During the month of August, the Community Development Commission/Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (CDC/HACoLA) hosted its annual series of Back to School Jams at the Carmelitos, Harbor Hills, Nueva Maravilla, and South County (Scattered Sites) public housing developments. These annual events first began in 2000, and have become a welcomed tradition by public housing youth and their families eager to make the upcoming school year a success.
The CDC/HACoLA was honored to have Congressman Alan Lowenthal attend the Carmelitos event in Long Beach, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters participate in the Harbor Hills event in Lomita. Each Representative spent time visiting with residents, thanking vendors for their participation, and handing out backpacks to students.
During the Back to School Jams, over 60 exhibitors provided educational and health-related resources and information to some 700 families. A partial list of participating agencies included: the Los Angeles County Library; California State University Long Beach, Educational Opporunity Center; St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Van; Women, Infants, and Children Program; Office of Samoan Affairs; Long Beach Unified School District; Alma Family Services; and the Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services Department.
“Each year, the support from local community groups and public and private organizations helps relieve the financial burden of sending kids back to school,” said Monique King-Viehland, CDC/HACoLA Executive Director. “The Back to School Jams celebrate the learning opportunities and fun that will come in the upcoming school year.”
Over 1,200 public housing youth were treated to entertainment, food, dance, brand new books, and raffles. The highlight of each Back to School Jam was the distribution of backpacks stocked with age-appropriate school supplies, and athletic shoes for each public housing youth attending grades K-12. These gifts were made possible through the generous support of City of Lomita Sheriff’s Station, Southside Church of Christ, Cottonwood Church, and Shelter Partnership, a local non-profit organization which provides resources and housing through its S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank. A special acknowledgement also goes out to Power 106 radio station who provided entertainment and give-aways at the Harbor Hills event.