Last year, Litzy Bautista was talking to a friend who attends Culver City high school and is part of this great program, Girls Build LA. Girls Build LA is the local chapter of the organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama that challenges public middle and high school girls to make a difference in their communities and to make sure their voices are heard by their elected leaders. The organization sponsored an event held at the Galen Center this year to help girls pre-register to vote, and Uni was able to send 150 11thand 12thgrade girls to participate.
When Litzy heard that schools could have their own chapter of Girls Build, she wondered why we didn’t have that here at Uni. With the encouragement of her friend, she decided to make that happen. In February, along with other girls interested in making a difference in their community, Litzy began the process of applying for a grant from the Promise Fund in order to bring the program to Uni. With Ms. Phear as their sponsor, the girls looked at how they could engage in advocacy, increase college access, and address issues of health and wellness here at Uni. Part of the application process included filming a video to explain what they would do for their community if they were recipients of the grant.
This October, they were one of the groups awarded $500 by the Promise Fund to make a difference. They are particularly interested in showing how health and wellness are about more than just the food you eat or how much exercise you get. After deciding to focus on the connections between overall health and mental health and the environment, they began programs at Uni and three elementary schools in the area. They will be hosting composting lessons to teach students how they can take care of their environment. To help seniors succeed in college and reduce stress as they head off to a host of new challenges, they are hosting financial lessons to help these soon-to-be adults get a better understanding of what they will need to do to manage their money once they enter college.
They have several other projects in the works, including a wellness room with coloring books and art supplies. It will be a place where students can go to take a breath when they are struggling with and access peer mediation if needed. For fun, they will be holding some pep rallies to help students relieve stress with some fun exercise and music from Disney and High School Musical to remind everyone it’s good to just be happy and release a few endorphins.