The buses filled with children from Reach Back LA, A Place Called Home, Children Uniting Nations, Environmental Charter School, Boys and Girls Club, CoachArt, and the Los Angeles Unified School District arrived early Saturday morning for our 3rd LA Please Mr. President workshop. There was excitement in the brightly decorated tent that filled Reach Back LA’s playground and parking lot.
As each of the over 600 children, their teachers and parents arrived, they were greeted by 150 volunteers cheering for them, the real celebrities of the workshop.
With DJ DeVoux Grant spinning, the vibe was filled with laughter and joy as the children enjoyed showing off their creativity. And, there were plenty of very talented children whose artwork on the t-shirts and backpacks was displayed on the walls to dry.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa arrived and joined in the festivities working with children and speaking to everyone about our program and the City’s commitment to bettering the lives of the children in the neighborhoods.
At around 12:30 pizza and some celebrities and athletes arrived. The children were so excited to see some of their favorites arrive to help volunteer and work with them on their painting – Corbin Bleu, Adam Hicks, Torrey DeVitto, Chris Brochu, Patrick Johnson, Matthew “Mdot” Finley, Richard Sherman, CJ Gables, Takuma Sato, Frances Fisher, Nicole Gale Anderson, Frank De Leo, Ryan Rottman, Tanner Beard, and Matthew Johnson. Maria Bello and William H. Gates, Sr., both of whom we honored that same evening at our annual Peace Please fundraiser, came and met and worked with the kids.
At 2 PM, the children were back on their buses, exhilarated by a full and exciting day, having made new friends, met some of their heroes and were becoming global citizens having helped their brothers and sisters in far flung places like Haiti and Japan.
As Children Mending Hearts packed up and left, we knew the work in South LA was only beginning. With six team leaders in place and eight new partners, the work will continue. Children who need tutoring will be able to receive it through our partnership with Reach Back LA. Shoes we collected are being distributed by our partner organizations. We will continue to work with our partners to help the disadvantaged children of Los Angeles find hope and answers and achieve their dreams.