetings for students from across the city and took charge of organizing events such as the alumni soccer tournament that has expanded into a large-scale annual happening that's a highlight of the year for many. Taking on such tasks more than prepared the young entrepreneur for his current venture.

"The (company) growth I anticipate, it wouldn't have been there without DC SCORES," Aaron said.

Aaron Hutchins loves building. He helped build the team at Aiton during the school's early years in DC SCORES. Today, he continues to build his businesshe's currently doing drywall and painting, working on a hot water heater, and has a fence project upcomingwhile keeping his eye on the future. He hopes to complete the one-year volunteer firefighting program and begin a four-year carpentry apprenticeship at the same time, and looks toward a future where he can pair his business cards and work ethic with a certification (or two). And down the road, Aaron plans to do more building with his own hands.

"When I get older, I want to have my company build my own house," Aaron says. "I know that, OK, I might find my dream house. But it's one thing to find your dream house, and another thing to actually build it.

America's Afterschool Storybook tells the stories of people and communities transformed by afterschool programs.

The Afterschool Alliance launched the Storybook to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the only federal initiative dedicated to supporting community afterschool programs.

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