“You’re never too small to make a difference,” Greta Thunberg once said.
And she’s right! Anyone can make a difference. All it takes is some small scale planning and a step in the right direction. This Make a Difference Day, an annual event taking place on the fourth Saturday of every October, is the perfect time to take that step. Here’s how you can start:
Orange County: Friendship Circle Home Visitor
Friendship Circle is looking for fun-loving teens who would like to donate their time once a week for one hour at-home visits with a child with special needs in their area. Friendship Circle enhances family dynamics and builds friendships through a wide variety of fun-filled recreational programs, sports leagues, support groups, and social opportunities. In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle empowers teens to reap the rewards of selfless giving.
On Friday, April 10, dedicated volunteers from the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Galaxy, San Manuel Casino have sponsored the build of an accessible playground at Hudson Park in partnership with KaBOOM! The new playground will be an inclusive structure that will allow children of all abilities to engage in play. The new design will enable individuals with developmental disabilities to access the play equipment and engage in inclusive play with their peers.
Saffyre Sanctuary can use your help! This is a rescue and rehabilitation program that cares for horses that have been abandoned, abused, or neglected. Whether you are a novice or have experience caring for horses, they can use your help! You will learn firsthand about the best holistic care, feeding, and handling of horses, some with very special needs.
Attention, volunteers! If you are looking for a way to give back, there are many places and organizations that would appreciate and need what you have to offer! Visit Volunteer Match for endless opportunities to match your interest, age, and abilities. Here are just a few!
Los Angeles County – California Hospital Medical Center: Do you have a musical talent? California Hospital Medical Center is looking for people to share their musical talents. Share your voice, strings, keyboard, or other instrument and bring entertainment and comfort to the hospital environment. Whether a group concert in the lobby or a solo performance at the bedside of a patient, they welcome your talent and generosity! Call 213-742-5707 for more information, or visit California Hospital Medical Center.
Los Angeles County – Foothill Unity Center: Each year, many individuals and groups from local schools, businesses, and service organizations donate items and volunteer time to the Foothill Unity Center’s annual Thanksgiving and Holiday Distribution Programs conducted at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia. At the holiday distribution party, families receive huge holiday food boxes, as well as new toys and clothing for their children. Please join in the fun and sign up online.
Orange County – Kidworks: Kidworks in Santa Ana welcomes volunteers willing to help learners in their after-school program. Spending an hour or two a week with kindergarteners through 12th graders can make a difference in their world. You will support youth by helping them with their homework and other educational needs. You
iLEAD Schools would like to invite you to join your iLEAD family and friends for this ALL iLEAD Schools event. Lace up your running shoes and join us Sunday, Nov 3, at 1 p.m. at the Universal City Metro Plaza for the annual iLEAD Amazing Race. There, you will begin your Los Angeles adventure via the Metro red line on a photo scavenger hunt together with your team. Registration closes October 28. You will find more information and the downloadable permission slip here.
We hope you are having a wonderful spring! Whether it be field trips, service projects, park days or spring testing, our learners are busy growing and exploring!
This past month, iLEAD Exploration learners had a great time as they partnered with Brighter Journeys Movement for a service project. Brighter Journeys Movement was started last year by iLEAD learner Jeremy David, because he wanted to help homeless people. For this service project, learners brought a “potluck” of items to share. They discussed needs of homeless people and were given bags to fill with items to help make a homeless person’s journey a little brighter. Our learners were able to fill over 60 bags to share with homeless people in our communities!
iLEAD learners participated in a service project last Friday! Learners had the privilege of volunteering with Baby2Baby, a nonprofit organization that serves low-income families all over Los Angeles. The organization provides donated materials, clothing, and basic necessities for children up to age 12. Learners watched a short documentary about the families who, in tears, shared how Baby2Baby increased their family’s quality of life. Partnering with this organization to meet the needs of underserved children in Los Angeles was a meaningful experience.
John-Mark James McBee, a ninth grade learner with iLEAD Exploration, received a scholarship last summer to attend the Ronald Reagan Leadership Program. The program teaches youth the skills necessary to implement projects which will help to better the communities they live in. John-Mark chose to help globally and created a project to help feed the hungry in Kenya.
