May Newsletter

Student Spotlight: Xochilt

“Committed”, “Passionate”, and “Grateful” are just a few words that describe JKL student, Xochilt, a Senior at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Xochilt is a true JKL Ambassador, having been in the program since her Freshman year and having attended all of our community service and fitness events.

Before fully committing to the JKL program, Xochilt was skeptical about what she would gain from it. But then she had the opportunity to attend our annual overnight camping trip at Canyon Creek’s “Camp Ubuntu” and she was forever changed. She discovered that the JKL program had a truly well-rounded approach to providing guidance and resources for students to experience and “become better at life,” as she says.

Even today, Xochilt remains one our greatest leaders and is constantly promoting the program and recruiting new Hamilton students to join JKL. Family problems at home kept Xochilt dedicated to the program. Initially, the JKL program provided a safe place that allowed Xochilt to make new friends while gaining knowledge about how to implement better nutrition habits in her life. The fitness activities are now something Xochilt looks forward to weekly, especially when our in-house fitness expert Jenn Zerling is leading a dynamic and challenging workout session. After graduation, Xochilt is looking forward to studying criminal justice and become a lawyer with a degree from UCLA. We are so proud of her and we know she is going to go on to do great things!


A Successful 2017 Amazing Race

On Saturday April 8th in New Orleans, hundreds of participants came out to support this year’s Amazing Race fundraiser, running through the French Quarter collecting clues in a daytime scavenger hunt benefitting the just keep livin Foundation and Brittany & Drew Brees’ Brees Dream Foundation. We were thrilled to see some of our j.k. livin students from Warren Easton, Edna Karr and Landry Walker high schools come out fired up to race and meet Matthew McConaughey and Drew Brees! Clues hidden at various locations throughout the area led racers, among other locations, to an apartment on historic St. Charles Avenue where Drew and Matthew stood out on the balcony tossing the football down to the lucky competitors. The competition culminated at Walk-Ons Bistreaux & Bar where Brees presided over an “awards ceremony” and the team from the Ritz Carlton New Orleans home the top prize.

The party continued later that night at the House of Blues, which featured a VIP Dinner, Cocktail Reception and Live Auction run by Matthew and Drew which raised over $300,000 for the two charities. The highlight of the night, though, was definitely superstar Kenny Chesney, who put on an incredible show! He played all his hits including “Beer in Mexico,” “I Go Back, and “American Kids,” for which Matthew and Drew came out on stage to join him, helping add their own flavor to the show by playing the air guitar! Everyone had a great time while raising substantial funding for more opportunities for incredible kids in New Orleans and beyond! Thank you to all who came out and supported the event.


Mack, Jack & McConaughey 2017 – That’s a Wrap!

From April 19th – 22nd, the just keep livin Foundation team was in Austin, TX for our annual “Mack, Jack & McConaughey” (MJ&M) fundraiser. This is our fourth year partnering with Texas coaching legend Mack Brown and recording artist Jack Ingram on this joint fundraising effort. The festivities consisted of several fun-filled events including a golf tournament, a Jason Wu fashion show presented by Neiman Marcus, and two nights of live music featuring performances by Miranda Lambert, Kris Kristofferson, Little Big Town and many more!

A fantastic time was had by all, and most importantly, we were able to raise more than $2.5 million to help empower kids! We are honored to be one of the charitable beneficiaries (along with Dell Children’s Hospital, The Rise School of Austin, CureDuchenne, and HeartGift) who will be impacted by this great success. The money we raised will enable us to give even more students the tools to live healthier lives through our after-school fitness and wellness programs. Thank you to all who attended and lent their support to MJ&M 2017! And please save the date for next year’s event – April 12 & 13, 2018!


