Los Angeles Mission Stages End of Summer Arts and Education Fair

August 27, 2016 (Los Angeles, CA.) Children are the littlest victims of homelessness. They never asked to be born into this. The unimaginable difficulty of living in the extreme poverty of Skid Row is their everyday reality.

To help these children and their families cope with providing back to school necessities, the Los Angeles Mission assembled a coalition of sponsors, supporters and volunteers to give them a little creative fun along with a backpack full of school supplies. U.S. Bank, through a generous contribution from its newly launched Community Possible program, helped make art and education a reality for those in need.

U.S. Bank provided an activity tent, to open up the visual arts to children. Each child got the opportunity to escape into a colorful world of artistic self-expression. They created customized piggy banks and money pouches while learning about saving money. Creative activity is often a way for little ones to channel life experiences into art. Dozens of U.S. Bank volunteers also worked closely with the children to make a collective mural to share with the community.

As many as 1,500 children received backpacks full of school supplies and other goodies at the Mission’s Annual End of Summer Art and Education Fair.

“We are here to give these children some actual fun,” says Herb Smith, president of the Los Angeles Mission. “But there is a serious-minded purpose behind this back to school event. We want to encourage these children to insist on going to school. Through no fault of their own, little children suffer the consequences when their parents find themselves without a home. This event can help kids to focus on what they can learn instead of what they don’t have.

“Sparking an interest in self-expression is an important aspect of every child’s education. We also hope that these art experiences will serve to ignite both their curiosity and their love for learning,” Smith explains.”

Los Angeles Unified School District identifies nearly 20,000 students as homeless. Often, these children come to school without the necessary supplies. The supporters of the Los Angeles Mission want to give each child the chance to be equipped with what they need for school.

“School attendance is a key predictor of success in life. We want the best for these little ones. So this annual event has come to mean a lot to the Los Angeles Mission. And, for the past 16 years,” says Herb Smith. “We have been thrilled to be able to create an enjoyable day for these families.”

”At U.S. Bank, we invest our time, resources and passion to build and support vibrant communities that allow every person to work toward their possible,” said Rudy Medina, market president for U.S. Bank in Southern California. “Our corporate giving and volunteer program is called Community Possible. It focuses on the areas of work, home and play. Supporting the Los Angeles Mission’s Back to School program is part of our play pillar, and we are proud to be part of what makes this community connected through culture, recreation and play.”

Several thousand backpacks full of schools supplies were handed out to school-aged children on Saturday. The day’s festivities were the result of a cooperative effort made by nonprofits, businesses and people who have a heart for children and families. They have all worked hard to put their money where their mouths are by giving these kids the chance they need.

In order transform the mean streets into a safe place to play, the Los Angeles Mission closed 5th Street in front of the Mission. Inflatable bounce houses, giant slides, and kid-friendly games and crafts, along with a dunk tank, are set up for the kids to enjoy. The goal is nothing less than giving some fun to kids who don’t get the chance to have very much fun. And, it is an exceptional, life-giving experience for those who volunteer.

For 80 years, the Los Angeles Mission has been helping the addicted and the poor who find themselves at the end of the road in the Skid Row area. What started as a soup kitchen in the Great Depression in 1936 continues to serve the newly needy in 2016.

The Mission is grateful for the substantial financial support provided by U.S. Bank. Their generous support has made this event possible.

All school-aged children from age 4 to 17 were eligible to receive the tools for school in a new backpack. Supplies included pencils, notebooks, crayons, erasers, folders and arts & craft items. All of the items that fill the children’s backpacks are donated.

The American Bag Design, Inc. provided the backpacks for the event. Great Commission Church International came forward to donate the school supplies this year.

In addition, Office Depot provided sack packs full of a variety of back-to-school items. These were given out with the backpacks. Green Ink Press provided financial support for the event. Water was provided by Mountain Valley Spring Water.

The Los Angeles Christian Health Centers provided kid-friendly information on diet and exercise.

Los Angeles United School District’s Homeless Education Program staff helped families with information on assistance available, and the Los Angeles Police Department had representatives on hand with community education for families.

Celebrity volunteers are always a big part of any Los Angeles Mission event. Once again this year, celebrities worked their magic to make sure that everyone had a good time. They made sure that Block Party participants enjoyed the thousands of tasty L.A. food truck meals from: In-N-Out Burger, King Taco and the Los Angeles Mission kitchen. Everyone’s favorite foods (burgers, tacos and pizza) were served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Several hundred volunteers from all over the greater Los Angeles area gave of their time to help keep the emphasis on fun for the kids. Tens of thousands of volunteer hours are given by the many thousands of Mission volunteers each and every year.

The famous “Nickel” – the name that Fifth Street has had ever since the Mission was founded back in the 1930’s – was closed to automobile traffic by 6:00 AM. Vehicular traffic was re-routed around the street between Wall and San Pedro. Street party set up began in the early hours of Saturday morning. In the early morning hours, families started arriving to get in line. Everyone wants to get there early so they can enjoy the food, the fun and games before collecting the school supplies and backpacks for their children.

About U.S. Bank
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), with $438 billion in assets as of June 30, 2016, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. The Company operates 3,122 banking offices in 25 states and 4,923 ATMs and provides a comprehensive line of banking, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at www.usbank.com.
About Community Possible
Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of work, home and play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through culture, recreation and play. Philanthropic support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate giving program reached $53 million in 2015. Visit www.usbank.com/community or #communitypossible.
American Airlines is the official airline of the Los Angeles Mission
About American Airlines Group
American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.
About the Los Angeles Mission
For 80 years, the Los Angeles Mission has served those men and women who find themselves homeless in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. The Mission provides needed emergency services such as shelter, food and clothing. In addition, the Los Angeles Mission also offers long-term residential rehabilitation programs, including education, job training, transitional housing and counseling. Go to www.losangelesmission.org to learn more about the Los Angeles Mission.