As the pandemic turns all of our lives upside down, there is particular concern of its ramifications on the most vulnerable in our society: children and youth.
On Thursday, January 28th, 2020, we had our first evening salon of the roaring 20’s on current issues affecting California’s Juvenile Justice system. Our group’s founder, Jackie Caster, introduced our informed and impactful guest speaker, Elizabeth Calvin. As a renowned attorney for Human Rights Watch, Elizabeth has spent much of her career at the forefront of the fight for our youth who have fallen victim to unfortunate circumstances, the often-blind hand of justice, and a system that sometimes punishes rather than recuperates and heals. She has authored much of the key legislation to improve and/or correct our laws and justice system. Much of it has been written into law after seemingly endless battles with those appointed to manage and fix this system.
Children’s health harms are on the rise and evidence points to pesticides.
Speaker: Corinn Cross, M.D.View the Powerpoint Presentation>> Members and friends of the Everychild Foundation gathered together on September 27, 2018 at the home of Everychild member, Mary Lu Tuthill, to discuss some of the challenges faced by parents raising children in a technology-saturated world. Dr. Cross, an Everychild member and nationally-recognized expert on the topic, discussed privacy laws, social media, and the implications of too much screen time at too early an age. According to Dr. Cross, 98% of homes now have technology devices, but the amount of screen time varies. Socioeconomics play a role in decisions around the amount of screen time and quality of content. “The beginning years are critical,” says Dr. Cross. “Children are different than adults and need to be protected.”
Changes in media consumption, including declining newspaper circulation and a global readership, have altered news coverage. The Everychild community met at the home of member Judith Beckmen on April 25, 2018 to discuss news reporting of children in a changing media landscape. As part of the Everychild Foundation Nancy Daly Salon series, the panel spoke on the challenges of keeping journalists focused on issues facing vulnerable children, youth and families, and the importance of holding child-serving systems and their leaders accountable.
On Thursday, September 28, members of the Everychild Foundation convened to discuss the challenges of children facing homelessness. The gathering was held at the home of Board Member Emeritus Denise McCain-Tharnstrom, Founder of Our Children LA, a nonprofit that connects these youths with web-based resources and support systems.
Tim Robbins – actor, director, producer, writer, musician and activist – joined friends and members of the Everychild Foundation for an evening salon at the home of Jacqueline and Andrew Caster, to discuss ‘The Importance of Bringing Arts to Los Angeles Kids.’
A group of Everychild members and guests gathered at the home of Tracy and Chris Esse on February 5 to discuss children’s issues with Ted Lempert, President of Children Now, a national research and advocacy organization based in Oakland. The non-profit concentrates its efforts on analyzing policies for children in California and promoting large-scale public policy changes needed to improve the lives of children.
On Wednesday, September 3rd, Everychild Foundation members and friends gathered in the home of Leslie and Bill Elkus to hear Congressmember, Karen Bass, Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, discuss the new national movement to reform our nation’s broken foster care system. “Every day, nearly a half-million children and youth depend on foster care in America – through no fault of their own,” says Bass. “It is our responsibility to make sure that our children have every opportunity to become productive citizens. But unfortunately, a disproportionate number of foster care youth end up homeless and in the juvenile-justice system.” While Speaker in California, Bass championed a bill that extended the foster care emancipation age to 21 – helping youth continue to be supported during crucial years of development. Now in the U.S. House of Representatives, she introduced two bills honoring and assisting foster youth. First a Congressional Resolution Recognizing May as National Foster Care Month, honoring foster youth and parents. Second, H.R.2012 Foster Care Mentoring Act focused on connecting foster care youth with responsible, caring adults. If you would like to support this effort, click here.
Divorce, no matter what the reason or how much the parties try, is difficult for everyone, especially the children who are often in the middle of the struggle. On November 5, 2012, close to 50 people gathered at the home of Everychild member Jaime Meyer for a salon to discuss this important issue.
At a first-ever candlelight salon, Kirk and Laura Smalley shared the tragedy of their son’s 2010 suicide after a bullying incident. They now work tirelessly to prevent another family from enduring their hell. The salon was held on March 12th at the home of Everychild member Amy Sommer. The candlelight was necessitated by an unexpected power outage in the neighborhood.
Martha and Ronald Doornick opened their beautiful Manhattan Beach home to host the thirteenth Everychild salon on January 21, 2009. The topic of the salon was “Our Chance to Advance Educational Opportunities for all of Los Angeles’ Children”. Marshall Tuck, CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and Advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke. Everychild member, Melanie Lundquist, Board Member and Senior Advisor for Fundraising at The Partnership, began the evening by recounting that she and her husband both received good educations through the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and as a result had good lives. Watching the decline in the quality of education in the District has, therefore, been distressing for them.
Two outstanding women who are dedicated to helping children with autism and their families spoke at the Everychild Foundation salon, “Advances in the Research and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders”, on September 25th at the home of Everychild member and Salon Committee Chair, Amy Childress and her husband James.
