"We help kids who don't get a lot of help, have a better life and get a good education." - Executive Director Katy Garretson
We learned that the Redondo Beach Elks Lodge #1378 has been involved in the dictionary program for more than 10 years. During that time, approximately 15,000 student dictionaries have been distributed in elementary schools, primarily to 3rd graders. We jumped at the chance for our Watts Dreamers to be the recipients of their next donation.
Elks member, Michael Hertica, graciously arranged for the donation of 70 student dictionaries having only one request – to be able to deliver them personally and see the smiles on the faces of the Dreamers. If you follow this blog you know our Dreamers love visitors! Done.
On Tuesday, April 9th Elks members, Michael Hertica and Pam Gwozdz, came to 99th Street Elementary to pass out the dictionaries and meet our young Dreamers. We met on the playground where the Dreamers lined up to receive a dictionary and meet Michael and Pam. Then we gathered to hear a little bit about the Elks organization and the donation.
Michael began by explaining what the Elks organization is, equating it to the Boys and Girls Scouts of America. He then asked the Dreamers questions about geography and words, in an effort to excite them about the wealth of knowledge contained within their new books.
The books include a comprehensive dictionary plus biographies of the U.S. Presidents, the Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, Facts about the planets and solar system, maps of the seven continents, information about the 50 states and weights and measures!
Program Director Wilma Morales-Franco explained to Michael and Pam that during the IHADLA summer programs the dictionaries will be a valuable resource for the Dreamers. After learning more about the need for supplies, the Elks have decided to help meet the need for pencils and journals in the coming weeks, just in time for our summer programs!
According to Michael: “We have recognized that the need exists beyond our local area so we have reached out to other communities as our resources permit. Our organization is committed to service to the community and this program is an example of that commitment.”
Funding will Help Support Dreamer Mentorship Programs
Los Angeles, CA – April 11, 2013: The “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) is thrilled to announce that SHARE, Inc. has awarded the organization a $20,000 grant to support its Mentoring Programs. The mentoring program is a fundamental piece of IHADLA’s core programming, and provides a positive role model and one-on-one time that many of the Dreamers might not otherwise receive in their lives. SHARE, Inc. is a non-profit, philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the lives of some of L.A.’s neediest children and a long-time supporter of IHADLA. IHADLA Executive Director Katy Garretson and IHADLA mentor Alexandra Dupont, the grandniece of the Founder of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation Eugene Lang, accepted the check during SHARE’s Annual Funding Reception.
“We are so grateful to the wonderful Ladies of SHARE, and we congratulate them on their 60 years of philanthropy,” said Garretson. “The support from SHARE for our Mentor Program means that many of our young Dreamers will now have a role model who will serve as a friend and guide, and whose support will aid in the child’s academic success.”
On April 3, 2013 the SHARE ladies, representatives of the facilities SHARE supports, and invited guests gathered at the Hollywood Museum for their Annual SHARE Funding Reception. Over 130 people attended the reception, which is the culmination of a year of fundraising activities and hard work by SHARE. SHARE, Inc. distributed individual grants to 10 different charitable organizations. SHARE Chairman of the Board Mandie Rush explains, “It’s a wonderful evening and very rewarding to watch the difference SHARE makes in funding these terrific facilities.”
The “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles helps children from underserved schools in impoverished communities have a better life and get a good education. The Foundation sponsors an entire grade at an inner-city, Title 1 elementary school, and stays with those students for over ten years, providing after-school and summer programs, academic and cultural enrichment, counseling services, arts instruction, mentors and tutors. Upon high school graduation, IHADLA then provides each Dreamer a scholarship for college or career training. The Dreamer graduating class of 2010 boasts a 94% high school graduation rate, and 96% of those are now in college or vocational school.
There are currently four active IHADLA program sites: third graders in Watts, sixth and seventh graders in Inglewood, and high school seniors in East Los Angeles.
SHARE is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. SHARE Officers include: Debra Couch, President; Ellen Feder, 1st VP, Boomtown Show; Lynn Brody Slome, 1st VP, Boomtown Party; Caryn Mintz, 3rd VP, Tribute Book; Samantha Faulkner, Treasurer; Joanna Pitt, Treasurer; Jane Jelenko, Secretary. And, the Board of Directors include: Mandie Rush, Chairman; Merri Jean Ross, Secretary; Debra Cirilov Couch; Nanette Pattee Francini; Gloria Franks; Dana Grilikhes Nassi; Dolores Nemiro; Nancy Hutson Perlman; and Annabelle Weston-Shulman. www.share4children.org
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Executive Director, IHADLA
DATELINE, SATURDAY, APRIL 6TH: The KABC truck just arrived at El Sereno Middle School (where our high school seniors have their base camp) to cover our Prom Dress Day! Please set your DVRs for Channel 7 KABC news at 5pm or 6pm today! The KABC news actually begins at 4pm, but the camera man said it would most likely be on at 5 or 6pm.
