By Los Angeles Sentinel
Throughout the month of August, the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) hosted its annual series of Back to School Jams at the Carmelitos, Harbor Hills, Nueva Maravilla, South County (Scattered Sites), and Sundance Vista public housing developments. For 19 consecutive years, these events have put public housing youth and their families in good spirits for the new school year.
The LACDA was honored to have Congresswoman Maxine Waters celebrate her birthday by participating at the Harbor Hills event in Lomita. She spent time visiting with residents, thanking vendors for their involvement, and handing out backpacks to students.
During the Back to School Jams, roughly 73 exhibits provided educational and health-related resources to some 750 families. A partial list of notable resource table vendors included: the Seville Michelle jewelry making station, New Opportunities, Los Angeles County Library, Central Neighborhood Health Foundation, YMCA, Long Beach City College, South Bay Health Partners, Women in Action Reaching Out, and the Office of Samoan Affairs. Not to mention, the Community Resource Center (CRC), a program of the LACDA, supported by Janice Hahn, Chair of the Board and Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor, also held their Back to School Bash with various vendors. The CRC allocated an additional 500 backpacks to pre-registered families of the unincorporated Whittier communities.
“Although vacations are coming to an end, the upcoming academic year is the mark of a fresh start for our public housing youth,” said Monique King-Viehland, LACDA Executive Director. “For this reason, it is essential that the Back to School Jams not only provides students with the supplies for a successful school year, but that boost of confidence that comes with having a new backpack and a fresh pair of shoes.”
Public housing youth and families were treated to entertainment, food, dance, brand new books, and raffles. The highlight of each Back to School Jam was the distribution of backpacks stocked with age-appropriate school supplies and shoes for each public housing youth attending grades K-12. These gifts were made possible through the generous support of S. Mark Taper Resource Bank, CNA Insurance, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cottonwood Church, and Victory Outreach of East Los Angeles.
For more information on Back to School Jam events, please contact Shelly Thompson, Los Angeles County Community Development Foundation Administrator, at (626) 586-1925.
This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.