AFTERSCHOOL: Talent Takes the Stage at Van Nuys High School
ADVOCACY: Standing Up for Afterschool in Sacramento
ACE INITIATIVE: English Language Learners Succeed
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Heartset® Certification Course
• Walnut Park Middle School Talent
• Community Calendar

...and more!

An occasional feature on the amazing people who make EduCare thrive.

Geneva "Gigi" Barba

The first thing you notice about Gigi is her smile: it lights up her face. The second thing you notice is her energy: her enthusiasm is positively irrepressible. And a lot of that energy is directed into helping others – particularly students.

A California native, she grew up in the San Fernando Valley. While working with young children (ages 5-13) at Richie Valens Park for Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, she found her passion for working with young people. She also met several San Fernando High School students in EduCare’s afterschool program – and one thing led to another.

Gigi started with EduCare as an Afterschool Program assistant site coordinator, working directly with students. Whether addressing academic or personal needs, she helped individual students maneuver effectively through the often-challenging landscape of middle and high school. Now, as EduCare’s Special Projects Coordinator, Gigi’s taken her innate skills to a larger, broader stage. By being involved in the big picture – where she can see whole groups of students make progress – she is working in an even more impactful way with young people.

Now Gigi is seeing the growth of the Take Action Campaign’s service leadership programs – for LAUSD middle and high school students –with which she’s so deeply involved. Gigi is inspired to see her students continuing to excel through civic engagement.

Of course, other things are exciting for her as well…she’s passionate about softball and baseball, too (Go, Dodgers!), and travel is a new area of expansion, with trips to Japan and London under her belt, and Latin America beckoning. Of course, weekend softball and world travel are taking a back seat for the time being, while Gigi completes her BS degree in sociology.

It's clear that this special woman lives by her own words – and all we can say is, keep going, Gigi, and thanks for touching the lives of so many young people!

A dramatic marquee for a blowout display of talent at Van Nuys High School!

Talent Shines Onstage at Van Nuys High School! 

Spring is talent show season all over the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell and EduCare’s partnering schools. In this issue, we’ll highlight just one of the dozens of shows that are taking place countywide. 

If you heard music, laughter, and applause drifting over Van Nuys one late Friday afternoon in February, you may have been hearing the sounds of the Van Nuys High School’s Annual EduCare Talent Show!

On February 22, 173 students from all grade levels attended EduCare’s “Glow in the Dark Talent Show.”  What an amazing range of talent: musicians, singers, dancers, spoken word performers, rappers! Each act inspired the audience of fellow students, teachers, staff and parents to greater applause and encouragement. 

Third place went to senior Samantha Ochoa, who blew the crowd away with her outstanding cover of Katy Perry's The One that Got Away. Junior Lei Lani Lee and freshman Kaitlin Waltz impressed everyone (and placed second) with a beautiful original dance, which they choreographed to the song Freedom. And in first place: sophomore Raine Torres, a talented young singer and songwriter (and first time participant), performing her original song, Toy Box, to a standing ovation. Congratulations, Raine!

A special shout-out to the volunteer TAC student leaders, who went above and beyond for the EduCare Talent Show. Kudos to the stage tech club, who provided support by overseeing sound and music. And without the eight student volunteers who helped staff by setting up, ushering, and breaking down, the show would never have gone so smoothly. Thanks to all the willing hearts and hands – and of course, to the talented students who so willingly shared their gifts!

Raine Torres, her amazing voice and original song took first place. EduCare's enthusiastic Site Coordinator, Daniel Cortes, produced the event.
Emily Cortes, a student at Walnut Park Middle School who participates in EduCare's Afterschool Program, performing a beautiful cover of Giant Woman – a song from an episode with the same name from the animated series Steven Universe.
Social-Emotional Learning
Building strong friendships and confidence
 English Language Learners Succeed

ACE (Achievement and Commitment to Excellence) is EduCare’s flagship program, designed to bring students to a new level of confidence and responsibility.
This March, 96 English Language Development students from Van Nuys HS participated in a three-day ACE Program held at Los Angeles Valley College.

This Program’s focus was on developing language skills, as well as assisting these young people to break out of their comfort zone, enabling them to successfully participate in school life – and to connect more fully with their fellow students. Many of the participating students speak limited English and may have only recently immigrated to the U.S.  The ACE Program provided a wonderful opportunity for them to build a sense of family with each other and their school community.  

Each day of the Program, the room buzzed with vibrant energy as students talked in small groups, helped each other with instructions for experiential games, and enthusiastically joined in each activity. The facilitators (Yesenia Leon and Eliana Farias) moved fluidly from Spanish to English, encouraging students to share in both languages, and to use English as often as possible. Team Captain Laura Hasbun and 14 teachers from Van Nuys HS provided ongoing support as well, cheering their students on.

The ACE Family Evening was a touching and joyful culmination. This ACE tradition brings students and their families together to celebrate the highlights of the program, and to deepen their communication and appreciation for one another.

According to Eliana, there were numerous moments that stood out: the moment when one shy student stood up to share – and did so entirely in English; the many times when students began to answer some, and then all, questions in English, moving past any fears of “having a funny accent;” the young woman who bravely invited her workaholic father to attend Family Night – not only did he attend, he was one of the first to arrive.  

