The Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of its November prize: Reading Legacies, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the joy of reading to young people, and to provide role modeling opportunities for at-risk youth through shared reading experiences. With nearly 85 percent of juveniles facing trial in the juvenile court system regarded as functionally illiterate, Reading Legacies believes that reading is the most fundamental skill necessary to avoid poverty and incarceration. The Awesome Foundation grant will go towards helping Reading Legacies continue its “Family Connections” program, which empowers incarcerated parents to inspire their children at home to read. Inmates and juvenile detainees are invited to share the read-aloud experience by recording a DVD, which is then sent home along with a book for other family members to share. Family Connections logged more than 1800 volunteer hours in 2014, not only inspiring the joy of reading in kids who received the DVDs, but also strengthening the crucial bonds among family members during a difficult period in their lives. Reading Legacies is currently expanding the program by collaborating with several universities, where students in criminal justice and psychology classes will participate as volunteers. For more… read more →
The Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation dove deep into our stack of submissions to find October’s grant winner: Making Waves, created by the League of Extraordinary Scientists. LXS brings science education to young people in low-income and underserved areas with programs and demonstrations provided at zero cost to schools and libraries. The $1000 award will go towards LXS’s new Making Waves tour, which will introduce the world of marine biology to kids from Southern California, many of whom have never even been to the beach or touched the ocean. The Making Waves tour kicked off last week and has already brought marine science to a number of third- and fourth-grade classes. Working with local marine biologist, Dr. Flip McCarthy, the kids learned how to test an ocean specimen to determine if it is an animal or a plant. As the project continues, future discoveries will include learning about the carbon cycle, and understanding our own responsibility to care for our oceans. Congratulations to the League of Extraordinary Scientists! We hope the rest of the Making Waves tour goes swimmingly. For more information about LXS, check out science-ing.org.
The Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation is proud to announce the winner of our September grant: This Is Home. This Is Home provides an innovative solution to housing instability among vulnerable teens by providing a rent-free home for young mothers and their children. Their mission is to create a loving, supportive community where young women can focus on finishing high school, developing their parenting skills, and working towards a happy and healthy future for their families. With the Awesome Foundation grant, This Is Home will be able to baby-proof their new host home, as well as outfit it with sheets, towels, hygiene items and other supplies for moms coming in off the streets. In the future, This Is Home hopes to expand their network of mentors and host houses to provide even more young families with the safety and comforts of home. Congratulations to This Is Home LA, and thanks for sharing your awesome ideas with us. Read more about the project and find out how you can donate additional supplies to help furnish the new home by clicking here.
The Compton Chess Club is in check. A check for a thousand bucks, to be precise. The Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation has awarded Compton Chess Club its August grant. Founded by the Inner-City Mining Company, a mentoring organization that focusses on African-American inner-city males, the Compton Chess Club brings the ancient game to a whole new audience of young minds. But the club does more than just teach kids the rules. As the founders put it, “The game is an excellent tool to help formulate a strategic mindset. It forces you to be aware of your actions and those of your opponent. You learn about sacrifice and what needs to be valued.” You can read more about the organization’s mentoring efforts at innercitymining.com. Congratulations to ICMC and the awesome Compton Chess Club for being our August grant recipients! We here at LA Awesome are just happy to help, even if we don’t know a bishop’s pawn from a Sicilian Defense.
Last month, the Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation invited three grant applicants to pitch their ideas, “Shark Tank”-style, to a panel of billionaires. Okay, so they were fake billionaires, and the whole thing was part of a comedy show, but it did not lack for awesomeness. The Awesome Tank Show, presented at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Hollywood, gave the people behind three diverse projects an opportunity to present their ideas in front of a live audience. The show was hosted by LA trustees Matt Walsh and Scot Armstrong, and featured some of the theater’s funniest improvisers portraying notable billionaires Richard Branson, Mikhail Prokhorov, and the gossipy founders of the “Home Shopperficial Network.” After peppering the presenters with ridiculous questions, the judges agreed to award a thousand dollars to all three applicants! Grants were provided to Story Pirates, which teaches writing and literacy through improvised musical comedy; Trash Club, a grassroots community cleanliness organization; and Libro Libre, which provides books free of charge to inmates at California state prisons. Congratulations to the winners, and special thanks to the UCB Theater and everyone who came out to see the show. The LA chapter hopes to put on more… read more →