June Newsletter

Student Spotlight: Aleyda

Aleyda is an energetic, loving, “corny-joke enthusiast” Junior who is finishing up her third year in the JKL program at Animo Inglewood Charter High School in Los Angeles. During Aleyda’s Freshman year, her mother encourage her to try out for sports, but that was not of interest to her. It wasn’t until her friend Alondra introduced her to the JKL program that Aleyda started to be interested in being active after school.

Through the JKL program, Aleyda has been able to meet new friends, make healthier choices, workout and develop a passion for community service. “Aleyda is an amazing student who is involved in student council and is kind to so many people. She is very selfless and always thinks of others first,” said JKL instructor, Ms. Gonzalez. Aleyda’s mother is so grateful that she has finally found a safe, positive and supportive environment like JKL that she can attend twice a week.

Aleyda is now on a mission to get accepted to her dream school, University of California, Berkeley where she would like to study psychology and make a positive mark in the word. As Aleyda sets out to conquer her dreams of graduating with flying colors, you can be sure that she has Bruno Mars songs playing in the background to help her stay motivated and grateful!


Beach Day with the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation

For our JKL Los Angeles End of the Year Celebration, we were thrilled to team up with our friends at the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation. This organization is doing remarkable work through providing free ocean therapy classes and surf lessons to veterans, foster children and inner city youth. On Saturday, May 20th, we brought over 90 JKL students to El Porto Beach in the South Bay for a day filled with sunshine, laughter, physical challenges, and peer to peer motivation.

For many of our students, it was their first time getting on a surfboard and for some, it was even their first time in the ocean. The event itself helped bring to life the four major tenants of the JKL program by featuring Surfing & Body Surfing Stations (Fitness), a Yoga Station (Gratitude/Reflection), Beach Clean-Up Station (Community Service), and a healthy lunch and snacks for all attendees (Nutrition).

We are so grateful to the JMMF for all of their help executing this event and securing so many wonderful volunteers who donated their time to help make the day one our students will never forget. Additionally, we would like to thank our just keep livin teachers and staff, Growing Great, LACO Lifeguards, Campsurf, South Bay Boardriders Club, Heal the Bay, Redondo Beach SeaLab, YogaLoft, Green Yogi, Yoga Mitra, Mukti Yoga, KIND Snacks, Amigos Unidos, National Charity League, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 2055, Brad Jacobson/Civic Couch and Jersey Mikes.


Washington Redskins Draft Day Dash 5K

April in Washington D.C. was a busy month for our just keep livin programs, as JKL students from Ballou, Anacostia, and Roosevelt high schools were all given the chance to participate in the third annual Washington Redskins Draft Day Dash 5K at FedExField.

We had over 69 JKL participants enter the race, which concluded inside the field, allowing participants to experience the stadium by running through the players tunnels to finish on the 50-yard line. For 90% of our students, this was their first time running in an organized race event and we’re proud to say that 100% of them finished! Students also had the chance to meet actor Michael Ealey and Redskins Rookies Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson. Thank you to our partners at the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation for providing a day filled with fun and fitness for so many of our local D.C. teens!


Thank you Daniel Norris!

Detroit Tigers pitcher and friend of the Foundation, Daniel Norris, recently invited five just keep livin students and two JKL teachers out to Angel Stadium to watch his Tigers take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The JKL crew received the VIP treatment, including the opportunity to come out onto the field to watch batting practice before the game! The students really enjoyed meeting Daniel himself and learning about his journey to the MLB and the way his motto to “just keep livin” has helped him remain resilient and positive despite the challenges he has faced throughout his journey.

The kids especially got a kick out of seeing the phrase “just keep livin” stitched onto Daniel’s glove in gold thread. Students hung out until batting practice finished, enjoying the chance to meet a few more players including All-Star Miguel Cabrera. One of the kids even managed to catch a stray ball and get some autographs before heading to their seats to enjoy the game! Thank you Daniel for providing our students with this very special opportunity and for being such a valued supporter of our Foundation!


City Year Event

On Saturday, May 6th, 25 of our just keep livin students from Venice High School and Animo South Los Angeles attended City Year’s annual Spring Break event at the Commissary Lawn on the Sony Studios lot in Culver City, California.

This annual event brings out a star-studded crowd for a high-energy night of musical performances, food and games. Proceeds enable City Year to work with thousands of at-risk students and provide them with extra care and support. This year’s list of celebrity hosts included Octavia Spencer, Milo Ventimiglia, Liam Hemsworth and a performance by One Republic. This experience would not have been possible without the generous donation from JKL Foundation supporter, Mr. Palmer Murray. Thank you Palmer for providing our students with this incredible experience!


End of the Year Celebration in Austin: MYLO Obstacle Fitness

just keep livin students from East Austin College Prep and Reagan High School in Austin joined forces recently for an end of year celebration at MYLO Obstacle Fitness, Austin’s only outdoor obstacle course gym.

The thirty JKL students who attended took full advantage of MYLO’s 24 outdoor obstacles, a creek, trails to run, free weights and hills for cardio. During this fun-filled event, students worked on their physical fitness through increasing their strength, cardio, agility, endurance and mental discipline, while also having a blast. Comfort zones were pushed, new friendships built and lots of teamwork was demonstrated. The smiles on the kids’ faces says it all!


JKL Shining Stars at Eastern Hills HS in Dallas

We want to give a special shout-out to recognize the amazing accomplishment of four of our just keep livin students at Eastern Hills High School in Dallas – shown from left to right, they are Dafne Luviano, Vanessa Espinoza, Estrella Martinez, and Doreen Nvambuka.

Estrella and Vanessa will be graduating in the top 2% of their graduating class, Dafne will be graduating in the top 10% of her graduating class and Doreen has received a full ride scholarship to TCU! Estrella, Vanessa and Dafne will all be attending UT Arlington. Congratulations to these four ladies along with all of our graduating JKL Seniors. We know that this will be only the first of many proud, successful moments for these fantastic students!