Celebrating SKILLZ Students

SKILLZ Summer School ended last week, and we could not be more proud of how far our students have come over the summer. The last day was heartwarming and celebratory, as life skills facilitators, tutors, teachers, and students shared words of gratitude and encouragement. Day One Executive Director Christy Zamani told students, “We’re all here because we love you, and because we care.” Adiline, one of our math tutors, told the youth, “I’ve learned something new from each one of you.”

Students had their own words of appreciation to share as well. One student said to Day One facilitators — “You’ve been really nice to us. We really appreciate what you do for us.” Another said of math tutor Lucas — “He was there to guide me through my mistakes, and he just made this experience a lot better.” One student shared, “In school, my teachers didn’t care if I failed. I’ve never had anyone care about me like they do here at SKILLZ.”

Because our community came together to invest in our youth, we were able to surprise every student with a brand-new backpack full of school supplies. Special shoutout to PCL Construction and Alan & Sheila Lamson for providing major match donations that put us over our goal.

SKILLZ is such a special place because of all the incredibly caring people involved. Day One, Lake Avenue STARS, College Access Plan, PUSD, and Flintridge Center all come together to give students the best experience possible.

This year, in addition to rock star life skills facilitators and teachers, we were able to welcome 10 peer math tutors — thanks to Americorps VISTA and the City of Pasadena Youth Ambassador Program. Lola Osborne, the dedicated and innovative Deputy Director of Human Services and Recreation for the City of Pasadena, developed the Youth Ambassador Program in 2001 to provide work experience for teens. By participating at community events, the program has provided dozens of Ambassadors with meaningful work experience. This summer, five Ambassadors and five VISTAs served as math tutors and role models for 100 students in SKILLZ Summer School.

Thank you to our Ambassadors — Mia Benn, Jamila Cummings, Adilene De La Torre, Hilda Flores, Jackeline Nava, and KC Young. And thank you to our VISTAs — Haileigh Adams, Nawid Ahrary, Tavis Larsen, Hayley Washington, and Lucas Wilson.

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