On Thursday, July 30, 2020, The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) hosted the 8th Annual Kids Progress Inc. (KPI) Scholarship Celebration. Due to the restrictions of COVID-19, this year marked the first time the event was held virtually. But that didn’t stop students, families, sponsors, partners and colleagues from gathering and celebrating the accomplishments of these very deserving scholars!
Welcome remarks were given by HACLA President & CEO, Doug Guthrie, followed by an inspirational keynote from HACLA Commissioner, KPI Board of Directors Chair and Chief of Staff for Fairplex Pomona, Cielo Castro. Castro reminded students that, “Life is more than checking boxes… Life,” she said, “can’t be defined by a box and neither can you.” Scholarship Recipient and resident of Nickerson Gardens, Zenaida Aguirre Gutierrez (rising freshman at Yale University), spoke to her fellow students, saying that she wants to help marginalized communities feel more secure in this country. And KPI Scholarship Alumna, Brisa Bernal (currently attending the University at California, Irvine) encouraged each scholar that self-motivation will be the key to keep going in college. “Don’t compare yourself to other students,” Bernal stated. “Just focus on yourself.”
A total of $38,000 in academic scholarships was awarded to 29 graduating high school seniors living in HACLA public housing developments. All students receiving recognition and scholarships are active in the community and come from one of HACLA’s public housing communities.These communities include: Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens, Pueblo del Rio, Imperial Courts, Mar Vista Gardens and many more. Some of the schools that students will be attending include: UC Berkeley, UCLA, Yale, Texas Christian University, San Francisco State University, and various California State Universities.
These scholarships were made possible through the generosity of donors including: Price Philanthropies Foundation, the County of Los Angeles Probation Housing Based Day Supervision (HBDS) Program, and HACLA’s Section 3 Partners Xerox, Yardi, American City Pest & Termite, Clark Hill, and Liberty Cassidy Whitmore. Jeff Bischoff, Senior Sales Director at Yardi, provided brief remarks as well.
In spite of being unable to gather, the energy could still be felt through the screens, especially during a special digital group activity congratulating the grads. Jenny Scanlin, KPI President, rounded out the afternoon’s event quoting John Lewis, “If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up… If you’re consistent you’ll succeed.” She went on to say, “Today, YOU are hope. You are going to push against the odds. You are our secret formula for success. Keep that hope and optimism alive always.”
Kids Progress, Inc. (KPI) is a 501(c)(3) organization created in 2002 by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to support social service programs that enhance quality of life and ensure long-term academic and economic success for residents in HACLA’s public housing developments. With HACLA’s restricted budget and continuing cuts at the federal level, the needs of residents in HACLA’s housing communities continue to grow. In order to build sustainable communities of choice, investment in People and access to resources is extremely important. Five core components of our work include:
Workforce Development & Lifelong Learning, Education & Youth Development, Health & Wellness, Safety and Security, and Civic Engagement. If you are interested in donating to the KPI Scholarship Fund, please contact us at (213) 252-1207 or visit www.kidsprogressinc.org.