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Community College Pride

Connee_Jazmin.jpegJazmin Valenzuela offered us this testimonial to the value of a community college education. Jazmin is currently a senior at UC Santa Barbara. At left, she was our guest speaker at a fundraiser in 2015, pictured here with Connee Freeman, former Urban Foundation board member.

"After high school, I begrudgingly began attending community college. My plans of going to a four year school didn’t pan out and I felt defeated. I was angry because I felt like I had to settle for less, and upset because I thought to myself, “this place is for kids who don’t know where to go or what they want.”

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Urban Internship- the second year!

Domenica Castillo was an intern at the Los Angeles  Domenica_MSJstaff.jpgUnited Methodist Museum of Social Justice (MSJ) during the second year of the program, in summer 2016. She attended La Plaza United Methodist Church, where the museum is located, and was mentored by Pastor Vilma Cruz-Baez. As an intern, Domenica says that she "gained experience in the many facets of operating a museum including museum management, development, programming, and display techniques. The small and family-like atmosphere of the Museum of Social Justice allowed me to grow, participate, and contribute to the development of the museum."

Above, left to right: Daniel Ponce(high school student volunteer), Domenica Castillo (Urban Foundation and Museum Intern), Niki Heer (UCLA intern), Keith Rice (Head Curator, Research Historian & Board President), Lucy Hernandez (Head Curator & Archivist), Katie Osterkamp (UCLA intern), and Michelle Dragoo (Cal State LA graduate intern).

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Sequoia Trip

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FoxGives Rehab SLAM 2016

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By Anakaren Andrade

During a topsail field trip, Laura met Wil from Fox Gives and talked to him about Kid City. They exchanged emails and ever since Kid City and Fox Gives have formed a great partnership. Fox Gives has provided Kid City with care packages for college students and invited Kid City to studio events where students have been able to explore different careers in the entertainment industry. Most recently, Fox Gives provided Kid City with a makeover!

As an old member of Kid City, I worked in the old space and knew how much Kid City needed this makeover. My friends and I would help make lunch and dinner for events and even though we had limited equipment like an old microwave and a small oven, we were able to create a variety of pasta dishes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. After, we would wash the kitchenware in the small old sink in the bathroom. We made the best out of our limited resources and felt like Kid City was our second home.After visiting Kid City, Fox Gives decided to remodel Kid City to provide the students with a new space. During the next few months, Fox Gives volunteers and Kid City members worked together to build desks, bookshelves and paint the walls. Fox gives also provided us with a new and large sink, computers, and a printer. After the hard work, Fox Gives unveiled the new space to Kid City students, parents, staff and other supporters.

When I first saw the space, I was surprised by all of the new changes and upgrades. One of the first things I noticed were the televisions in the community room and the band room. This was a new thing added to Kid City, and I knew they would be necessary for presentations and classes. I also saw the new computers, sofas, and bean bags. What made me really happy to see was the new kitchen and sink. The kitchen now has a new microwave and utensils and the new sink is bigger! The sink makeover is great because I know this will make it more comfortable to prepare meals and snacks for the students. Kid City’s program gets bigger every year and with this new space, we will be able to support everyone. This summer, Kid City offered different classes such as art, spoken word, and personal statement and all of the instructors used the new computers and televisions to teach students. The kitchen was used to make meals for over 40 students and the best part was that it was easier to wash dishes at the end.

We are very grateful for this new space and know that many other summer and fall programs will benefit from the makeover. Although the old Kid City felt like home to me, I am getting used to this new space and am glad that other students will have access to this beautiful new Kid City. I am also pleased that this new space is allowing Kid City staff to support more students.

 
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Splash of LA 2016

Check out our Splash of LA photo gallery. Let us know what activity you liked best or what you would like to see next year! If you're interested in volunteering at our Splash 2017, email Alma Catalan at almacatalan@kidcityhopeplace.org 

 

Thank you for coming to  SPLASH OF LA 2016 

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Photos by Victor Corona, 12th grade, Orthopaedic Medical Magnet High School 

 

THANK YOU TO OUR SPLASH OF LA 2016 SPONSORS 

 

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Camp Discovery at Fox

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On July 14th, Kid City members attended Camp Discovery, an event held by Fox Studios. This was a great way for students to learn about different careers in the entertainment industry, such as hair and makeup, animation, and being an editor for National Geographic Kids. 

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From Member to Intern

I have been a part of Kid City since 2012 and received help with applying to college. I soon became close to Laura, Alma and Anne and knew I could count on them for support.

