We inspire and empower the next generation with the opportunity, tools and voice to make an impact on the world around them.
Our programs lead the next generation to become change-makers in their community by providing access to education, cultivating creativity, social consciousness, and leadership.
2020 started like any other year.
We began the year in service, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by helping from coast to coast, beautifying underserved schools, making blankets for those who are unhoused, and evaluating areas of highest need to direct our efforts.
We expanded our impact.
We welcomed new ambassadors Katie, Shanaelle, Jeremiah & Kavya to the family, we grew our Advisory Board exponentially, welcomed Stephanie Griffin to the team as our Operations & Marketing guru and brought on new partners & launched our inaugural women’s luncheon, A World of Good.
A World of Good
By March, we were at our A World of Good luncheon, celebrating International Women’s Day with extraordinary women ~ Misty Copeland, Emma Grede, Deborah Santana & Noora Raj Brown ~ who shared their empowering stories of being the change. The togetherness and unity was magical — and lasting. By coming together, we turned audiences into activists committed to inspiring the next generation to create their perfect world.
And then everything changed.
6 days later, the world stopped. We retreated to our homes. Plans for service projects, mentor meetings, and international school inaugurations were suddenly on hold, indefinitely.
We waited… until we realized things were not going back to “normal” anytime soon.
Soon we pivoted… finding ways to do good from home.
We expanded our youth empowerment programs and launched a new initiative, Everyday Kindness, to foster empathy, kindness and compassion during this extraordinary time. Kids of all ages supported their neighbors, showed gratitude for essential workers, connected with isolated seniors, recognized the immense sacrifice of doctors & nurses. We also provided resources for kids to understand and process their new reality, from COVID time capsules to mental health tools.
Cultivating a Lens of Empathy
Everyday Kindness provided opportunities for youth to feel empowered, stay positive, and be of service. We helped our community (and ourselves!) persevere and inspired a whole new audience to join our movement.
We were showered with gratitude.
We were inundated with messages of gratitude from parents, teachers and students who came to rely on our Everyday Kindness resources… not as an “add-on” to homeschooling or remote learning, but as a primary component.
Coming together as a community, as a country and as a global collective during the pandemic required empathy, understanding and a sense that we are all in this together. Everyday Kindness cultivated just that.
Our resources developed social emotional learning skills and helped kids feel positive about themselves and others, decreased emotional distress, and helped them build relationships and make good choices.
Leveling the playing field.
While many teachers utilized our Everyday Kindness lessons, other teachers and students struggled without basic supplies.
Through our long-standing partnership with Donors Choose, we provided direct support to these teachers & over 600 students who were facing the new challenge of remote learning without the necessary technology or supplies.
We broke records.
In a year where education needs exploded, we were able to serve a record number of students, donating $15,000 to LA’s BEST for emergency student support for the highest need households.
And thanks to our new friends at ServiceMax, Lucia & Luna’s backpack drive expanded into Oakland. There, we provided $10,000 of support to students at Coliseum College Prep Academy in need of internet access and technology support for remote learning.
ServiceMax went above and beyond by also providing a holiday surprise for the students and their families: gifts, food & laptops for all.
Little kids, BIG change.
Big change can be tough for all of us, but especially for young kids. We are so proud of our Dreamcatchers and their resilience. They moved through the year taking on new challenges and opportunities. They attended Peace Camp (virtually) with our friends Kids for Peace, designed hospital gowns for sick kids at the Starlight Foundation, delivered care packages for people experiencing homelessness over at Out of the Cold and rallied around their communities and each other.
Our Youth Ambassadors thrived.
While we could no longer gather to serve in person, our Youth Ambassadors found ways to still have an impact. They made masks for essential workers, supported low income students, connected with isolated seniors, impacted the trans community, created care packages for moms & kids experiencing homelessness and raised money & awareness for families in need. They managed to do all of this while in their new reality and juggling remote learning. By May, Bella, Samara and Claire graduated high school and went off to college!
They dove deeper into the issues they care about.
“Especially in poverty, being transgender can be very difficult. Lack of acceptance is a huge issue. With this service project, even though we can’t change these kids’ home lives, or the circumstances of their finances, we can make their holidays a little bit brighter, in a meaningful way.”
They made their voices heard.
