On Saturday, December 2, United Parents and Students (UPAS), in conjunction with Green Dot Public Schools and an array of other organizations, hosted thousands of local parents, students, and community members at the fourth ForwardLA summit—an event intended to create an action-oriented space where the community can come together to address key issues that deeply affect local families and students. The summit, which took place at the heart of the city at LA Trade Technical College, engaged participants on six key issues: affordable housing, food deserts, clean communities, good jobs, immigration protections, and safe streets.
Several elected officials and influencers, including California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price, attended to share their thoughts on the issues through speeches and discussion panels. The summit also included breakout sessions where parents agreed on a set of demands and action plans to take to their local leaders in order to affect real change on the issues that affect them most.
For students, the event gave them a chance to witness change in action. “I learned a lot from today. It was my first time here and I like seeing my family, friends, and so many other Green Dot students coming here to talk about different issues—issues that really matter to us. Listening to our leaders and seeing all these people made me realize the power we have,” said a student of Ánimo Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School.
The summit is part of Green Dot’s larger vision to help all students prepare for college, leadership, and life. Its focus on cultivating the whole child in addition to its personalized learning practices and rigorous academic curriculum are all aimed at closing achievement gaps and giving all students a fair shot at long-term success. The summit is one way for Green Dot to acknowledge the daily realities that many families in LA face and to ensure that it looks out for its students inside and outside the classroom.
“This summit is really about empowering families. We understand that serving families and helping students achieve lifelong happiness and success encompasses more than what lies within the four walls of the classroom," said Larry Fondation, Executive Director of UPAS. "Issues that affect students outside school affect their ability to perform well and be happy in school. We want to take an active role helping address issues that affect quality of life for local students and families.”
Since Green Dot was founded in 2000, the schools have earned a reputation for fostering high achievement and success in all students. Green Dot Public Schools is widely recognized for its commitment to transforming low-performing schools into revitalized learning centers that offer students a small community environment, individual attention, and personalized support to ensure that all graduates leave Green Dot prepared for college, leadership, and life.