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At the time, I was really stressed with the idea of applying to college and scholarships. However, every time I entered Kid City, I would feel relieved and knew everything would turn out great. I was paired with a mentor and we worked together on my personal statements. Kid City provided me with academic support and also with emotional support. Laura had us read and discuss an article about "impostor syndrome" and I related so much to it. She made me rethink my feeling of being an imposter and taught me to be more confident and take ownership of my hard work. 

Since I joined Kid City, I have always tried to give back in any way. I volunteered during Splash of LA and was part of college panels. This summer I wanted to play a bigger role and decided to become a Kid City intern.

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Summer at Kid City

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Kid City’s summer program just ended and this year it provided students with a diverse range of classes. What makes Kid City’s summer program so special is that many of the teachers are incoming freshman and returning college students. These students are eager to share their knowledge with others and want Kid City to be a place of learning, dialogue, and stress relief.

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That's a Wrap! Ultreya 2016

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On June 24, 2016 the Urban Foundation hosted Ultreya to celebrate Kid City’s accomplishments.  This year Ultreya raised $35 K which supports Kid City's core causes which include youth leadership, college access and lifetime support for first generation college students. During the event, we honored our first college graduates: Kwesi Essilfie (Cal State Northridge), Kofi Essilfie (UC Irvine) and Alma Sanchez (UC Berkley). We ate delicious tacos, enjoyed refreshing raspados and listened to Kid City’s band entertain the crowd with lively music.

* Currently looking for sponsors for Ultreya! 2017, when we'll have even more graduates to celebrate! Currently looking for underwriting sponsorships for $2500, $5000, and $10000! Please donate here or contact Anne Hawthorne at the Urban Foundation (annehawthorne@urbanfoundation.org) for more information. Read on about this year's party!

 

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Thank you for the memories Katherine!

Katherine.jpgAs I reach my last day at Kid City, I am leaving a piece of my heart there. I was here for almost a year, but I felt like I have been here longer. Kid City has taught me many things, one of them being true to myself. I have learned that it is okay to make mistakes and that mistakes do not define who you are, but what you do to fix them. Being the first Social Work Intern from USC, I have listened to many students and their stories. They come from many different backgrounds, but regardless of that, they are strong and are still fighting to be something big in life. Although I am older than some of the students at Kid City, they have taught me to be strong and for that I look up to them. I hope that as I leave, Kid City stays the same warm, safe haven for students to find support. Last, but not least, I want to say “Thank You” to Laura, Alma, and Anne for always supporting me and my ideas. You are the backbone of why Kid City is so great! I hope to come back soon and visit every single one of you. Thank you again for welcoming me with open arms and letting it be okay for me to cry. It is a happy cry, not a sad one because being at Kid City has been one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences I could have ever hoped for. These memories will always be with me! Thank you and I’ll see you soon!

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New Video by APO/USC!

Check out the new video about Kid City from our good friends at Alpha Phi Omega!

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Monologue/Dialogue

Two years ago, just before entering her first year at UCLA, Jocelyn Martinez wrote this essay in response to reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” while in my pre-college writing workshop at Kid City. A year later, Jocelyn, together with Maria Alonso taught the pre-college writing workshop. This week, to commemorate the MLK Jr. holiday, I asked one of Jocelyn's students to reflect on the meaning of her essay, two years later. In this way, students continue to be in dialog with Dr. King and with each other.

Monologue/Dialogue, by Jocelyn Martinez

Martin Luther King Jr. famously wrote, in his now renowned letter from Birmingham jail, that the American South of his time tragically lived in “monologue rather than dialogue.” Using such a loaded phrase, King captured an unjust American truth: the story of America is that of the white man; his African-American brothers, and other minorities, are largely ignored. Disgusted by the injustice of segregation and the degrading inferiority thrust upon thousands of African-Americans, Martin Luther King dedicated his time and efforts to making the story of America a story of all. To obtain such results, King first had to induce a shift from monologue to dialogue.

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Meet Alma Sanchez, Cal Student & Kid City Leader

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Alma Sanchez is part of the Kid City graduating class of 2017 and is now a UC Berkeley Alum. With a degree in Social Welfare and English, Alma hopes to work in the education nonprofit sector until she begins her master’s program in higher education.

This is her story.

