Thank you so much to all who attended the I Have a Dream Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) Holiday Soirée on December 5th. Our gracious hosts, Laurie Zaks and Jeff Horn, brought together celebrity friends with our donor supporters, student Dreamers, and staff, creating a fun and meaningful evening for our IHADLA donors.
Many of you told us that you were happy that you got to hear directly from a few of our IHADLA student Dreamers and meet IHADLA staff. You said you were able to really feel the impact of your charitable giving through these encounters.
We are pleased that the charitable donations made during this party will be doubled by the matching gift pledge established by the Bascom Group for donations up to $25,000 through year end.
Dessery, Watts IHADLA student Dreamer spoke to the holiday soirée guests:
My name is Dessery Alvarez and I am a 99th Street Dreamer in 6th grade. Something that impacted me in I Have a Dream Foundation Los Angeles is how they support you and never let you feel down.
For example when I was in summer school, one of my older siblings got in to a very dangerous accident, which stopped me from attending summer school.
My mother then informed Mrs. Alvarado, my program coordinator, of the situation and she felt really bad about what happened. From there she invited me to one of the Dreamer field trips. At first I did not want to go, but my mom wanted me to go, so I went. When I got there I felt sad, and that is when I started to cry. My friends came over to comfort me and reassured me that my brother would be ok and that I had nothing to worry about. At that point, I felt that I was not alone.
Two of the coordinators, Mrs. Alvarado and Mr. Campos, told me that they invited me to the field trip so I would not feel sad anymore and that’s what really impacted me about I Have a Dream Foundation – LA.
Another thing that impacted me in I Have a Dream Foundation LA are the Dream Speakers. Through them, I learned about new careers that I didn’t even know existed. Through them I realized my passion for sketching and wanting to make movies. My dream is to become an animator.
Aaron Fields, Inglewood Program 16 student Dreamer speaking at the holiday party:
I joined the “I Have A Dream” Foundation Los Angeles when I was a first grader attending Daniel Freeman Elementary in Inglewood. That is where I first met my Program Coordinator, Mrs. Walker better known as Mrs. C. She has been the only consistent Program Coordinator that has been in the lives of my twin sister, Anayah and our fellow Dreamers since the start of the program back in 2006. After attending the after-school programs, summer programs, and all the field trips, Mrs. C and the entire IHAD staff treated us as if we were a family. It felt like home away from home, because we spent so much time together. Throughout my years as a Dreamer, IHAD has supported my entire family, and we’re very thankful to them.
IHADLA has always shared with us Dreamers that “No dream is a bad dream. Dream for what you want and go for it because you will achieve it and if not, always have a backup plan!” Recently, IHAD provided both my sister and I with mentors who both work for the FBI, and they’re amazing. We were also given the opportunity to apply to the FBI Teen Academy with the help from our Program Coordinator, Mrs. C.- and we were both accepted!
Sometimes I wonder where would I be without the help from these wonderful people from the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. I definitely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to attend so many amazing field trips, receive the academic support, have a mentor, and so much more! Just last month I was reminded about the importance of giving back when the other Dreamers and I visited the Westchester Villa Retirement Home, where I volunteer with my program every year. We decorated the residents’ Christmas tree in their lounge, put Christmas wreaths on their room doors, and helped decorate their miniature Christmas trees that were going back with them to their rooms. Showing a helping hand goes a long way and sometimes further then I will ever know.
So to close, I just want to end with saying “Thank you,” because I am enjoying being a Dreamer and noticed from a very young age all the opportunities given to my fellow Dreamers and I that other students may not ever experience. I have also made some life long friends that I call my family. My hope is that the next group of Dreamers get the same or even better opportunities than I was able to receive, because in the end they’re all worth it.
Sophia Betancourt, 3rd grade IHADLA Boyle Heights Program 19 student Dreamer spoke at the Holiday Party:
Hi! My name is Sophia Betancourt and I am a Dreamer from P19 at Sunrise Elementary school. My dream is to be a vet when I grow up.
Debra Fine, CEO and Executive Director of I Have a Dream Foundation – Los Angeles spoke at the party:
Thank you again Laurie and everyone for coming tonight to support “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles and to just enjoy the night. “I Have A Dream” Foundation Los Angeles has been providing academic, social, and emotional services at schools in underserved communities since 1987. We work to break the cycle of poverty in the communities by working with the students, whom we call “Dreamers,” for 10 consecutive years in their class, after school, year round, providing tutoring, mentoring, field trips, parenting workshops, and emotional support through high school graduation. We then provide college scholarships and help to transition them into college life. Many alumni come back to help their communities and “I Have A Dream” Foundation – LA. You’ll meet some of our Dreamers tonight from Boyle Heights, Watts, and Inglewood. We also have some of our alumni and program coordinators here tonight, so please meet them for yourselves. Feel free to ask them questions.
This work could not be done without the unfailing support of our board of directors, please wave. I’d like to introduce Grant Little, our board chairman. Thank you, Grant, for long supporting “I Have a Dream” Foundation – LA.
Andrew Carlberg spoke at the holiday party:
In closing, I wanted to draw your attention to the tree you see in the corner there, and to the ornaments you may have noticed placed around the party. In the spirit of the giving season, we have a Giving Tree, where each ornament names something that is greatly needed by the Foundation this holiday season. Items range from field trips; to college preparation supplies; to the opportunity to adopt a Dreamer family, ensuring that they are able to have a Christmas this year. We invite and encourage you to take an ornament from the tree, or speak to one of the “I Have a Dream” team members about making a donation. Don’t forget, every donation you make tonight or by December 30th will be instantly doubled thanks to the match by David Kim and the Bascom Group, and every dollar donated will make a difference in a young Dreamers life. Thank you, and enjoy the party!
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