Dear friends, family, and all who this message may reach,
I am writing to ask for your help, but before I do that, let me give you a little background…
Two years ago, when I joined the staff of New Village Charter School, I knew I was getting involved with a very special place. New Village is a small, all-girls, interest-driven, project-based learning school in Los Angeles that takes in girls from many walks of life and transforms their lives. We serve girls who are faced with the challenges of poverty, pregnancy, parenting, the foster care system, probation, and many others. When I look at my classroom I see smart, strong, determined young women who always inspire me and always bring a smile to my face.
Last year, I opened my class by asking my students what they wanted most out of life? I had many students that said they wanted to be doctors, lawyers, artists, veterinarians, and many just didn’t know yet. However, one student, Joanna, looked at me with complete certainty and said, “What I want most in life is to travel. So far, I’ve been to Arizona and Mexico.” Having traveled so much in my life, I knew what we had to do. “Let’s go on a class trip,” I said.
After a year of planning, a committee of students finally decided where we should go. They considered Costa Rica, Africa, London, France, and many others… but when I started telling them about the family I lived with in Florence, how strangers took time out of their day to give directions, about the architecture of the Duomo, how the Amalfi Coast literally took my breath away, and about how much gelato I ate each day… the choice was clear. We would go to Italy.
In March 2013, ten students will hopefully travel with EF Tours from LA to Venice, Florence, Assisi, Rome, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. This will be the first time most of the girls leave Los Angeles on a trip that is not to visit their relatives. We will be sharing a tour guide and bus with other high school students from around the country, so the girls can make meaningful friendships and learn about different cultures. They will be getting private tours of many museums, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, Pompeii, and more. They will also be developing a class project so that they can earn school credit. Yet, the value of this trip is even more than the travel experience – these girls will learn that anything is possible. Many have gotten part time jobs, they are selling chocolates, hosting a variety of fund raising events, and even carried out a successful car wash in the rain!
I am writing this letter to ask for your help. We have to fund raise $35,000 in total to make this trip happen. The girls are responsible for fund raising/earning a portion, but we need your help. We need to raise $20,000 on this site by February. These girls mean the world to me. They are so strong, caring, and determined to succeed. They deserve an experience that takes them away from Los Angeles and broadens their perspective of the world. Please, if you can, make a contribution to our campaign. Words can’t express how thankful we will be for your help!
Advisor – New Village Charter School
Meet the Girls
Oleidi (17) is a straight-A student, an intern at ACLU, holds two part-time jobs, and is an amazing mother to her son, Isaiah. She is a role-model to all. Oleidi says, "I really want to go to Italy because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My parents really want me to go on this trip and so they told me they could take care of Isaiah. I will have the chance to take a break from the stress of being a mother, getting good grades in school, working two jobs, and just see another part of the world with other teens."
Luz (15) has a creative eye, a curious mind, and a caring heart. She is passionate about law, art, and helping others. Luz says, "I want to succeed in school and be someone. I want to make my parents proud - have them feel that all their work paid off. I'm really excited to go to italy, especially Venice to find out if it's really sinking!"
Jisel (15) can make anyone laugh in a time of need. With many of the girls leaving home for the first time, we just may need her to make us laugh from time to time. She is a go-getter, when she sets her mind to do somehting, she does it. She is a dedicated intern at Drop Dead Gorgeous salon in Beverly Hills, and can't wait to check out Italian fashion. Jisel says, "I've been dying to go to Italy, since my dad is half Italian, but we can never get the chance to go since my dad has to work at his restaurant. I haven't traveled anywhere for nine years!"
Valerie (15) is hard working, caring, and loves to help others. She always has a smile ready for you. She stays true to herself through all obstacles in life. She is always the one to welcome a new student into our class, which makes me think she will fit right in with the Italian charm. Valerie says, "I would love to have a wonderful adventure in Italy, meet new people, try different food, and learn about the Italian culture. Now, I'm doing everything I can with my group to get to go on this adventure!"
Jailene (15) always has a joke waiting for you. She is honest and has a big heart. She is a proud member of the LAPD Cadets, an intern at Mosaic Lizard Theater, and loves outdoor activities, such as: swimming, windsurfing, soccer, and many more. When she tries to acheive something, she does it. Jailene says, "I love to explore and travel to places outside of Los Angeles. I think Italy will be a great opportunity for me because I will learn a different culture, a different way of living and seeing things."
Catherine (16) is the kind of girl who always puts her best foot forward. She is a good friend to others, and curious about the world. As the older sister of my student Jailene, we will need her along to keep her little sister in line. I am excited for them to be able to share the memories of this trip forever. Catherine says, "I want to go to Italy because I have never gone outside of Los Angeles. I want to see life outside of my neighborhood."
Joanna (16) is the reason we started this trip. She is a respectful, chance-taking girl who fights for her dreams! She is frequently mistken for an adult because of her eloquence and professional approach to speaking. There is nothing more she wants in life than to travel. I could see her taking over the tour guide position when we get to Italy. Joanna says, "The reason I am most excited to go to Italy is that I want to discover more of what is out there in the world. I want to have a goal in life to strive for, and not give up. I want to be proud that we made this happen."
Diana (16) is a creative soul with a big heart. She recognizes the simple beauty in the world and captures it on paper. I would definitely request a copy of her travel journal when she returns. Diana was very honest to say, "I am a young girl who makes mistakes and grows every single day. I do my best. I look forward to Italy, to see life from a different perspective and continue learning even across the world."
Kate (14) finds humor in everything around her. Her laughter is contagious and warms the classroom on rough days. The oldest of five children; she is smart, curious, and presents herself with confidence. She is an intern at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital and on her way to reaching her goal of becoming a neonatal nurse. Kate says, "I want to try pizza and gelato from every place we go. I want to meet new people, make new friends. I want to learn some Italian so I can communicate with others while I'm there."
Sonia (15) is last but not least. She brings laughter to my class every day with her one-of-a-kind sense of humor. She recognizes the little moments for humor and isn't afraid to laugh at herself. She works hard, and when she says she will do something, she does it. Sonia says, "I am Sonia, obviously. I think what I am most excited for in Italy is meeting new people. That, and seeing things that I've never seen before."
The Simple Breakdown
- A ten day trip to Italy for ten students.
- Total cost of the trip is $35,000. The girls will be raising a significant portion for themselves. We need to raise $20,000 on this site by February.
- To show our thanks our students will give you personalized gifts, including handwritten letters, artwork, and mementos from their trip to Italy.
- If we do not reach our goal in time for the February deadline, the trip will be deferred until the following spring, and we will transfer your donation to next year’s trip. We are hoping we will make it this year though!
- Most importantly, your donation will help give these girls a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are not able to donate at this time, but still would like to help us out, please, please, please send this page to anyone you know who might like to donate!
Also, if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation, please contact Ariana Ceballos at email@example.com.
As the Italians would say, "Grazie Mille!"