It was just over a year ago when PLUS ME began accepting donations.
Last week, we passed our first milestone as a non-profit organization.
We reached our 100th financial supporter!
We look forward to welcoming our next 100 supporters!
Want to join this list? Donate here!
With only one more weekend left before The PLUS ME Project's big fundraiser, it's a pleasure to thank so many friends for purchasing their tickets to the event! It's also a pleasure to share a little more about what makes the organization so special.
As I wrote in my last note, speaking with students over the last couple of months hasn't just been a lot of fun, it's also been an honor. The truth of it is, going to schools is a humbling experience: more often than not, the students are filled with energy, humor, and the desire to just have a good time! Which makes the work easy.
And I'll be honest, at first I prepared for something different: I thought students would be skeptical and just not all that into my visit to their classroom, at least, since that's how I often found myself feeling about so many other educators during high school. By contrast, I've found that most students are happy to welcome visitors to their schools. After all, they're there for an education! And most students do appreciate an opportunity to learn from someone else, especially when they know that someone cares.
Here, I think it's particularly important to recognize the power of acknowledging the youth in our city. In the "concrete jungle" of L.A., it's easy to take for granted how much so many students have to harden themselves to at such an early age.
I think that now more than ever, in an age where smartphones and the internet are so widespread, there's just such an incredible amount of information rushing at young people. So much, in fact, that they just have to wall themselves off in order to remain healthy. After all, if this information is anything like what I see online, then there's a lot of negative imagery being sent their way, making it all the more special when someone from outside of their school stops by to let them know that--contrary to what so much of the media says about things--it's going to be okay.
The students cheer their hearts out for this! They laugh, and applaud, and this energy catches on like fire. It radiates so brightly that one can't help but laugh and applaud with them, which in turn lights up the entire room in the triumphant wavelengths of a community celebrating itself. Together, we affirm one thing loudly and clearly: that no matter what's going on out there, we still have each other, and that because of this, everything is going to be okay after all!
For this experience, I'm indefinitely thankful to The PLUS ME Project. And you can see why I'm all the more excited for next Saturday! On May 2nd, another room is set to light up again, to celebrate the magical power of storytelling, acknowledgement, and ultimately, the community which this has developed over the last couple of months! And I can only hope you've got your ticket too, as I can assure you, we'll be happy to have you there.
Today I had the opportunity to watch one of PLUS ME's presenters, Jimmy Recinos, talk to a group of students at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in Los Angeles. Jimmy’s story inspired me and I'm sure most of the students in the room because he spoke the truth about all his struggles in high school.
He talked about how all he wanted to do was party and hang out with his friends throughout his 9th grade year. He got kicked out of 2 high schools due to a lack of caring in less than three months. After his 3rd high school attempt, his mother, who stood by his side and motivated him no matter what, enrolled him at a school in Koreatown called Youth Fair Chance. After attending a few weeks at this continuation school, he said he wanted to do better and that he needed to do better.
Throughout his story, Jimmy shared how everyone should stand their own ground and never give up. Even though sometimes people will try to bring you down, you must work hard and believe that anything is possible.
Jimmy attended Pasadena College and had the opportunity to travel across the United States after he graduated from Marshall High in 2008. He continued on to UC Davis and graduated with a BA in 2014.
Jimmy’s speech was engaging, funny and, made me want to work harder towards achieving my goals even though it may not be so easy.
Below is a photo from Jimmy's presentation today that I had the opportunity to take.
It's been amazing to see a second presenter in action for PLUS ME. I look forward to sharing more with you about my journey with this amazing organization over the next few weeks.
I hope this greeting finds you well! I'm writing to invite you all to a special dinner that I'm honored to be a part of this upcoming May 2nd with The PLUS ME Project. As many of you know, by working with the Project over the last couple of months, I've had the pleasure of going out to over a dozen different classrooms in L.A. to speak with middle and high school students there. It's been a tremendous joy for me, as in meeting with these students, I've been able to share the story of my long road to college with other young people in the midst of their educational journey. At the same time, going out to meet other students and educators has created a new community for me in this most recent chapter of my life; one which I am both honored and thrilled to be a part of.
And with this in mind, it's now my pleasure to invite you all in to this community, as we celebrate PLUS ME's achievements over the last year with a special dinner and fundraiser! The event will take place at the Ebell Club in the majestic Highland Park neighborhood, and feature a catered Italian dinner and open bar, a raffle, and a silent auction filled with awesome prizes for our guests! The event will also feature remarks from students we've spoken with, from other educators and supporters of The PLUS ME Project, and from yours truly!
In other words, it's going to be a groovy Saturday night in Los Angeles. Tickets will be priced at $25 dollars, and can be purchased here. If however you can't make the event, you can also buy a ticket for a student, or even donate an item for the auction. Of course, I think the best move is to buy a ticket to attend. We'll get to see each other, wine and dine, and celebrate good work as all funds from the dinner go towards supporting the PLUS ME Project's visits to more and more schools.
And in the meantime, I'll happily answer any questions you all might have about the event or other ways in which you can support. Currently, the team and I are heading out to different businesses in L.A. asking for donations or discounts to feature on the raffle, and any help along with that is especially appreciated!
Also as we get closer to the dinner, I'll be sharing more about just why it will make for such a special night in our community. In the next letter, I'll be describing the experience of heading out to schools and meeting with students to create a meaningful dialogue with them.
Per usual then, stay tuned! There will be more soon.
Your friend, fan, and ally,
Jimmy "Jimbo" Recinos
PLUS ME Presenter