Letter from the President of HOLA’s Board of Directors
This was a watershed year for Heart of Los Angeles, a year in which we are celebrating our 25th anniversary! Since our beginning, when Mitch Moore founded HOLA with just five kids and a basketball, we have attracted a family of people who are impassioned to help the children of Los Angeles. Our Executive Board, Advisory Board and Music Advisory Board are made up of individuals who exemplify the spirit of HOLA and who have helped HOLA’s dedicated staff and volunteers grow the organization to serve over 2,300 kids and yet still maintain HOLA’s grassroots feeling and sense of family.
I am proud to say that HOLA is doing so much more than just providing a safe place after school for kids in the Rampart District. Together, we are making lasting change in the lives of HOLA’s kids by providing high-quality academics, arts and athletics programs. In short, we are helping underserved kids achieve their potential. Here are just a few of the great things that have happened at HOLA this past year:
- One hundred percent of the seniors in HOLA’s high school program graduated from high school, compared to an average graduation rate of around 50% at the high schools HOLA students attend.
- All 58 graduates are attending colleges and universities around the country, and all 58 are receiving some form of financial aid and/or scholarships.
- To date, HOLA has awarded over $1 million in scholarships.
- Once again, YOLA at HOLA’s student musicians performed at opening night at the Hollywood Bowl, and this spring, four students will travel to Tokyo with the LA Philharmonic to participate in a symposium exploring the future of music education.
- Students in HOLA’s Visual Arts Program worked with the art collective Fallen Fruit and created LA’s very first Urban Fruit Trail. The project was featured in the LA Times, LA Magazine and a number of tv and radio outlets.
- HOLA’s students published newsletters, toured colleges, visited museums, created functional objects using a 3D printer, programmed robots and learned leadership skills through sailing.
- HOLA celebrated 25 years with nearly 600 guests, including special guest Ziggy Marley.
We are now in the 5th year of our flourishing partnership with the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, providing hundreds of youth with an intensive music education program. In addition, the renovated Community Center at Lafayette Park, made possible by our historic public-private partnership with the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks, along with funders like the Everychild Foundation and the Los Angeles Lakers, is now serving as the foundation for taking Rampart back for the kids and the community.
If you are interested in joining one of our Boards, volunteering your time by mentoring a student, teaching a class, coaching a team or simply visiting us to get to know the HOLA family, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by sending an email. With your help, we will continue to positively impact the heart of Los Angeles one child at a time.
J. Warren Rissier
Executive Board President