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About us

About The Hartford Knights

Who We Are

The Hartford Knights is a non-profit organization that began in 2000 by Executive Director, Bernard Thomas. The Hartford Knights Youth Organization (HKYO) began as a basketball-centric association and grew into a mentoring service organization for at-risk youth.

Thomas realized after years of coaching young men in basketball, that there was a need for long term changes for these youth. He decided to utilize athletics to influence their academics. In 2005, the Organization had begun an academic enrichment and mentoring program. As time went on, the HKYO connected with local schools, the Department of Family and Children Services (DCF), Connecticut’s Court Support Services Division (CSSD), and other referring agencies to mentor youth in Hartford’s Promise Zone.

Mission Statement: Hartford Knights Youth Organization's mission is to enhance the lives of youth in the Greater Hartford Area by providing academic enrichment, youth intervention services and organized sports programs that promote career readiness, character building and other leadership skills development.

Your gift to Hartford Knights will make a difference in the lives of Hartford Youth.

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What We Do

The Hartford Knights is a preeminent non-profit youth mentoring organization that provides Connecticut’s most vulnerable children with the support, hope and the skills needed for a successful future. For decades we have served youth in the greater Hartford area, proving them with education, life skills, job opportunities, and a second chance at a successful future.

The HKYO works in collaboration with local schools in the Promise Zone and is an accredited service provider to DCF, and Connecticut’s Court Support Services Division (CSSD).

Bernard Thomas, Executive Director

Executive Director

Bernard has been an entrepreneur and mentor the majority of his adult life. His passion comes from seeing youth achieve their goals no matter their circumstances. He knew early on, he would need to pave his own path to achieve his goals. He is a go getter and has no fear pursuing the American Dream for himself and his family. As a youth growing up in Hartford, he identified with the inequities and disparities in Hartford’s low-income neighborhoods.


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Winifred Billington, Program Coordinator

Program Coordinator

Winnie is our newest office staff member. She has been with HKYO since Aug 2018, but has stepped right into the position of overseeing various program areas within the youth and teen mentoring curriculums.  Her goal is to provide quality program/project management to ensure planning, execution and reports are accomplished efficiently and professionally. Her daily tasks also include assisting the Executive Director in planning and coordinating Mentoring programs.


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Jacquelyn Santiago, Office Assistant

Office Assistant

Jacquelyn is an office assistant who provides support for staff at the Hartford Knights Youth Organization. She is currently studying at Manchester Community College to get her degree in Business Management. Her responsibilities include the management of the day-to-day administrative duties of the business, i.e., managing calendars, meeting arrangements, document creations and maintaining office electronic and paper records for our credentialed documents, mentees and mentors personnel files.

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