Like IAPW Youth Ambassadors, Jasmine and Jonathan, who participated in a peaceful protest at the Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC.
Standing united, they shared messages of hope, listened to speeches from the #BlackLivesMatter community, and provided other protesters with water and snacks.
They continued to build their leadership toolboxes.
From creative writing for action to social justice workshops, the Youth Ambassadors continued to hone their leadership skills.
Victor taught us about the importance of meditation, Hazel interned at the ACLU Advocacy Institute (via Zoom) and Logan realized her dreams of being a broadcast journalist by launching her own talkshow, Mocha Princess Media.
And, we learned a valuable lesson.
We learned that you cannot give from an empty cup. We experienced first-hand, the importance of self-care — from starfish breathing to mindfulness — in building one’s personal habits of resilience to stress.
We made new friends!
With Teens 4 Teens we supported youth in foster care, with Gabrielle Nevaeh we brought story time to kids and their families (and Lucia was inspired to start her own story time series!), with Change4Good we reached families experiencing homelessness, because of MissionBit we made new friends at Coliseum College Prep Academy, thanks to Blue Light Kids we were able to send blue light glasses to kids in need, and Good Luck Yogi reminded us to just… breathe.
We leaned on strategic partners.
We pride ourselves on being conveners, bringing together effective organizations whose missions align with ours, allowing us to expand our impact exponentially. With COVID-19 halting travel, having well-established relationships with on-the-ground strategic partners overseas proved to be incredibly valuable. Our partners quickly assessed the greatest needs of communities and we aligned on how to best meet them.
In Malawi, that meant that our partner buildOn paused construction on our secondary school long enough to assess the safest and most effective path forward. It also meant emergency food distribution to support families who relied on our school meal program. We installed hand-washing stations & distributed soap, reusable masks and other personal protective equipment when the kids returned to school. All of which was coordinated by our partner, Empower Malawi.
Holistic community building pays off.
Bringing education to communities that have no access means not only building a school, but looking at the community as a whole and identifying other obstacles. Access to water, solar power and food can determine whether children attend school and whether they are energized to learn.
To eliminate food insecurity as a barrier to education for our Malawi students, we planted a 4 acre school farm in 2018. This allowed us to start our school feeding program. Parents were so inspired by these changes, they began to create their own community gardens at home. 21 gardens were planted in 2019, which helped to sustain families who suddenly had no access to food when the pandemic hit in 2020.
Striving for continuity when schools closed.
In Central America, the government provided family food deliveries, which allowed us to focus directly on educational support. Through our incredible partnership with School the World, IAPW funded radio broadcasts of educational programs on local radio stations in both Guatemala and Honduras, including weekly lessons, story-time and seat-gripping “Radio-Novelas” filled with advice for parents. We’ve been able to reach more than 10,000 children and their families!
School the World also distributed learning guides to each child, communicated with parents over WhatsApp and trained teachers on remedial teaching strategies.
Collaborate. Problem Solve. Never Give Up.
In our 15 years, we have overcome countless challenges. In 2020, we faced a roadblock when our partner’s drill didn’t find water. We were trying to install a much needed well to provide clean water to our students. But Formidable Joy and their crew embodied the traits we teach in our youth empowerment programs: grit & perseverance. They insisted on trying just one more time… and soon the water was flowing!
We are so grateful to our partners for their incredible innovation.
We launched The Village.
We believe that little by little, a little becomes a lot. So we launched THE VILLAGE , a monthly giving community that believes in the power of a sustainable commitment. Monthly gifts enable us to invest in specific areas of our work, expand our programs and allow young people the freedom to innovate because we know we have the ongoing support of THE VILLAGE community.
The best part? 100% of every dollar going directly toward empowering young people to change the world.
For the 7th straight year, we received the highest possible rating from GuideStar and GreatNonProfits for our commitment to transparency and excellence.
More resilient than ever.
2021 marks our 15th year of helping the most vulnerable communities both at home and abroad. We remain committed to developing holistic, self-sustaining communities, to bolstering education for kids everywhere and for cultivating the values of empathy and kindness to make this world a little more perfect.
We could not have survived this year without you.
You helped us thrive during an incredibly challenging year.
Your support allowed us to shift and pivot as needed, responding dynamically to constant change.
Thank you for being on this journey with us.
April 1, 2021
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