Kidz Express was a dream of the founders, Warren King and Duane Ehresman, to provide programs and services that helped build self-esteem in inner city children, exposed children to the larger world around them and bridged the gap between the Austin area of Chicago and Oak Park. Kidz Express originally partnered with Austin Messiah Lutheran Church in order to provide these services and bridge the gap between the two communities. Following the untimely death of Austin Messiah's pastor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church became the sole supporting organization for Kidz Express. Kidz Express evolved into an organization focused on developing mentoring relationships with children from the Quincy and Central neighborhoods within Austin. Today Kidz Express is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The purpose of Kidz Express is stated in our Promise:
Trusting in God's love and power,
I will respect myself and others,
I will accept responsibility for my choices and consequences
I will explore my world and make it a better place.
In May of 2005, Kidz Express acquired our building at 342 S. Laramie on the west side of Chicago. Kidz Express transformed this building into a neighborhood youth community center, allowing us to increase the depth and breadth of the programs we offer as well locate and expand directly into the community and provide our children a safe gathering place. The youth community center opened in September of 2005.