July Newsletter

Student Spotlight: James

In addition to being a cyber tech enthusiast, James, a member of the j.k. livin program at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio, is on a mission to achieve workout gains and protect the world.

James is a Senior and has been a faithful member of the JKL program since its introduction this past Fall. He enjoys having a place to come work out with new friends and learn important information about health and nutrition. Prior to joining the JKL program, James volunteered with the Theatre Arts program and took pictures for the yearbook club.

James is taking steps to cut down on his junk food intake and is starting to watch the nutritional content of his meals. James’s mother enjoys the fact that he has a safe place after school that encourages positivism and gratitude. JKL instructor Mr. Jose Luna says, “James has always been a great competitor and he loves taking on challenges and, for him, giving up is not an option. He is a great positive example for his peers in the JKL program.” James currently has a 3.0 and his goal is to study cyber security at the University Texas San Antonio after high school.


JKL Shining Stars from Venice High School

We are thrilled to give a special shout out to three graduating Seniors from our just keep livin program at Venice High School in Los Angeles. Christopher, Max and Juan each received the “James Worthy Coach of the Year” award along with $250 scholarships, respectively.

Max will be attending West LA College in the Fall to study Mathematics and then plans to transfer to UCLA to major in Statistics. Ultimately, he wants to pursue a career in Data Analytics and to specialize in Sports Data Probability. Chris is going to Santa Monica College and then plans to transfer to UCLA to major in Psychology/Child Development. Juan will also be attending SMC in the Fall and may pursue a Physical Education degree with a focus on Special Education.

Christopher and Max peer-coached for seven seasons with Team Prime Time in basketball, flag football, and soccer. Juan peer-coached for five seasons with all 3 sports as well. These Seniors have consistently demonstrated enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment to coaching student athletes with special needs throughout the entire time they were members of JKL. They loved helping and giving back to others so much that they would take the initiative to recruit other peer coaches and made sure that they were available when called upon! We cannot say enough about these three young men and wish them all the best in their new endeavors!


Operation Progress

Earlier this month, the just keep livin office staff, along with Board Member Robin Berman, attended a “Ride Along” with the Operation Progress team in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Operation Progress is an organization that seeks to create hope, opportunity and success for disadvantage youth in L.A. The organization has a unique partnership with LAPD, were the officers serve as mentors to young students in the community each week.

LAPD Officers Coughlin and Ortiz, as well as Operation Progress Executive Director Theresa Gartland, did a great job educating our team on the history of Watts, showing us the housing units and giving us a chance to meet their O.P. students at a local elementary school. We even had the chance to meet an O.P. graduate who is heading to Boston College in the Fall. The trip was an eye-opening experience for us all and we look forward to collaborating with Operation Progress in the near future.


Venetian Blackjack Tournament

We were honored to be selected by The Venetian Las Vegas as the charitable beneficiary of a Blackjack Tournament they put together on Saturday, June 17th. Our very own Matthew McConaughey hosted the event, which was an exclusive gathering for some of the hotel and casino’s special guests.

Attendees included actress Ali Larter (“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”), Hayes MacArthur (“Angie Tribeca”), Country singer Jack Ingram, and Butch Gilliam of CNBC’s “West Texas Investors Club.” The event’s menu featured such delicacies as poached truffle egg custard with caviar and wagyu beef tartare.

In addition to his hosting duties, McConaughey also served as Auctioneer for the evening, bringing in some additional funds by auctioning off enticing packages such as premiere tickets for his upcoming film, The Dark Tower. We want to sincerely thank The Venetian Las Vegas for executing a flawless, fun-filled event and for being such a generous supporter of JKL!


Pedal on the Pier

On Sunday June 4th, several of our current and former just keep livin students volunteered to participate at the Pedal on the Pier fundraiser, held at the iconic Santa Monica Pier, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

This outdoor physical philanthropy event, during which 400 + riders cycle for 5 hours/100 miles along with some of the city’s top cycling instructors, is one that we always love supporting. This annual event raises money for the Harold Robinson Foundation, which provides the funding and resources to send Los Angeles’ less fortunate children to camp in a safe and nurturing environment, far away from the stress that most of them face on a daily basis.

We are lucky enough to get to send our JKL students to Camp Ubuntu every year thanks to this amazing organization, and it has become one of the experiences our students look forward to the most! It was so nice for JKL members to be able to help give back to our partner organization in such a fun and active way!


Coaches Corner with Jenn Zerling

NUTRITION: Cold Salads for Summer

On hot days, eat cold, organic and raw veggies. Don’t like raw? Get creative. You can simply mix raw veggies with apple cider vinegar and other miracle toppings that align with optimal health, while providing out of this world flavor.

My favorite is my Israeli Salad. I love putting tuna in there, but I will warn you that you should only apply the tuna when you are absolutely ready to eat it. Therefore, keep the tuna salad separate from the other veggies and then mix when you are ready to rock it. This is a great easy picnic and party option. Others LOVE it.