SOURCE: "I Have A Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles

February 09, 2017 12:00 ET

"I Have a Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles Celebrates 30 Years of Helping Low-Income Youth to Achieve Their Dreams Through Education

Annual Dreamer Dinner honors champions of education - Sunday, March 5

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - February 09, 2017) - "I Have a Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles (IHADLA), a provider of long-term educational support and programming to low-income, underserved youth in Los Angeles, is entering its 30th year of making dreams come true.

For the past three decades, IHADLA has worked tirelessly to help underserved youth become empowered and successful young adults through education and social-emotional support. The organization sponsors entire grade levels of underserved students starting in third grade, regardless of each "Dreamer's" academic level or learning challenges. IHADLA selects these classes in schools that are categorized as "Title 1," which is defined as low-income with an average family income of $20,000 or less and at least 75% on free or subsidized lunches.

From the first day of sponsorship, through middle school, high school and post-secondary education, IHADLA runs its program year-round in and outside of the classroom, facilitating academic aid in a variety of forms -- one-on-one mentoring, social-emotional development, college and career prep, cultural enrichment and gang prevention programs, plus the offer of an $8,000 scholarship for higher education to assure the best outcomes for employment and life success.

IHADLA not only sponsors Dreamers, but also helps Dreamers' siblings, parents, school and local communities. This holistic approach to educational programming has resulted in a 25% higher high school graduation rate and 60% higher college graduation rate than their peers. IHADLA has directly served over 1,000 students and has continued to spread the positive influence and offerings of programs to more than 7,200, siblings, families and community members.

"The 'I Have a Dream' Foundation - Los Angeles allows families and communities to come together to provide a better future for their children. I've seen students achieve more than they thought they could and overcome incredible odds. Thirty years after the first program was sponsored, I've met alumni that still call themselves 'Dreamers'," says Debra Fine, CEO of IHADLA. "This is not a drop-in tutoring program, it's a ten plus year commitment to students and their families. As Nelson Mandela once said, 'education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world'. I believe the students that we serve will be instrumental in that positive change."

The 30-year anniversary Dreamer Dinner will be held on Sunday, March 5 -- the night will be filled with Dreamers, alumni and sponsors sharing their stories of how they overcame hardship and how they are continuing to achieve their dreams. Supporters are coming together to celebrate the growth and success of the foundation and its Dreamers.

This year's Dreamer Dinner honors three women who broke through the concrete ceiling and are proof that education, hard work and persistence can overcome all odds: Marcia Clark, former LA Prosecutor for the District Attorney; Jamila Hunter, Senior VP Comedy at ABC Entertainment; and Susan Rovner, EVP Development at Warner Bros. Television & Co-President at Warner Horizon Scripted Television.

"IHADLA is unlike any other educational program out there," says Floy Hawkins, one of IHADLA's first program coordinators in 1987, now an educational consultant at Los Angeles Southwest College. "The foundation's empathic spirit and ability to put words into action has changed the lives of countless students and their families. The success is two-fold; each Dreamer and his or her family is treated with respect and dignity during their time with IHADLA, and in turn, they inspire and enrich our lives too -- we empower each other."

Hawkins continues, "IHADLA has been a life-changing and humbling experience for me and my career, and I can't wait to see what the next 30 years will bring to the community."

For more information on the "I Have a Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles and becoming involved, please visit:

About "I Have a Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles:

Founded in 1987, the "I Have A Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles is the only educational organization that works with elementary school children through high school graduation and offers them an $8,000 scholarship for college and supports them through post-secondary education. IHADLA does not "cherry pick" its students: every student ("Dreamer") in a grade/class that it sponsors, receives full services of in-school, after-school, and year-round academic, social, and emotional support. IHADLA has supported over 7,200 community individuals -- students, their parents and siblings. The Foundation strives to support the "whole child" and their families to ensure that students graduate from high school. IHADLA is effectively breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty, as many of the Dreamers are the first in their family to graduate from college and many come back as alumni to coordinate programs or mentor. For further information on "I Have A Dream" Foundation - Los Angeles, please visit

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