When asked about his project, John-Mark said, “There is a drought in East Africa that is described as the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa since World War II. Half of Kenya is in a severe drought. I was inspired by my participation in the Ronald Reagan Leadership Program to see what I could do to make a difference. ”
John-Mark raised $4,000, which will provide eight tons of maize flour, enough to feed 1,400 people! John-Mark has also joined the new iLEAD high school leadership council. He hopes to learn, along with other iLEAD learners, what can be done to help enrich other learners. Wonderful humanitarian work, John-Mark!
On Nov. 29, some of our learners came to the learning center in Santa Clarita and volunteered their time and talents to make fleece blankets for Project Linus. These cozy blankets will be given to children who are in the hospital or have experienced trauma of some kind. Children helping children – how incredibly special! To find out more information about Project Linus or to see how your family can get involved, please visit their website.
Thank you to all of our iLEAD families who showed up with donations to support children in foster care on Wednesday, Nov 15, at James Storehouse in Newbury Park. Donations included Thanksgiving dinners and toiletries for children in need.
James Storehouse supports children in foster care as well as those who are “aging out” of foster care by providing resources that will ease their transitions and improve their living conditions.
Thank you again to all who donated and supported this important cause!
Last week, our learners visited Tustin Hacienda Memory Care in costume and paraded around while the residents handed out candy. We had a great time at the Halloween party eating, drinking and playing games with the staff and residents.
We had a lovely day playing, cleaning and walking around the beautiful Tewinkle Park. The kids learned about the importance of taking care of our planet and community as they picked up trash. We saw geese, squirrels and even a rainbow as we explored the park.
iLEAD learners had the opportunity to tour the Getty Center and create art to bring cheer to senior citizens on Oct. 3. Learners had a fantastic time on the tour, which focused on looking closely as they observed works of art and created their own beautiful masterpieces to bring happiness to our community members.
Thank you to all the families that joined us for a wonderful day at the Getty!
Over 50 iLEAD learners and parents volunteered to help plant a variety of flowers and plants at the Niguel Botanical Reserve on Earth Day! “It was a fun experience to work together in helping keep this reserve beautiful,” said Nicole Schwartz, an educational facilitator in Orange County.
This past week, learners brought books, decorated bookmarks and wrote inspiring messages to future readers at beautiful Lake Balboa Park. We will be donating about 100 books to learners at a local Title 1 elementary school.
iLEAD organized a service project on April 4 to help women and children living at the Alexandria House. The Alexandria House is a nonprofit transitional residence providing safe and supportive housing for women and children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to permanent housing. Services at the Alexandria House include permanent housing assistance, intensive case management, employment assistance, financial literacy, on-site child care, after school tutoring, and adult and children’s support groups.
If your family would like to support the Alexandria House, they are always in need of donations. They also run a community thrift shop to raise money for their programs (open the second Saturday of each month). For more information, please visit here .
Last week, iLEAD learners spread love to the residents at Park West-Advanced Rehab Center in Tustin. It was so precious to see the children creating such a special time for the elderly people they visited.
iLEAD families shared some love with the children at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House at our Valentine’s Day Service Project on February 10.
Several families gathered together and created over 100 handmade Valentine’s Day cards that were delivered to the Ronald McDonald House.
We also collected two boxes of art supplies to donate to the art programs at the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home to families who travel to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for critical medical treatment.
They try to provide a sense of home and hope to each child who stays there and arts programs are a critical part of their mission.
Thank you to all the families who came out to make cards and donate supplies!
iLEAD learners had a wonderful service project last week. Families donated blankets, beanies and socks for the homeless. Learners made beautiful cards with comforting and inspirational messages to go with the cozy donation. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a great time connecting with other iLEAD families.
Two weeks ago, iLEAD learners banded together to enjoy a special service project. They donated toys to Toys For Tots, picked up trash around the park, and then enjoyed time playing and having a picnic at beautiful Tewinkle park!
Thank you for your heart of service!
Last week, several iLEAD families participated in The Ronald McDonald House service project.
Families decorated and filled 120 bags of snacks for kids to take with them on their long days at the hospital. Thank you for your time and energy to make a difference in the lives of others!
Last week, 40 adults and children had the opportunity to serve at the OC Food Bank in Garden Grove. They packed 540 boxes of food for the elderly in Orange County.
“It was a great experience being a part of iLEAD Exploration, working together side by side for a greater cause,” said Nicole Schwartz, an Educational Facilitator with iLEAD.