The mission of the organization is to promote and provide self-awareness through the use of Poetry, Hip Hop, and Life. This mission is accomplished by providing youth with safe and free after-school and evening arts-based educational programs. The organization’s main goal is to successfully develop youth in an environment that encourages respect, education, creativity and most of all non-violence. Using the elements of hip hop as a means to promote self-expression and self-respect, AWOL strives to provide troubled youth with an outlet for their creative energy and frustration, empowering them to overcome peer pressure and to make better decisions in their daily lives. While hip hop has a negative connotation in many communities because of the art form’s portrayal in mass media, AWOL believes in its potential, when applied positively, as a force for social change that allows students to examine social issues and messages while working to achieve a level of “critical consciousness.” By allowing youth to explore their own potential using Hip Hop as a medium, young people can utilize it as a tool of communication, social change and self-awareness.