South Los Angeles Receives Transformative Promise Zone Designation

Councilman Curren Price extolls the virtues of the newly approved SLATE-Z Promise Zone on June 6.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti was on hand at Los Angeles Trade Technical College on June 6 to announce that South Los Angeles has won a federal Promise Zone designation.

The goal of Promise Zones, which were created by President Barack Obama in 2013, is to reduce poverty by creating a federal partnership with communities most in need.

The SLATE-Z (South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone) Promise Zone has been engineered by a coalition of 54 formal partners, including UCLA, and more than 50 additional allies. It is home to nearly 198,000 residents in parts of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhoods.

Continue reading

Project SPELL Graduation Shows UCLA’s Big Heart

UCLA employee Sonia Pichardo had plenty of support from her family during this year’s Project SPELL graduation celebration. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)

Student tutors and UCLA staff gathered June 3 for the Project SPELL Graduation and Tutor Appreciation Ceremony, celebrating a year of English as a second language (ESL) learning accomplishments.

Project SPELL is run by the UCLA Volunteer Center, helping connect student tutors and UCLA employees from Facilities Management and Housing and Hospitality Services Departments.

Program instruction develops knowledge in basic communication, literacy, workplace vocabulary and computer literacy.

 

Continue reading

UCLA mourns tragic shooting on campus

Students and community members hold up LED lights at vigil for Professor William Klug. (photo by Reed Hutchinson)

Two men died June 1 in an apparent murder-suicide in the Engineering IV building at UCLA. The shootings caused a campus-wide lockdown and resulted in canceled classes and evening activities.

“Our hearts are heavy this evening as our campus family mourns the sudden and tragic deaths of two people on our campus earlier today,” said Chancellor Gene Block in an email to the entire UCLA community. “The thoughts and prayers of our entire UCLA family are with the victims’ families and the students, faculty and staff of UCLA Engineering.

“Our UCLA family has indeed been shaken, but we will rely upon the strong bonds of our community and our faith in one another as we begin the process of healing.”

Continue reading

Veteran’s gift to help UCLA student vets cover funding gaps left by GI Bill

UCLA student veterans, who participated in the UCLA Warrior Games, gather. Nearly 100 undergraduate veterans at UCLA may benefit from a $1 million gift from the late William Steinmetz, a World War II veteran and UCLA alumnus.

With one quarter remaining until graduation, UCLA student veteran Michael Smith ran into a serious problem: Funding from his GI Bill ran dry because he didn’t complete his degree within the 36 months allotted by the bill. So the U.S. Air Force veteran of almost 10 years was forced to scramble to find the extra money to finish his degree.

Had money been available at that time from a just-announced $1 million gift that aims to help UCLA student veterans in this predicament, Smith would have been able to complete his degree without the added anxiety of raising funds.

“It would be a huge weight off a veteran’s shoulders not to have to worry about how you’re going to pay for school or housing — and just worry about studying,” Smith said.

Continue reading