Here’s how Prom Dress Day came about:
At our staff meeting last month, the Program Coordinators from our East LA site said that our seniors were really moved by the celebration at our Dreamer Brunch, and it was sinking in that they were almost done with high school – that they wanted to celebrate, but prom was so expensive. Our Executive Director Katy Garretson mentioned that she had dresses from awards shows that she’d never wear again, and knew friends who did also – thus, we decided to do a donation drive for prom dress attire.
We put Prom Dress Day out there on Facebook and Twitter, sent some emails and announced it on our website. In just the last three weeks we have received well over 300 (if not 400) dresses, shoes, accessories, gift cards – PLUS a bridal shop called out of the blue and donated over $25,000 worth of shoes/shirts/tuxes for our boys!
We have Emmy dresses, WGA/SAG/DGA Awards dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and actual prom dresses. Some dresses still have the tags on them – they were either never worn, or donors went out and bought new dresses for our girls! Donors include students at Beverly Hills High, TV writers, directors and producers, studio execs (we got over 25 dresses from NBCUni and 35 from ABC) and the wonderful supporters of IHADLA – AND we received boxes of dresses from as far away as Oregon and Kentucky – people who just found us online! Anyway, it’s pretty amazing – all from a little discussion at our staff meeting on March 5th. We will be posting a “gallery” of photos on our website and sharing them on Facebook soon.
We are so happy that Prom Dress Day turned out so well – we thank profusely all of the wonderful souls who contributed, and we thank El Sereno Middle School for allowing us to open our classrooms on a Saturday. And, we thank ABC7 news for helping us publicize this beautiful story of community and giving.
By the way, we’ve already been in touch with the non-profit A Place Called Home, which is having a Prom Dress drive for their girls next weekend. We will be donating what our girls don’t take to them next Thursday evening.
Our third grade Dreamers in Watts recently received a generous donation of backpacks and school supplies from a new supporter of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles. Mike Perrin, owner of Valley Photo Shop in North Hollywood, received a call from a manager of a local Costco who was looking to donate excess inventory of backpacks to a local charity. It turns out that several times a year, Costco stores face excess inventory of goods that have not sold and those items cannot be returned to the manufacturers, so each store selects a local charity to receive the goods as a donation. This was our Dreamers’ lucky day!
Mike began asking friends and family if they knew of any local organizations that could use the backpacks and was introduced to Herman Lopez through one of his employees. Mr. Lopez works with youth and immediately thought of IHADLA, having been involved with us for years. He felt our third grade Dreamers at 99th Street Elementary in Watts would be the ideal age for the donation and as soon as Mike learned about IHADLA, he couldn’t wait to facilitate the donation.
We invited Mike to personally deliver the backpacks to the Dreamers and he was thrilled. So on Feb. 28, Mike arrived to 99th Street Elementary with nearly 100 backpacks, which were all filled with school supplies!
Each Dreamer came through the classroom and received a backpack from Mike. It was a great day, as our Dreamers love visitors and they love gifts! Ms. Raquel Alvarado, our program coordinator for this class, expressed to Mike how important organization is for the students’ academic success. She explained that one of the Dreamers would always misplace his homework between home and school the next day and that by providing him with a folder it has helped him stay organized. These gifts will be a huge benefit to the students.
Since we only needed 70 backpacks for our Dreamers, and Mike brought more than enough, we were thrilled to be able to give a backpack to the entire third grade at 99th Street Elementary!
We cannot do what we do without the support of donors like Mike and we are very grateful to him for his willingness to get involved with our Dreamers. This was another special day that our Dreamers will never forget. And neither will we. Thank you, Mike!
If you would like to get involved with IHADLA as a sponsor, donor, Dream Speaker, mentor or advocate, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us today to learn more about how you can help make dreams come true in the community.
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Did You Know?
- Six out of seven Dreamers expect to graduate from college.
- 97% of our Dreamers say that IHAD helps them believe in themselves.
- Nearly half of our current Dreamers expect to further their education beyond college by obtaining a post-graduate degree.
- 98% of Dreamers say the foundation teaches them to be leaders.
- Our Dreamers are often the first in their families to graduate from high school and go to college.
- 93% of Dreamers say that IHAD is like a family to them.
- 73% of elementary school Dreamers report spending at least 30 minutes a night during the week on homework, compared to the national average of 45%.
- 96% of current Dreamers interviewed expect to graduate from high school.
- Among past participants, more than 80% graduated high school and more than 65% attended college.
- 94% of “I Have a Dream’s” Class of 2010 graduated from high school and 96% are attending college or vocational school.