Teacher Spotlight: Anthony Thomas
Mr. Thomas is a 3rd year Teacher/Instructor for the JKL at Animo South Los Angeles! He has played a major role in shifting the after school culture on the ASLA campus and has become a sought after teacher to collaborate with.
The passion and positive influence he displays to the students in the ASLA JKL program is unmatched. He is an ambassador for the gratitude circle and strives to keep it sacred in the program. He feels that the gratitude circle is essential in that it sets aside time for students to express their gratitude amongst their peers. Mr. Thomas’ passion for encouraging positivity among the students comes from his appreciation for life.
He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer at the age of 8 and has prevailed from the cancer since he was 12 years old. Says Mr. Thomas, “The purpose of my life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be moral, to be compassionate, and to be able to make some kind of difference because I have lived.” Mr. Thomas has contributed his time, energy and professional skill of photography to the JKL program and foundation. Many of our favorite pictures from our programs in action have come from his creative eye. We are fortunate to have Mr. Thomas on our j.k livin team leading the charge and impacting our JKL students here in Los Angeles!
Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation Event and Field Day
On Wednesday, September 13th, students in our Dallas area just keep livin Foundation programs got to experience a special treat, thanks to our longtime partner, the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.
Teens from Eastern Hills High School in Ft. Worth, L.G. Pinkston High School in Dallas, and Sam Houston High School in Arlington were brought to the Rangers Youth Ballpark for an afternoon of fitness and fun, complete with relay races and hula hoop games. In addition, the kids got to meet just keep livin Foundation Founder Matthew McConaughey who talked to them about the importance of trying to infuse life’s more mundane tasks such as homework and chores with a sense of pleasure and fun, to make them more bearable!
Congregating on the shaded bleachers to beat the Texas heat, the kids shared their favorite parts of the just keep livin program and had a great time getting to ask Matthew questions and even hear the story behind his famous phrase – “Alright Alright Alright.” The students were then brought over to Globe Life Park, where they watched the Rangers take on the Seattle Mariners.
One very lucky JKL student, Samiya Momhamed-Fawzy who has been in the program 3 years, even got to throw out the first pitch in the game, with some on-field support from Matthew! Thanks so much to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation for an amazing continued partnership and for always creating such special opportunities for our students! (Photo Credit: Kelly Gavin, Texas Rangers)
Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
We are thrilled to kick off the 2017-2018 school year and wish all of our JKL educators a successful year of programming! We continue to be in awe of the positive impact each of our teachers make.
As you all know, Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas Gulf area recently and wreaked havoc on many lives. The students of the Akins High School just keep livin program in Austin wanted to find a way to volunteer and help with the recovery efforts.
They decided to hold a Hurricane Harvey Relief Pet Supply Drive at their school to benefit Austin Pets Alive! Many animals were displaced during the hurricane and their local animal shelter anticipated on taking in hundreds of animals. So the Akins students opted to help with the growing need for pet-related items by collecting donations from the local community.
The students were able to collect cat litter, collars, tarps, dog treats, and bowls for feeding, and then take all donated items directly to A.P.A. for distribution. We love seeing our students join together with their local community to help those in need!
LADF College and Career Accelerator
Last month, two of our Los Angeles JKL programs, Fremont and Animo Inglewood, had the chance to attend the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation’s College and Career Accelerator Panel discussion. Our students had a great time hearing from the professional minds who make the Dodgers organization operate smoothly from behind the scenes.
The panel was moderated by Nichol Whiteman (Executive Director of LADF) and the panelists included Sara Curran (Assistant Controller), Doug Fearing (Director of Research and Development and Baseball Operations), Paige Kirkpatrick (Director of Partnership Sales Administration and Service), Matt Mesa (Manager of Social Media, Digital and Print Content), Lenora O’Keith (Desktop Technician) and Ross Yoshida (Director of Graphic Design and Marketing Communication).
The panelists gave firsthand information on what it takes to pursue a career in the sports industry. Internships were a common thread for all the panelists who stressed that obtaining an internship in the career that students are passionate about can pay off down the line. Some of the key takeaways the panelists expressed to our students were to be cautious of their social media presence, to be kind to those around them and to “go above and beyond the job you were hired for.”
The LADF did a great job assembling a top-notch panel and providing awesome door prizes, including field level tickets to the final regular season game, which one of our JKL students took home! We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation and providing more amazing opportunities for our JKL students.
Los Angeles Rams Game
On Sunday, September 10th, 105 of our just keep livin students and staff attended the home opener for the Los Angeles Rams! We are so grateful to the Los Angeles Rams Foundation for their generous donation of tickets to provide such a wonderful experience for our JKL students.
For many of our kids, this was their first time attending a professional football game. The smiles on the their faces were evidence of their excitement as they cheered the Rams to a 46-9 win. When we visited our local programs the week after the game, the students were still talking about their incredible experience and how much fun they had attending the game!
Sydney Paige Inc Donates 1,250 Backpacks to JKL Students
We want to give a huge thank you to Sydney Paige Inc. for their generous donation of 1,250 backpacks (many of them filled with school supplies as well!) to JKL students for the start of the new school year!
Sydney Paige’s mission is to promote the importance of education and enrich the life of a child in need while empowering those more fortunate to help break the cycle of poverty… one child at a time. For every product they sell, another is donated to a student in need, with the goal of giving under-served children the tools and confidence they need to learn and thrive in school.
We’re proud to be one of Sydney Paige’s “Giving Partners” that customers can choose to donate their “free” backpack to upon checkout. 1,250 backpacks exceeded our highest expectations for this partnership and we are so grateful to them for making this possible for our students nationwide! You can continue to support this ongoing campaign by purchasing a bag HERE and another gets filled with supplies & donated to a j.k. livin student!
JKL Store Opening
We hope you are just as excited as we are about the 2.0 version of the just keep livin store. You can start shopping immediately at justkeeplivin.com, and this is the ONLY place you can purchase official just keep livin products!
We are excited to be selling official JKL T-shirts, hats, other fun accessories, as well as a limited-edition hurricane relief T-Shirt. Our goal is to provide you with fresh options throughout the year, so please check back at the store often and send us your suggestions!
Last, but not least, don’t forget to send in pics of yourself sporting your new JKL gear for a chance to be featured on the site! Welcome (back) to the family, and remember, now times and all time, just keep livin!
Coaches Corner with Jenn Zerling
Click Here for a Total Body Workout in 5 Moves
In this workout you will challenge:
- Multi-plannar movements
- Compound movements that involve multiple muscles at once