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Apply Today: CDF Beat the Odds Scholarship Program

Ian Leui, Jazmin de Luna, Manual Lopez, Samantha Galindo and Samarea Johnson were honored in December at our 28th annual CDF Beat the Odds® gala. They mingled with celebrities and enjoyed an evening where they were the center of attention, and their hard work – at school, home and in their community – was recognized. Now we are accepting applications for our next cohort of students to be a part of the CDF Beat the Odds family. Our online application portal is open through March 29. The program honors outstanding young people who demonstrate academic commitment, are involved in improving their community while overcoming adversity. Through a competitive review process, we will select five deserving high school freshmen from the greater Los Angeles area to receive academic support geared towards college enrollment and completion. In order to apply students must write a personal statement that describes their hardships and how they have overcome them and get a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, casework or any other unrelated adult. Other requirements can be found online. Application deadline is March 29.

More Featured Updates

Lack of Concern for Students in LA County Court System

Mar 14, 2022|Categories: Articles, Featured Update|

While attending public school at Crenshaw High, I saw first-hand how content proficiency, culturally responsive education, and committed educators can transform the trajectory of low-income and marginalized communities. The revelations of systemic inequities, uncovered in my Social Studies classes, inspired me to become an educator — ultimately leading me to justice-informed youth, a population I knew required the most support. Unfortunately, my years teaching young people in Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) court schools has shown me these inequities persist at alarming rates. Despite society claiming to want to correct racial inequities in the justice and education systems following the murder of George Floyd and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, students in court schools, 90% of whom are students of color, have been left behind. Our school district has received an ongoing “Red” or “Orange” — not good — [...]

COVID-19 Response Perpetuates Inequities for Vulnerable Children & Families

Mar 13, 2020|Categories: Featured Update, Media Release|

CDF-CA Statement on COVID-19 For Immediate Release: March 14, 2020 Media Contact: Cadonna Dory, (323) 385-6342 COVID-19 Response Perpetuates Inequities for Vulnerable Children and Families In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) releases the following statement: The COVID-19 pandemic is triggering a global emergency response that is shifting the daily lives of families across the nation and the world. While the incidence and risk of COVID-19 are lower for children, COVID-19 is adversely impacting their quality of life through school closures and their parents losing employment. Basic needs are at stake and we demand that officials pay attention to the needs of low-income, mixed-status, and Black, Brown and Indigenous families. “Despite what is being said, our children are not being spared from COVID-19. In fact, it is our most vulnerable -- poor Black, Brown and Indigenous children -- who are [...]

CDF-CA 2020-21 Budget Proposal Statement

Jan 10, 2020|Categories: Media Release|

For Immediate Release: January 10, 2020 Contact: Cadonna Dory, (323) 385-6342   Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposal Makes Much-Needed Investments in Education, Health and Juvenile Justice, but More Needs to Be Done to End Child Poverty In response to Governor Newsom’s budget proposal released today, Children’s Defense Fund-California released the following: Children’s Defense Fund-California has long-focused on ensuring that all children have the opportunity to thrive. In order for that to happen, investments need to be directed toward those who need it the most. We are pleased with the governor’s continued investment in community schools, Medi-Cal and transforming the juvenile justice system. With that said, poverty is a significant underlying cause of the poor outcomes and challenges facing California’s children, particularly children of color, and this budget proposal does not fully address the economic inequities across the state. “CDF-CA appreciates the governor working toward [...]

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Elia Aguiñiga

Dec 11, 2019|Categories: Featured Update|

Elia Aguiñiga knows what it’s like to grow up in a working-class neighborhood with under-resourced schools and where opportunities seem sparse. As she thinks back, Elia remembers times when poor decisions could have derailed her life. One of those times was an arrest when she was 17. “It was just dumb,” she said, shaking her head. Now, more than 10 years later, Elia uses her experiences to connect with her students as an instructional aide in El Monte where she grew up, and as a servant leader intern for the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program. CDF Freedom Schools is a six-week summer literary and cultural enrichment program offered in several states across the country. Children’s Defense Fund partners with schools, faith and community-based organizations, municipalities, colleges and universities to run the program in the communities that need them the most. In California, in addition to [...]

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Vicki Olivares

Dec 11, 2019|Categories: Articles|

It was Vicki Olivares’ third year in college at Cal State Dominguez Hills when a counselor asked if she was looking for a summer job working with kids. She said yes, thinking it would be an easy job watching children play. But she quickly realized it was so much more. “Little did I know that it wasn’t just a job, it was a movement and that it would shape my entire philosophy of teaching,” she said. That was 15 years ago. Since then, Olivares has been a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program servant leader intern, teaching various levels of scholars over multiple summers and is now site coordinator for the Long Beach program site, hosted by Success in Challenges. Olivares is also a first grade teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. Much of her successes as a teacher she credits to [...]

CDF Freedom Schools® Spotlight: Jessie Ryan

Dec 11, 2019|Categories: Featured Update|

When Brooklyn Mataka was adopted at 3½ years old, she had a limited vocabulary. Her adoptive mother, Jessie Ryan, said it was evident that she had not had much exposure to books or verbal stimulation. Jessie immediately started reading and talking to Brooklyn regularly. And by the time she hit kindergarten age, Brooklyn was using appropriate words to communicate. However, she was still lagging behind in her literacy development, so much so that it was affecting her self-esteem. "She didn't even have the confidence to try to read or write," Jessie said. That is when she learned about the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program. She fell in love with everything the program had to offer. "I noticed a difference in Brooklyn almost immediately after starting the CDF Freedom Schools program," her mother said. "By the end of the first week, she was walking [...]

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