Tuesday, November 29, 2016  


Dear Friends,

This holiday season, I write to say thank you. Your support has allowed us to engage with over 11,000 students – just last year alone – in Los Angeles’ public schools, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. This past June we saw our highest graduation rate to date: 93% of our students who began our program as freshmen – those considered most at-risk of dropping out – graduated and 74% of those students had plans to attend college.  Our program works – and your investment in children’s lives continues to yield results.

Now more than ever, we need you to continue investing in our city’s most vulnerable youth. Following the election a couple of weeks ago, our students came to school scared about how potential policy changes may impact their lives. Will their parents be deported? Will they lose their health insurance? We remain committed to doing what we have always done, but with a renewed sense of urgency: surrounding students with the resources they need to achieve their greatest potential.

I would like to share a story about Kevin. When Kevin was a 6th grader at Mark Twain Middle School, he was recognized by teachers as a hard worker, but nevertheless struggled academically. The school counselor connected Kevin to Ms. Turner, the CIS Site Coordinator at Mark Twain. Ms. Turner quickly understood that his quiet demeanor often caused him to be overlooked in class and, as a result, he wasn’t getting the academic support he needed to succeed. Recognizing how this was holding him back, Ms. Turner encouraged Kevin to enroll in CIS’s tutoring program. In this more individualized setting, he received the support he needed to improve his grades. By the end of 7th grade, his confidence had grown and so had his level of comfort in knowing how to ask for help. In 8th grade, he enrolled in CIS’s Male Mentorship program, which helped him gain confidence in public speaking. By the end of his 8th grade year, data showed increased motivation and valuing of his education. Kevin passed 8th grade, achieving Bs and Cs on his report card.

Building confidence, increasing motivation, and learning the value of school are not only skills that helped Kevin successfully move onto high school, they are skills that will be critical to his continued success. They keep on giving. When you renew your support for students like Kevin, you can be confident knowing that your gift has an immediate impact, but also extends far beyond today, arming students with skills, opportunities, and resources that have life-long dividends. Your investment is truly the “Give that Keeps on Giving.”

Every dollar you give helps give another student like Kevin a champion like Ms. Turner. Please consider supporting these students who will reach their full potential with your help. Will you join us again in empowering students?

Thank you for your consideration and warm wishes for a happy holiday season.

With gratitude,


Deborah Marcus