Lip Sync Battle Field Trip

The just keep livin program at Animo Inglewood Charter High School recently had the chance to visit the set of Spike TV’s hit show “Lip Sync Battle,” thanks to our generous friends at Casey Patterson Entertainment. This was an amazing experience for both students and staff who were treated like VIP guests throughout the duration of the field trip. The afternoon kicked off for our JKL students in their very own VIP area where they were able to watch a live taping of the show. Host LL Cool J gave multiple shout-outs to JKL during the taping which made our students go crazy! Celebrities Rumer Willis and Bryshere Y. Gray battled it out and put on amazing performances for the crowd.

After the live taping, our students were escorted back stage to meet Gray, along with hosts LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen. The fun continued with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the show, where students got to watch the LSB dancers rehearsing, take photos with the Lip Sync Battle champion belt and receive their very own LSB swag bags. Thank you to Casey Patterson, Brittany Mehmedovic and the whole team at Casey Patterson Entertainment for making all of this possible and giving our students a day they won’t soon forget!


Washington Redskins “Careers in Sports” Panel

Earlier this month, our partners at the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation put together a “Career in Sports” panel event for our JKL students from the Washington DC area. The panelists for the event included the following Redskins staff: Malcom Blacken (Director of Player Development), Carlyle Abbott (Direct of Special Events and Development), Jake Kring-Schreifels (Staff Writer and Publications Coordinator), Doug Quon (Assistant Athletic Trainer), Anthony Lanier II (Defensive End) and Moderator Larry Michael (Chief Content Office and Executive Producer).

It was great to have such a diverse panel of individuals give share their insights and advice with our students and talk a little about their respective roles within the organization. Students enjoyed hearing from this array of voices, and they walked away from the event with a deepened appreciation for the multiple elements and roles that contribute to the success of a professional sports team. The event took place at the Redskins’ practice facility in Ashburn, V.A., and our JKL students got to finish off the day with an awesome tour of the grounds. They even got the chance to throw a few passes on the practice field! We appreciate all the wonderful opportunities like this one that the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation provides for our JKL students!


Guest Speaker: Officer JB Williams

Officer JB Williams recently visited the JKL program at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles as a Guest Speaker. Officer Williams worked security for our very own Matthew McConaughey in 1996, and is currently serving as a police officer on local school campuses. He shared his story of how he watched his mother being mistreated by a cop and that moment inspired him to become a police officer to serve the people and protect his community. While he was growing up, Officer Williams was surrounded by drugs and gangs but made the effort to keep following the right path and go into law enforcement.

He has his fair share of regrets, such as wishing he had been more responsible during high school, as he learned twice during that time period that he was going to become a father. However, he was determined to keep striving toward his future, and he went on to work for a funeral parlor to make ends meet before applying to become a police officer and being accepted. Officer Williams understands the struggles young people face and found it easy to relate to the JKL students. The message he wanted to get across to them is that integrity is key. He stressed to them the importance of choosing who to hang out with, how to think, how to respond to poor situations, and continuing to remain responsible kids, so as to not become young parents like he did. Thank you so much, Officer Williams, for taking the time to come visit with our students and share your story with them!


Zava Zone Field Trip at Ballou High School

This past month our JKL program at Ballou High School in Washington DC challenged their students with a high-energy field trip visit to the ZavaZone, an indoor adventure park filled with activities ranging from zip lines and trampolines to heart-pounding high ropes courses. This was the first time Ballou students had visited the nearby city of Rockville, MD where ZavaZone is located. Each of the students had a fear of heights going into the activity, but these fears were conquered as the day went on through the completion of the elevated obstacle courses. Ballou student Ne’Coe set a new record in the ZavaZone’s adrenaline-pumping Warrior Race, coming in at 9.8 seconds. We tip our hats off to the Ballou JKL program teachers for making this a life-changing experience for their students!


Coaches Corner with Jenn Zerling

NUTRITION: Increase Your Veggie Intake

Researchers are now finding that the average adults needs a minimum of 7-10 servings of vegetables, with the more athletic adult needing 12+ servings a day.

1 fist = 1 serving

You need variety, too. You need different colors of the rainbow. You need grab and go options.

Here is one vegetable that is great to have around for you and your kids.