January 2021 Newsletter
It is once again the time of year when we reflect on the work the just keep livin Foundation has done, the impact we have made and the goals we have for the upcoming year. It goes without saying that 2020 was a year unlike any other, and like all of you, we have worked hard to adapt and pivot. We are proud of the ways we have continued to serve our students and teachers throughout the country during a time when they’ve needed us more than ever.
We do not do this work alone. Led by our Foundation Staff, Board of Directors and Advisory Board, and our incredible teachers, and supported by our corporate partners and individual donors, we were able to serve 3,000 high school students at 39 programs in 13 cities this year. As we come to the end of 2020, we wanted to thank you for your continued support of our mission of empowering high school students to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future.
When COVID-19 first led to school closures back in March, we began fundraising to address two urgent community needs: meals and access to technology. Working with organizations such as Green Dot Public Schools, LAUSD, Boys & Girls Club and No Kid Hungry, and thanks to generous donations from our supporters, we were able to raise $300,000 to provide 35,000 meals and 700 computers to students in need.
As the pandemic has continued, we have been able to develop effective communication strategies to stay connected with our students and to continue to provide them with the programming and support they need. We’ve held online yoga sessions, calisthenics workouts, healthy recipe demonstration videos, and hosted virtual guest speakers who have inspired and encouraged our students as well as provided them with the tools they need to nurture their mental health. Through it all, our students have continued to give back to their communities in safe ways, such as participating in virtual voter registration drives and writing notes of encouragement to essential workers.
We thank you for your dedication and passion for what we do to help make all of this possible. Cheers to a brighter and healthier 2021 for us all.
just keep livin,
Camila and Matthew McConaughey
Student Spotlight: Perla, Fremont High School
Perla graduated from Fremont High School in 2017. In addition to being a member of just keep livin program, Perla also was a letterwinner in soccer, volleyball and track.
Currently she is attending University of Nebraska at Kearney. (UNK) where she is a Junior majoring in Sociology and playing soccer. Prior to transferring to UNK, Perla attended East Los Angeles College for two years where she helped the Huskies win eight games and tie 11 others over the 2018-2019 season for soccer.
Perla was twice named All-South Coast Conference North Division and the the SCC North Division in goals (18) in 2018.
John Adams Gives Back During the Holidays
The JKL program at John Adams College and Career donated food to families in need for Thanksgiving.
Families received baskets with food to prepare for the holidays and could pick a ham or turkey to add to their basket. In addition, on that Wednesday, the program also purchased hot food for two families of JACCA students who needed help for Thanksgiving.
The two families received chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a cookie tray for dessert. They did not know they were receiving anything and it was wonderful to see the smiles it brought and to hear how grateful they were that the JKL program thought of them during the holidays.
Waboba Helps “Keep Life Fun” for JKL Students
JKL Students at Longview High School in Texas and East Laurens High School in Georgia recently received special deliveries that certainly helped them “keep life fun,” which is the mission of Waboba, a Swedish company committed to creating unique, fun products that change the way you play.
They gifted our students at these two schools (our only JKL programs that, due to local and school regulations, are allowed to meet in-person) with items including their famous “Moon Balls,” Moon Cracket Set, LED Flyers, and more.
Waboba’s mission is backed by a team of researchers that has determined that children and adults should play at least once a day to experience an improvement in mood and general well-being. Now that’s a philosophy we can get behind! Our students had a blast trying out their new gear, and working up a sweat at the same time! Thank you Waboba for your generous donation!
Athletes That Care Donates Backpacks to JKL Students
Students in our JKL program at Longview High School in Texas were thrilled to receive brand new backpacks thanks to a generous donation from the Athletes That Care group out of Diana, Texas.
Athletes That Care is a small service organization based at New Diana High School. It was formed a few years ago by some students with a very determined mother at their side to support their efforts. Mrs. Lori James (mother/leader) and her daughter LiAnn James, a junior at New Diana High, were kind enough to share their hard work and dedication with our JKL kids.
This organization was started with the goal of helping foster kids and underprivileged kids with basic needs and they are now they are reaching out to area schools seeking to support any kid in need. They’ve distributed over 1,000 new bags so far, and we are honored to partner with them!
Camila’s Tips: Brazilian Rice
5 cups rice (cooked according to package directions)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup carrots (diced)
1 cup golden raisins (chopped)
1 cup dried plums (or to taste) (chopped)
1 cup chopped green apple (diced)
Olive oil and salt (as needed)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 15oz can diced tomatoes(drained)
1 cup ham (chopped)
1 cup frozen peas (room temperature)
1 15oz can hearts of palm (drained and chopped)
1/2 cup green olives (sliced)
2 cups mozzarella (shredded)
1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Melt butter in a stockpot. Add carrots, raisins, plums and apple. Cook over medium heat until mixture is golden brown and begins to soften.
4. In a large sauté pan, place a little oil, and the onion and 3 generous pinches of salt. Cook until translucent. Add tomatoes, ham, peas, hearts of palm, and olives. Sauté for a few minutes and season to taste.
5. In a baking dish, place a layer of rice, then half the fruit mixture, then half of the ham mixture on top. Continue layering, finishing with the rice, and topping with cheese.
6. Bake until cheese melts and serve.
Swag of the Month: JKL Beanie
A great home for your dome. Pairs well with the camo sweatshirt!