THE Foundation for LVUSD
Supports the School District Through Virtual Events
By Nicola Galassi, Board Member: THE Foundation for Las Virgenes Schools and LVUSD Parent Volunteer
No one could have predicted this unprecedented and historic year. As the Las Virgenes School District (LVUSD) was coming out of a year of budget cuts in 2019, the pandemic hit families, students, and our school district hard.
The response was an immediate pivot by our administration, teachers, and staff to ensure that the students of the LVUSD had plans in place to maintain a sense of structure, organization, and community.
LVUSD staff (who also were dealing with the same fears and anxiety of this new virus) wasted no time as they immediately put plans in place to ensure children were back in virtual classrooms on Zoom, connecting socially with friends and classmates while calming the many emotions that came along with what was happening in our world.
At the same time, the parent volunteers at THE Foundation for Las Virgenes Schools were knee deep in planning the first-ever ‘Rock the District’ summer fundraiser, which was to be a more informal rock-and-roll reinvention of the annual ‘THE Event’ (a red-carpet fundraiser supported each year by local vendors and merchants, organized by THE Foundation for LVS).
But when COVID quickly had the world of live events shut down and bars and restaurants closed indefinitely, so did the year of fundraising and fun family activities, typically hosted by THE Foundation each year.
“We listened to the families and students in our Las Virgenes community and really felt the need to find ways to keep everyone feeling connected,” notes Jeannie Abraham, president of THE Foundation for LVS. “So, our board continued to meet to find ways to host events in a new digital format, not so much focused on fundraising but more about ensuring our LVS families felt the sense of community to be able to attend something fun with their kids, see familiar faces, and be entertained.“
THE Foundation took this opportunity to go virtual for the first time, hosting its first digital event, Comedy Live. The event was successfully live-streamed on YouTube and showcased incredible comic talents, all of whom donated their time to get the district truly laughing out loud. The night, headlined by NBC’s Vargus Mason and hosted by LVUSD dad and comedian Adam Freeman, was the first of its kind for THE Foundation and opened the ‘virtual door’ for more as feedback was so positive! Find Adam on at Facebook Adam Freeman Comedy.
This led to a fully interactive, family-focused ‘Holiday Magic’ virtual event, where our incredible host and magician Jonathan Levit (cybermagicshow.com) wowed the sold-out audience with visual illusions and magic that still have audiences shaking their heads in awe.
With continued demand for entertainment and community connection, THE Foundation partnered with local Sommelier Jonathan Rosenson of Coquelicot Wines (coquelicotwines.com), hosting an educational and extremely fun, virtual, wine-tasting evening event. Families gathered on Zoom with their beautiful pre-ordered wine-tasting kits and were immersed into the wine-maker’s journey with spirited stories and anecdotes that had everyone laughing and connected as if they were all together in one room. Needless to say, THE Foundation for LVS’s board and volunteers truly did their part to instill a sense of community and togetherness through a year riddled with challenges for all.
As we move into yet another new back-to-school season with additional safety measures in place, THE Foundation continues to build on bringing our families together to celebrate resilience in our children.
Pending any significant changes, THE Carnival is back, scheduled for October 22 through 24, where we hope to see families together again for some much-needed in-person fun. Please mark your calendars and check the website for updates at thefoundationlvs.org. In addition, please join us live in person at The Six in Calabasas Thursday, September 30th, 7pm at Comedy for a Cause, generously hosted and presented by Adam Freeman, Subculture Comedy. Tickets available via Eventbrite at eventbrite.com (just search ’Subculture Comedy’) with proceeds coming back to our schools and THE Foundation for LVS.
Last but not least, as THE Foundation continues to support our local schools and families, a huge thank you to every parent, business leader, and community member who met the challenge to Save Our Schools through the 2020/2021 academic year. Thanks to donations and government supported COVID-relief funding, LVUSD is thrilled to be implementing a strategic plan for the 2021/2022 school year, providing targeted class-size reduction in secondary schools, centralized STEAM education for elementary students, full-time library and media centers across the district, and increased mental and academic support, all needed more than ever.
Dr. Dan Stepenosky, superintendent, LVUSD shares, “We’re very excited to have our students back full-time, in-person, and on our campuses, Wednesday, August 18. Nothing beats the energy of a campus full of students with staff supporting their learning and growth every day and every moment. We have many new and exciting additions for the coming year: full-time counselors at each elementary school, full-time art and music specialists at our schools to support our students’ engagement with the arts, added days of instruction, significant investments in technology upgrades, expanding the Counseling Center, and significant expansion of our Independent Study program (LVIS) that provides families with a highly structured, virtual learning environment. If you need more information, visit lvusd.org or call us at 818.880.4000. See you all soon!”
While it’s vital to support our individual schools directly, they are not allowed to directly fund many critical expenses, such as teachers and counselors. This is why in 2010 a group of volunteer parents from across the district created T.H.E. Foundation for Las Virgenes Schools: Together Helping Education. Together, we can make LVUSD stronger than ever. If you would like to do more, volunteer, have ideas, or donate, please contact us with any questions via our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. THE Foundation is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization, Tax ID#27-4870865.
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