From left: Mauro Bautista, Principal of Mendez Learning Center High School, Nichol Whiteman, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Deborah Gayle, Principal of Utah Street Elementary School, Dennis Powell, former pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dr. Frances Gipson, Superintendent of LAUSD Local District East, and Amy Shpall, Jewish Federation Vice President of Community Engagement
On August 26th, KOREH L.A. was proud to kick off a year of partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation at Mendez Learning Center High School in Boyle Heights. The kickoff event celebrated the start of a new school year for the Mendez High School students volunteering as mentors to students attending Utah Street Elementary School through our Teen Literacy Corps initiative. The event also introduced the Dodgers Grand Slam Reading Log, which will allow both elementary and high school students participating in the Teen Literacy Corps to challenge themselves to read as many hours as they can!
LAUSD School Board President Steve Zimmer shared words of encouragement with the students in his opening address, stating, “When you watch a kid and take them from not being able to read to being able to read — you can do anything.” He also gave the future Teen Literacy Corps mentors a call to action, telling them, “You already know the power of what you can do, but not what you can do for your community. You don’t have to wait for graduation day — we need you now.”
LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer addresses Mendez High School students
The event featured performances from both elementary and high school students to celebrate the fun year ahead. Applause filled the room as kindergarten students from Utah Street Elementary School took the stage to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame!”, complete with real peanuts and Crackerjack boxes, and the kindergarten students watched in awe as the Mendez Cheer Squad flipped and led the auditorium through school spirit cheers.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers player Dennis Powell was the keynote speaker for the event and offered students words of inspiration to start the year. He urged the high school students not to pass up this incredible opportunity to impact the younger generation and to have the younger students impact them. He encouraged the students to remember that it is not where they started, but where they will end up that matters.
KOREH L.A. would like to extend a special thank you to our amazing school partners, Mendez Learning Center and Utah Street Elementary School, for making this event such a success. We look forward to a wonderful year!