A look back at 2017: From Octavia Spencer to Secretary Hillary Clinton (& Everything in Between)

A look back at 2017: From Octavia Spencer to Secretary Hillary Clinton (& Everything in Between)

Every year, about this time, I like to look back on the prior year and assess – did we, the LA Promise Fund, meet our goals? Did we serve students, families and communities by bringing them vital resources? Did we create exceptional learning opportunities for our children to ensure students are graduating, ready for college, career and life?

Looking back on 2017, I can say with confidence, yes.

What an amazing year. It began with 7,500 girls at USC’s Galen Center watching Hidden Figures and hearing from Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and Pharrell Williams. It ended with 10,000 girls at the LA Convention Center hearing from Secretary Hillary Clinton, Senator Kamala Harris, and many more inspiring female leaders.

In between these two signature Girls Build events, we partnered with the Getty Foundation to launch the countywide Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA education initiative, engaging more than 50,000 students in rich learning experiences celebrating Latin American and Latino art.

Through The Intern Project, we offered 75 paid internships – the most we’ve ever offered – to students from across the county, placing them at high-value internships like Kaiser Permanente, Fullscreen, Ares Management, and Skanska.

We opened LA Promise Charter High School in South LA, and we more than doubled the number of students enrolled in our LA Promise Charter Middle School.

And we continued to strive for excellence at our LAUSD partner schools – Manual Arts High School, West Adams Preparatory High, and John Muir Middle School. We saw Manual Arts and West Adams reach their highest graduation levels, of 91% and 83% respectively, with 90% of Manual Arts graduates accepted to college, and 82% of West Adams grads.

Thank you to all of our partners and stakeholders who work collaboratively to achieve ambitious outcomes for our students and families, and thank you to our supporters for making the LA Promise Fund a priority. We are committed to building on the success of this past year to make even greater strides for the young people of Los Angeles in 2018!

Veronica Melvin, CEO, LA Promise Fund

A look back in photos:

Girls Build LA Hidden Figures screening

“It’s all about female empowerment. It’s all about making sure that we support each other with what we want to do.” – Rosabelle, 12th grader at LAUSD/USC Media Arts & Engineering Magnet School & Girls Build LA team member, talking about the Hidden Figures event.

100% of Girls Build participants would recommend it to a friend.

The Intern Project – Summer

“This internship opened my eyes to this whole new technological and STEM space that I could be a part of. I now know that I want to do something with technology.” – Miguel Tamayo on his TIP internship at Edlio (photographed here with his mentor, Austin Schwartz)

100% of TIP participants are college-bound.

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Student Arts Contest kick-off

“People think that if you’re from South Central, you must be a gangbanger. They say, ‘Graffitti—is that the only art you have?’ People in the outside world don’t realize we have special talents.” – Manual Arts High School Senior Kimberly Gonzalez talking about the importance of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA to South LA.

1,000 students from across LA County are expected to submit works of art to our Student Arts Contest.

LA Promise Charter Middle School #1

“Thanks to God, I feel very happy to have my two sons at LA Promise Charter Middle School #1. I like the school, and I also like to help here… I learn a lot of things at this school. In the morning, I help with breakfast, and then I help with lunch. I also walk around the school to make sure the students are in their classrooms. There are quite a few parents who volunteer here. I like this school because it has a lot respect, even though it’s small.” – Vilma, parent at LA Promise Charter Middle School #1

Hundreds of parents participate in our special opportunities, like ESL classes and college field trips, empowering them to support their children in pursuing higher education.

Marathon Club at West Adams Preparatory High School

“When you start running it, you don’t even feel it, you’re just in the zone. One of our former coaches used to say, it’s not in the body, but in the mind. It revolves around whether you can believe in yourself.” – Andy, senior at West Adams & Marathon Club member.

Every day, 450 students at our five schools engage with our 7 to 7: after school enrichment programs, like Marathon Club.

Girls Build Leadership Summit

“If it weren’t for your organization, I wouldn’t have been as motivated as I am now to conquer my goals. It was a fortune to meet Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris – women I look up to – as well as other very empowering women. I’m grateful for this opportunity. Thanks so much once again! – Mireya Vivar, Girls Build LA Change Agent member

20,000 girls have become change agents in their communities through Girls Build LA.