This was the third, and culminating, ACE Program of the school year for ninth graders at Van Nuys HS – and we are happy to note that close to 300 students at the school have taken part in ACE in the 2018-19 academic year!

Students greening Los Angeles
 Students Serve Los Angeles
Take Action Campaign (TAC) and its partner, Middle School Take Action Campaign (MTAC), involve thousands of middle  and hig-school students. 33 high schools and 36 middle schools across the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) promote leadership and community service through a variety of civic events, college and camping trips, art showcases, and STEM-related events.

March 8, 2019 saw 250 students from 17 LAUSD high schools (grades 9 to 12) participate enthusiastically in a Beyond the Bell sponsored event called Students Serve LA (SSLA). Students teamed up with one of three organizations: Heal the Bay, the LA Regional Food Bank, and Tree People – cleaning trash near the pier in Santa Monica, helping package and distribute food to the hungry in downtown LA, and planting trees at the Van Nuys Recreation Center.

The response from students in TAC programs was outstanding! We couldn’t be prouder of these enterprising afterschool students, who gave so generously of their time and effort to make a difference in our city. 

Upcoming EduCare Events

April 10, Heartset Education Certification Course
Final class in this year-long certification course for teachers, program directors, and agency directors (see article above).

Take Action Campaign (TAC)
April 27, Spotlight on Success
9 am –  3 pm, Fremont High School   
Tobacco Use Prevention Education
May 11, TUPE Youth Conference
9 am – 3 pm, Cal State LA
May 18, Language in Action (Culmination)
9 am – 2 pm, East LA Community College

April 27, Art Showcase
Middle School Festival

Afterschool leaders voice their support in Sacramento
Standing up for Afterschool in Sacramento

On March 12, a wave of teachers, afterschool program directors, students, parents, and numerous other people descended on Sacramento to show their support for afterschool programs – and to speak out against the possibility of federal cuts to afterschool funding. 

Thousands of students statewide participate in afterschool programs, and the benefits are clear: these students do better in school; they graduate at higher rates; they go on to college more often; and they build academic confidence as well as strong relationships.

On Sunday, March 25, the Los Angeles FOX News affiliate featured Alvaro Cortes, Senior Executive Director of LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell, along with high school students Abigail Miranda (Sylmar HS) and Lynn Kim (North Hollywood HS), in a special segment on Afterschool Programs, hosted by longtime investigative journalist Hal Eisner. 

All three speakers were passionate and articulate, and – according to Miranda’s EduCare Site Coordinator, Viancha Carchi – all who heard her speak were touched by her personal story. 

You can watch the segment here.

And we’ll keep you informed about this important situation, as well as letting you know ways you can let your voice be heard in support of Afterschool Programs – stay tuned!    

Afterschool leaders taking ownership of SEL for themselves and their students
 Heartset® Certification Course 
In 2017, EduCare offered a 2-day summer institute for teachers and school staff, designed to further their implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) at their schools. As a result of that institute, the LACOE-ELTAU (Los Angeles County Office of Education – Expanded Learning Technical Assistance Unit) invited EduCare to provide a year-long certification (train-the-trainer) course in Heartset Education for afterschool leaders countywide. On April 10, 2019, the culmination of the course was held at Los Angeles Trade Tech College.

Thirty teachers, program directors, and agency directors have taken part in the Heartset Education course this year, which has included a 2-day institute, four in-person follow-up classes and four online workshops. 

The participants have taken genuine ownership of SEL on an individual basis – they began “walking the talk.”

Participants learned  and practiced the principles of SEL through EduCare’s Eight Growth Heartset Skills. Upon receiving their certificate, they are charged with training 100 people within their own afterschool program agency. It’s an ambitious goal, but one that will have valuable dividends for students countywide! 

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The participants have taken genuine ownership of SEL on an individual basis – they began “walking the talk.” They also noted that there was a positive shift towards understanding that their own self-care is essential in order to effectively serve their students.

We look forward to hearing more from this initial cohort following the completion of this inaugural Heartset Educator Certification Course – and to continuing to work with schools and related agencies to anchor SEL. Our thanks to the LACOE-ELTAU (Los Angeles County Office of Education – Expanded Learning Technical Assistance Unit) for their support of EduCare’s Heartset Educator Certification Course! 

Heartset® Certification Course

Participants represented the following school districts and organizations serving youth:

A World Fit for Kids
After School All Stars
Boys & Girls Club of Carson
Boys & Girls Club of Whittier 
City of Long Beach – WRAP
LA Conservation Corps
Los Angeles County Office of Education – ELTAU
LAUSD – Beyond the Bell
Monrovia Unified – Village Expanded Learning Program 
Pasadena LEARNS
Stanislaus County Office of Education
Region 6 Afterschool/Expanded Learning
Think Together
Woodcraft Rangers
Youth Policy Institute

Students Speak Out in Learning in Afterschool & Summer Blog
Based on EduCare's involvement with after school advocacy, Stu Semigran was invited to write about the FOX 11 News In Depth segment on threatened cuts to afterschool funding. Watch the original segment here. And read the blog post here!

EduCare Foundation's Mission
Inspiring and empowering young people to become responsible citizens, compassionate leaders, and to live their dreams.
Thank you!
Our mailing address is:
EduCare Foundation
16134 Wyandotte St
Van Nuys, CA 91406-3422

Add us to your address book

Get in touch with us! | 818-646-5220 |

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp