Author: kellym


JKL Students Give Back During the Holiday Season

Our JKL students from Fremont High School in Los Angeles put on a community service event appreciating the essential workers in their schools.

Students safely put together goodie bags and constructed “Thank You” posters and cards for the cafeteria workers who provide food to the community. Goodie bags were delivered to the food workers from LAUSD at Fremont High School in appreciation for all of the hard work that they do for our community.

This idea was sparked during a gratitude zoom session when one of the students talked about how thankful she was to our cafeteria workers who she felt were not recognized for being out in the front lines during the COVID closures. She explained how they provided her family food every day during the lockdown. She talked about how although they have masks on they are very welcoming and always make sure they give her family enough meals, even for her parents.

Our JKL program at East Laurens High School in Dublin honored 4 of their staff members who have served our country by planning a Veterans Day reception at East Laurens High School.

It was important for the Veterans to know how deeply appreciated they are for the sacrifices they have made in their lives to keep our country free. Students decorated each of the staff member’s classroom doors at school and Jaylen, who is one of the JKL members, wrote a poem in their honor.

After decorating the doors, the students invited the four staff members to join their JKL session to share stories and include them in the gratitude circle where all 4 were thanked for their service and sacrifice.

Get Lit With Greenlighter Gear

We hope you loved j.k. livin Founder Matthew McConaughey’s memoir and #1 New York Times Bestseller, Greenlights, as much as we did!

Now you can rock your own personal “Greenlighter” gear, as Matthew calls it, as “a reminder and inspiration to create greenlights in this life for yourself and others, so we can all get lit and just keep livin.” Count us in! For T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, koozies and more, visit www.shopgreenlights.com!

The Kevin Love Fund Donates Face Masks to jkl Students

The Kevin Love Fund, through their community partner organization, Cover or Covid, generously provided 2500 masks to just keep livin students in Cleveland to help keep them safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were thrilled to receive these high-quality, comfortable masks to distribute to our students at John Adams and Glenville high schools along with their families. Our John Adams students in particular found that these masks came in handy when they volunteered their time packaging Halloween treat bags to distribute to children in need at the Earl B. Turner Community Center.

We love the circle of giving that this mask donation was able to facilitate! The Kevin Love Fund, which generously sponsors one of our just keep livin afterschool programs in Cleveland, has a mission to inspire people to live their healthiest lives while providing the tools to achieve physical and emotional well-being. They recently partnered with the local nonprofit, Cover of Covid, which works to ensure the availability of excellent quality, reusable cloth masks to those in need. We’re so grateful to have been selected as the beneficiary of this mask donation and we look forward to continuing to work with both organizations in the future!

WWE Superstar R-Truth Shares His Truth with jkl Students

just keep livin students and staff tuned in for a very special virtual visit from famed WWE Superstar, R-Truth.

Having been wrestling for over 20 years, R-Truth really opened up to JKL students, sharing his personal story – from his humble beginnings heading down a dangerous path that included jail time for selling drugs, to finding enduring success as a wrestler at the WWE, where he is the current 24/7 Champion in his record 42nd reign.

We had over 100 students and staff join the conversation, some of them even proudly showing off their own R-Truth action figures! They were treated to countless words of wisdom, such as “I had to be my own cheerleader,” “we can move mountains as individuals,” and “your voice is the most important thing you have.” From being a devoted father, to rapping, to his surprising hobby of flying kites, R-Truth seems to do it all.

He emphasized the importance of voting, gave students advice on how to pursue their dreams, and credited his faith and belief in himself for his longevity. When asked about the importance of setting goals, he said “Setting goals gives you ambition. It’s like the dynamite stick you light. You have to plan something before you can execute.” We want to sincerely thank R-Truth, as well as the WWE who sponsors our JKL program at Learning Works Charter, for giving our students this terrific opportunity!

Matthew and Dr. Fauci Talk Shop

Our Founder, Matthew McConaughey recently interviewed the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci to discuss the coronavirus on his Instagram LIVE.

Matthew had the chance to ask Dr. Fauci questions about the virus and he received several scientific answers to help create a road map for all of us as we continue to try and move forward during these challenging times. There were some great key takeaways from the talk and you can listen to them here.

We are so proud that Matthew is always finding ways to help others. We appreciate Matthew and Dr. Fauci taking the time to continue to educate us through this pandemic. Taking care of yourself is taking care of others! The discussion ended on a hopeful note, with Matthew noting, “We can have our freedom and our party later. Right now, let’s pull together.”

Our plan for Virtual Programming this Fall

When COVID-19 hit and schools started to close, we immediately jumped into action, starting with raising funds to provide the communities we serve with (over 35,000!) meals and (700) computers in order to help meet some of our students’ most immediate needs.

We then began holding virtual JKL programming – through Zoom and Instagram LIVE – to help our students stay active, healthy and maintain a sense of community while they are isolated in their homes.

We hosted yoga sessions, calisthenics workouts, and hip hop classes, and featured healthy recipe demonstration videos. We held virtual guest speaker sessions with everyone from clinical psychologists sharing coping tips to NBA player, Kevin Love, talking to our students about how to stay motivated at home. We’ve been providing resources such as access to free online workouts, meditation playlists, and breathing videos. We’re proud to say that student participation increased by 77% from April to May!

Many of our new systems have in fact worked so well that we feel confident that we’ve now developed a successful model for program continuity in the virtual realm and we are 100% committed to bringing fresh JKL programming to our students at the start of this school year, no matter what.

We’re committed to continuing to provide our students with quality, consistent video content so they can remain engaged with JKL on a deeper level. To that end, we’ve decided to hold virtual nationwide JKL sessions in addition to each school/program’s individual JKL programming calendar. These new offerings will remain in place even if/when we resume regular programming. We’re also going to record each of these sessions and store the videos in our teacher resource folder so all of our teachers can access the content to share with their students anytime, if they cannot attend the live session.

Additionally, we are working on development of a JKL app to make our curriculum more accessible and to help unite the JKL student community nationwide.

Below is our current “Virtual Schedule” of offerings for the Fall, in addition to the curriculum the individual program will be providing for their students:

FITNESS:

  • Workouts on 2nd and 4th week of each month on Wednesdays
  • Workouts will feature JKL Program Manager (and Hip Hop Dance Instructor) Leon Clayborne, Various JKL instructors and Alumni including Coach Nasara from Morse High School in San Diego, JKL Fitness Expert Brendan Cosso leading Calisthenics Workouts, Yoga Sessions from Kirschen Katz and potentially from The Tree South LA

GUEST SPEAKERS:

  • 3rd week of every month whatever day suites the speaker for that week
  • First guest speaker will be Thursday, September 17th: Raphael Ortiz – National Co-Captain of the Black Men Run Organization. A running group that is all about creating a healthy brotherhood amongst African American males, but all are welcomed.
  • Calendar set through December. October’s speaker will focus on VOTING. November’s guest speaker is an immigrant from India who received his citizenship with the help of John Lewis whom he had met in D.C. December’s guest speaker is a therapist who will share tips to help cope with stress and anxiety.

NUTRITION:

  • Tips on Tuesdays, LIVE Recipe Demo Sessions featuring nutritionists and chefs, as well as video recordings in the Teacher Resource Folder

MENTAL HEALTH MONDAYS:

  • Last Monday of each month except December due to the holiday (our guest speaker for December will be a therapist to make up for the missed session) – we will hold Zoom sessions with licensed therapists to help promote mental health
  • In addition to the live zoom there will be a 5 minute prerecorded wellness tip each month as well.

Virtual Community Service Ideas:

  • Make cards for nurses, doctors, EMT, firefighters on the front lines
  • Help students become pen pals (virtual or through letters) with the elderly
  • Students to participate in virtual voter registration drives

JKL Teacher Spotlight

Meet Cameron David, one of our amazing instructors from the JKL Program at Venice High School in Los Angeles! He has been busy this summer turning his passion for hiking into a soon to be nonprofit organization.

Cameron explains, “I started hiking years ago to get away from the city and work on my mental health and hiking helped me. When you are submerged in nature you are forced to be with yourself”. Cameron established “The Noir Nature Guide” after getting an overwhelming response from people who were curious about the hikes after he would post about them on social media.

The requests eventually turned into the Noir Nature Guide, a guided tour through the many mountains and trails in Southern California. The trips also include ice breakers, physical warmups, lunch, local history lessons and gratitude circles. You can catch Cameron leading 2-3 guided hikes a month. Be sure to check him out at @thee_noirnatureguide for more information.

JKL Partners with Homeboy Industries

We’re excited to be in the middle our pilot program with Homeboy Industries, helping to reach more than 40 of their youth members for a 6 week long summer program.

We have been offering virtual, free classes to their members featuring all aspects of our JKL curriculum, including yoga sessions, calisthenics classes, hip hop classes, nutrition demos and tips on managing anxiety.

Homeboy Industries’ overarching goal is to see individuals heal from trauma. Over their 30-year history, they have seen time and time again the way that new experiences outside of the neighborhood help their program participants along their journey of healing. For most justice-involved and gang-involved youth that they’ve worked with, we know summer to be a particularly vulnerable time for street violence in the absence of access to what some kids experience as typical summer opportunities.

Homeboy leaders lead a variety of experiences throughout the year for program participants to experience life outside of their trauma and their neighborhoods. They aim to provide opportunities to learn in spaces one has not experienced before, to find serenity in spaces of nature, to process and reflect surrounded by beauty and art, and to grow confidence and imagination while in kinship and community with other participants. 

We are proud to be partnering with such an amazing organization.

In Case You Missed It…

We are so excited that our founders Camila and Matthew McConaughey were included in Town & Country Magazine’s Philanthropy Summit with a mission to spread hope, celebrate heroism, and better the world by effecting positive change!

We are so grateful to everyone who tuned in and so proud to share our 360 approach to our JKL afterschool fitness and wellness program, providing a safe place for our youth where they can learn the tools for a better life. During the summit, our very own Program Manager, Leon Clayborne had a great conversation with JKL Alum from Animo Inglewood Charter High School in Los Angeles, Maria Gutierrez Watson!

Maria was recently featured in Town and Country’s Philanthropy Issue alongside Matthew and Camila. She has since graduated from UCLA and is now a teacher in Chicago. We are so touched to have had the opportunity to share the incredible work of our foundation and so proud of Maria for all of her accomplishments!

Click Here to Watch 

JKL Students Make History

Congrats to the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of Landry-Walker High School!

We are so excited to announce that our JKL Graduates from Landry-Walker High School in New Orleans, Keisean Garnier and Shane Sterling, have made history on campus as the first male students to graduate from their school as Valedictorian and Salutatorian!

Keisean and Shane are cousins who have been inseparable since birth. They consider themselves to be best friends who have always push each other to succeed in school and reach their greatest potential.

Shane explains, “Being cousins and the top two of our class is an honor because of the rarity of the feat. We never thought that we would make history in the Landry-Walker books, but I’m glad that we could set the foundation for more young men to graduate at the top of their class. I’m fortunate for this milestone and very thankful to God for guiding us through our high school journey.”

We are beyond proud of Keisean and Shane for their impressive accomplishments! It was an honor to watch them grow in the just keep livin program at Landry-Walker High School, sponsored by Brittany and Drew Brees’ Brees Dream Foundation, and we look forward to seeing what the future has in store for them both!