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a-aswadBy Michelle Washington - The Virginian Pilot

Ask Abdul Aswad how many kids he has, and he pauses.

"Biological, or...,"

Let's start with biological. Two, a grown son and daughter, and three grandchildren.

Now the real tallying starts.

"Currently I have 15 that come and go from around the neighborhood," Aswad said. Add in those who participate in the youth program he helped found, and the number grows to the hundreds.

Last week, WHRO public radio honored that charity, Children of the Sun, with a Community Impact Award for Regionalism.

Children of the Sun provides athletic activities, mentoring and job training, and along the way offers disguised lessons in teamwork, discipline, respect, work ethic and pride.

Aswad absorbed those teachings from his parents. His mother, now 83, continues her lifelong community activism, serving as a block captain for Green Hill Farms off Tidewater Drive. He adopted his father's ability to connect with his neighbors and the flock of his Baptist church, where he was a minister.

A Video about HRCOTS