UNITE-LA Today: A Reflection

A message from UNITE-LA President Alysia Bell:

With Thanksgiving approaching, I want to express gratitude for one of the many things for which I am thankful. Earlier this month, the UNITE-LA team came together with community partners, youth and their families for our first, in-person L.A. Cash for College fair since pre-pandemic. The energy was palpable and the team drove home with full hearts that day. I'm grateful for our partners who supported leading up to and on-site at the event, including leaders from institutions of education, business, community-based organizations, government, philanthropy, media and more. I'm grateful for our amazing staff, who put in late nights planning the event and an early morning start the day of the event. I’m grateful for the youth and families who spent their Saturday with us, with one participant describing the experience as "life changing." I'm grateful for all the leadership that preceded us, including our two legacy pioneers, Dr. Alma Salazar and Gary Toebben, who are the namesakes of the scholarships we had the honor of awarding. And I'm thrilled for the high school juniors, seniors and college students who each won a $1,500 scholarship, one of whom stayed after the ceremony to emphasize he "could not believe that he won." What an honor it is to work for UNITE-LA and alongside community partners. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving filled with gratitude, time with loved ones, and space for self-care and reflection.

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