Kaila Mellos is one awesome teenager. As a child, she was diagnosed with chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO), an extremely rare and painful autoinflammatory bone disease that often coincides with other secondary diseases such as arthritis and Crohn’s. For her Girl Scout Silver Award Project, Kaila sent personalized care packages to children and adults around the world who had been recently diagnosed with CRMO. Once the project was complete, Kaila decided to continue her newfound passion by founding Kaila’s Komfort. Since then, Kaila has not only helped more than 100 people around the world, but she’s also the recipient of December’s Los Angeles Awesome Foundation award! Kaila asks each care package recipient to fill out a survey to learn about the things they like. She then creates a custom package based on the recipient’s interests and type of treatment they are receiving. The gift baskets are filled with items like CRMO Awareness T-shirts, books and magazines, gift cards for iTunes or Amazon, coloring books and crayons, and often, a special pain relief device called “Buzzy.” Kaila says about her work, ““I hope to continue to be able to make a difference in the lives of CRMO patients by providing comfort… read more →
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 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.
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 →
Twelve-year-old Riley started Rainbow Pack at the ripe age of ten, after noticing a severe lack of basic supplies at a local Los Angeles elementary school. In hopes to remedy what she considered basic student needs, Riley raised money to supply low-income schools with backpacks filled with educational staples: pencils, erasers, crayons, folders, pens, bookmarks, etc. The organization has since been called “Rainbow Pack,” which officially is “dedicated to providing homework supplies to students in need.” This past August, Rainbow Packs provided over 2,000 backpacks containing these supplies, nearly doubling the success of its previous year. Now, as the project grows, Riley and her team of parents and colleagues have set out to distribute at least 4,000 backpacks to elementary schools in the Los Angeles area. Visit the Rainbow Pack website at http://www.rainbowpack.org/