I want to share how Kid City helped me with my undergraduate education but, before I can do that, I need to address where I was coming from.By the end of my sophomore year, for the first time in my life, I had cooked for myself, paid rent and bills on my own, and started working. But all these transitions in my life were not the challenging part; it was the mixture of upper division courses and depression. By the end of May 2013, college had left me disillusioned and tired. While many of my peers had extensive summer plans, I had given little thought to mine. Back in L.A., I accompanied my brother to Kid City, the program that helped him get into Berkeley. After sitting in on the orientation for the upcoming summer program, I spoke with Laura Cuellar, the site director of Kid City, and told her I wanted to volunteer there. She immediately said yes and took down my number.

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Ultreya! Take heart! Carry on!

On September 2nd, 2015 the Urban Foundation hosted its most successful fundraiser in recent Urban Foundation history! Ultreya benefitted Kid City college access and completion programs for first generation college students, and celebrated their accomplishments. The evening included a taco bar, specialty drinks by Mbar, a photo booth, laser graffiti wall, DJ Danno, and a live performance by the Kid City band at the beautiful Placita Dolores near Olvera Street. Guests met Kid City members, heard their stories first hand, and said a hearty "Ultreya!" by attending, pledging, and writing notes of encouragement to students away at college. Missed it? It was so much fun we're planning to do it again. Save the date of June 24, 2016, and click here for more info!

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Saul Nolasco: SMC to UCSB

Blog_Saul_Pic.jpgSaúl Nolasco, a former Santa Monica College student now at UC Santa Barbara, is finishing his first quarter and jokes that classes are too easy.

At first being away from his mother and little sister made him homesick. But he joined Hermanos Unidos and La Escuelita, clubs that help him stay active and give back to the community. At La Escuelita Saúl tutors local kids in math and helps them with homework. Saúl says that the clubs helped him adjust to campus life. "My homesickness subsided as soon as I joined Hermanos Unidos and La Escuelita. These two clubs on campus have helped with adjustment and reinforcement of being active. As a member of Hermanos Unidos I help promote academic excellence, community service, and social and personal development. As hermanos (brothers) we support each other as we prepare to graduate, thrive, and become respected leaders on campus and beyond." With Hermanos Unidos, Saúl volunteers at community events and is planning a Thanksgiving dinner for needy families.

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Congratulations Class of 2015!

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Graduating from high school in California is difficult and enrolling in college can be an even more bleak prospect. According to LAUSD Linked Learning, a college and career-ready pathway program, nearly a third of new ninth-graders in California drop out before graduation. Another third finish high school but lack the academic and technical readiness to succeed in college or a career. Only one third of high school students in California graduate on time and transition easily to postsecondary education and lasting career success. However, at Kid City, students have a 99% high school graduation and college enrollment rate.

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Mentoring and Beyond

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The fall has brought a number of new faces to Kid City. There are many new high school seniors who have been brought to Kid City by their peers and also a new group of 20 mentors who are either USC students, alumni, or professionals working or living in downtown Los Angeles. One of our mentors, Ricardo Trejo (referred by board member Marcus Tanimoto), was the first in his family to go to college and wants to be a mentor in order help a student like himself who does not know how to navigate the college application process. 

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Cooking with Chef Blake

IMG_8662.jpgStudents from the Urban Foundation's Kid City program jumped at the chance to study cooking under the tutelage of Chef Blake Byrum, of Centenary United Methodist Church and LA Prime, in July. The class ran four days from noon to 3, and ended each day with a feast. It happened so fast, you may have missed it, so I want to give you a little "taste" of the responses from students who attended.

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Nancy Avelino: Kid City Kid

The first day I went to Kid City is the day things started to get better and better.

IMG_8500.jpgI can still remember the summer I became a Kid City kid. It was before my senior year of high school and Kid City was offering job training, SAT math and verbal prep, personal statement writing, and many other workshops. I met Anne and Laura and bright faced high school students, all of whom made me feel comfortable and valued. Even though I was a bit shy and unsure of my abilities as a student and a leader, being at Kid City helped me take notice of my abilities. They encouraged me to participate in the job training course to enhance my ability as as speaker. Kid City has guided me to resources and information, such as toastmasters, to help me overcome my speech apprehension. Without Kid City, I might have remained a nervous girl with a dream to be a leader, but without knowledge of where to begin. 

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Win an Apple Watch & other prizes

sponsorship_team_2015.jpgIt's summertime and the raffle prizes are multiplying! The Splash of LA sponsorship team is out and about downtown LA, so in addition to the grand prize -- an APPLE WATCH (or equivalent from Apple Store) -- other prizes include gift cards to great restaurants in downtown LA, including Bottlerock, El Cholo, and Soleto, with more prizes being donated every day! Only $5 per ticket, with discounts for multiple tickets! Order your tickets now! at www.urbanfoundation.org/raffle_tickets.

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