At Illuminate Education, we really do try and put our time and money where our heart is. Not everyone starts out with the exact same opportunities in education - or in life. And so we get excited when we can find ways to help in our own little way. Below are a few of the projects that Illuminators have brought forward and other team members have jumped on.
Tutoring in Santa Ana, CA
The Lighthouse Community Center in Santa Ana, CA offers after school tutoring to children. Santa Ana is one of the densest cities in the United States with nearly 12,000 people per square mile, which is 150 times the national average. We know that poverty and overcrowding can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. We have about 25 Illuminators (including employee number one) that leave work early to provide neighborhood kids help on their homework. The mission of Lighthouse Community Center is to catalyze engagement by equipping community leaders and volunteers to help break the cycles of poverty. We love that and feel blessed to be able to help in their mission.
Building Homes in Tijuana, Mexico
Although many primarily think of Tijuana as a fun first stop across the border from California, it’s also place that has a great need for homes and schools in the local community. The Illuminate team of 10 partnered with Kingdom Builders to build a home for a family who could not otherwise afford one. Starting with an existing foundation, we spent the weekend framing and erecting up the walls and then the roof. We built a house in two days! (Lots of passionate overachievers here.)
We also raised funds to help the local church purchase a brand new taxi so the church will be able to fund their breakfast and lunch program for the kids at school. The next project in Tijuana is to purchase and set up a computer lab which would be an internet cafe for the community. This internet cafe would be a self-sustaining funding source to feed the kids at the neighborhood school.
Helping Schools in the Congo
In many parts of the world, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, education is not free. To help address that issue, we are partnering with Africa New Day in the city of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africa New Day raises funds from donors to help sponsor children and pay their school tuition. But now they are going one step further and building a new school in Goma - and we’re excited to lend a hand. We will be hosting sessions to train teachers as well as working with the kids in art, sports and other activities. In addition, we will be raising money to fund projects the school needs to be self sustaining. That way, even more children can get a free education.
Holiday Giving in Inglewood
At Illuminate, our employees and our schools are our family. And the holidays are all about family! Tiffany Rudek, the Chief Academic Officer at Inglewood Unified School District, made us aware of a number of homeless students who likely wouldn’t be getting any gifts for Christmas. Enter Project Illuminate Secret Santa! Illuminators took the list of more than 85 children and went shopping to try and make the holidays a little brighter for his/her adopted child. Packing up all the wrapped gifts and driving them over to Inglewood made our team as giddy as Santa on Dec 24th.
Support the Arts in Anaheim
As we were incorporating artwork into our office space here at Illuminate Education, we decided what better way to remind the team of the tie between education and art than by having an entire display of artwork created by some of the students we reach with our product. We partnered with Christine Johnson at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California to donate art supplies for her class. Christine's junior and senior art students created some truly inspiring artwork! Some people talk about ROI (Return on Investment). We believe in Return on ART!
Children caught in conflict deserve access to great schools and teachers. That’s why Illuminate Education is partnering with Partners Relief & Development in Burma. The organization works in Southeast Asia where decades of war have displaced over half a million people. The regional conflict has also led to basics like education being out of reach for many children. Illuminate has teamed up to help. We’re supporting staff in Burma through direct financial contributions and will be working to help build capacity around the organization’s educational model, such as stronger professional development for teachers and support around the latest in data and technology for education.