Children's Institute's Top Moments of 2018

January 22, 2019
Ryan Imondi

This month, we took a moment to pause and look back at a few highlights from Children’s Institute this past year. In 2018, we adopted an ambitious strategic plan that will double the number of children and families we serve over the next 10 years. As part of this strategic plan, we spent last year expanding services focused on supporting children and families facing adversity across Los Angeles. This included launching a new initiative in Watts supporting children and families exposed to gun violence. We also looked for ways to bring new experiences to kids in our programs like attending a theatre performance, camping or building their first bike.

Like previous years, our successes in 2018 were powered by the strong support of our greater LA community. Events were supported, attended and hosted by amazing volunteers and in-kind items were donated by local CII friends and businesses. The donors who fund crucial CII services continued to support our organization with a record number of gifts. We ended the year on a high note by raising almost $1 million at our inaugural Cape & Gown Gala on November 14 when we honored child advocates Beth & Bob Lowe along with Frank, Berta and Sam Gehry.

We’ve already started working to make an even bigger impact in 2019, and we’ll keep you updated along the way.

Supplied for Success

We celebrated our four year-old Head Start graduates with a back-to-school event ensuring a successful transition to kindergarten. The children received backpacks filled with school supplies provided by Age of Learning.

“It has always been our goal to achieve school readiness for our children and their families. The backpack donation ensures our children starting kindergarten have all the essentials,” says Justine Lawrence, Vice President of Head Start, CII.

The Healing Power of the Arts

Youth from our Individualized Transitional Skills Program  and Santee Education Complex were treated to a performance of Daniel Beaty’s “emergency” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The one-man show featured poetry, music and humor as Beaty played an array of characters coping with the effects of trauma. Read more about the event.

Supporting Children Exposed to Gun Violence

We launched a new initiative in partnership with the LA City Attorney’s Office and LAPD to support children in Watts who have been exposed to gun violence. The REACH TEAM ensures children and families in Watts receive appropriate and timely crisis intervention and support services through Children’s Institute and partner organizations. Read more about the partnership.

Gears for Kids

Our annual Gears for Kids event went off without a hitch thanks to our partners at Haworth.  Partners from 24 major design firms built bikes with kids from our Power-Up after-school program. Each kid got to take their bike home at the end of the day. In-N-Out Burger sent a food truck keeping our kids and volunteers energized.

Happy Campers

We held our 8th annual Camp Booth retreat at Booth Ranches in Fresno where kids got to spend time in nature and build camaraderie. Youth got to see a movie under the stars, interact with horses and make s’mores. Camp Booth was hosted by former board member and longtime supporter Loren Booth.

UCLA Career Day Opens Horizons for Youth

Our Power Up after-school program youth joined us for our first College & Career Day. The event was hosted by the UCLA Latino Alumni Association. Kids created resumes and figured out the skills they will need to make their dream jobs a reality. UCLA students and alumni also spoke to the kids about their unique college and career paths.

Cape & Gown Gala Raises Almost $1 million for Services

Children’s Institute welcomed 400 guests to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica to honor Beth & Bob Lowe and Frank, Berta and Sam Gehry at the first ever Cape & Gown Gala. The event raised close to $1 million for Children’s Institute’s programs. Read more about this successful event.

Early Head Start Expands to Compton

CII opened its first Early Head Start Program in Compton. Serving 140 infants and toddlers, the program provides crucial services to set kids up for future success. To celebrate the grand opening, CII invited kids, families and community members to an event with food and music.

A New Home in Long Beach

The day after we celebrated the new Compton Early Head Start, CII headed further south to celebrate the grand opening of our Long Beach center. The award-winning 20,000 square foot hub was designed by DSH // architecture.

Winter Family Festival Spreads Holiday Cheer

In December, we hosted our annual Winter Family Festival. The event opened our Otis Booth Campus to more than 2,500 children and families. The day included special holiday moments for kids including storytelling, arts and crafts and cupcake decorating. There was also an obstacle course and lots of giveaways for children and families who take part in CII’s programs.

Working as a Team

More than 30 CII staff members finished up the year by completing in the rigorous LASpartan Race. With several stunning displays of teamwork, the group pushed the limits as they climbed over barriers and swung through rope courses to finish as a team. Those who compete in Spartan races demonstrate a camaraderie towards other participants, embrace the challenge of the unknown and set out to prove they can accomplish difficult things. Mission accomplished.

Want to learn more about CII?

Read our 2018 Annual Report and Impact Report.

Make a difference in the lives of children and families exposed to adversity and poverty by making an end-of-year donation this holiday season.