Dr. Gary Rachelefsky, a recognized expert on asthma, spoke at the May 22, 2008 Everychild Foundation Salon on asthma. The event was held at the home of ECF member Terry Hamermesh and her family. Dr. Rachelesfsky is the Director, Executive Center for Allergy, Asthma, and Respiratory Disease and Professor, Allergy and Immunology UCLA Geffen School of Medicine Los Angeles, CA,To illustrate the devastation wrought by childhood asthma, Dr. Rachelefsky pointed to statistics that show that 8 million children suffer from asthma in the US today, and nearly one third of these are likely to be misdiagnosed and therefore not treated properly. There are approximately 250,000 hospitalizations due to asthma annually, putting a costly strain on the health care system. In addition, it is estimated that 14 million school days and 14 million workdays are missed annually due to asthma, taking a toll on both the economy and families.
The subject of the 11th Everychild salon was the importance of investing public resources in children early in their development. Everychild member Penny Meepos and her family graciously hosted the event at their lovely Pacific Palisades home on November 15, 2007.
Marcie Polier Swartz and her husband, Dave, hosted the tenth Everychild Foundation salon on October 8th, 2006, welcoming Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-California 30th District) and a group of Everychild members to their home. The salon, the first held during the day and on a weekend, was an intimate, interesting and inspiring afternoon.
Sherry Lansing’s first career was as a schoolteacher, and she has never lost her passion for teaching or her capacity to inspire. In February, 2006, over 75 Everychild members and their guests experienced this capacity first-hand at the home of Cheryl Saban, when the pioneering film industry executive (and Everychild Foundation member) spoke with Cheryl Saban about the role of women in philanthropy today and her own “third chapter” career as a philanthropist.
In the past two decades, obesity rates have doubled for children and tripled for adolescents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that if current trends continue, one-third of all American children born in 2000 will develop diabetes. LAUSD School Board member (and current Board President) Marlene Canter has been a leader in Los Angeles in developing solutions to prevent obesity risk factors that begin in childhood. On May 25, 2005, Ms. Canter met with Everychild members, spouses and guests at the home of Karin and Jonathan Fielding to discuss the current crisis in obesity and diabetes and explore interventions to prevent this rising epidemic in Los Angeles children.
The name Paul Cummins comes up often in conversations about educational programs for disadvantaged children in Los Angeles. An innovator in the field of education for over 30 years, Paul Cummins has focused on creating educational opportunities for all children, regardless of learning style, ethnicity, or economics. Cummins has founded two private schools (Crossroads and New Roads), joint ventured in creating four charter school campuses, developed an arts program for low-income schools (PSArts), and written extensively on the state of education in this country. He is currently Executive Director of the New Visions Foundation, where he is working on building an integrated, interactive, inclusive educational village in Santa Monica.
On the evening of June 3, 2004, Everychild members, spouses and guests met at the Brentwood home of Liz and Greg Craig to explore critical issues affecting the lives of many low-income children in Los Angeles today. Speaking with the group was Dr. Jonathan Fielding, who as Director of Public Health for Los Angeles County, is responsible for all public health functions including disease prevention, health protection and health promotion for the county’s over 10 million residents. As former Chairman of the California Endowment and a current member of the city’s First 5 LA Commission (responsible for allocating tobacco tax dollars to improve health, development and school readiness of children aged 0-5 in Los Angeles), Dr. Fielding had valuable expertise to share with Everychild members regarding both key opportunities for improving the lives of local children and critical factors to consider in making funding choices.
On Friday, January 9th, the Everychild held its 5th evening salon. The fascinating evening was graciously hosted by Member Mona Andrews and her husband, Anthony, at their home in Beverly Hills. Featured speakers were representatives of the ACLU who discussed their high-profile and controversial lawsuit, Williams vs. the State of California. Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the Southern California Chapter of the ACLU spoke, along with Staff Attorney, Catherine Lhamon, and Amy Salyer, a public elementary schoolteacher and witness in the case.
Foundation members met at the home of member Randi Fett and her husband David in order to address the detrimental effect of community violence on school children in our city. Speaking to the group was Dr. Brad Stein, PhD, a researcher for RAND and Assistant Professor of Child Psychology at USC.
Nancy Daly Riordan, Everychild Advisory Board member, addressed members of the Everychild Foundation and their guests at a salon at the home of Dana and Edward Slatkin. Nancy, who is a longtime children’s advocate and founder of the United Friends of the Children and the Children’s Action Network, discussed ways in which Everychild could have an important impact with grants in the area of foster care and adoption.
Former Colorado Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman, Roy Romer, who is currently the Los Angeles Unified School Superintendent also addressed an Everychild salon at the home off Frankie and Barry Sholem. He spoke about how to raise secondary school test scores in LAUSD schools. Budget cuts have presented significant challenges to improving the academic performance of the students in these schools. However, Superintendent Romer outlined a plan for some promising reforms that will hopefully yield results in the near future. These included more reading instruction for students by subject area teachers and a program that will provide teachers with experienced teaching mentors.
The Salon Committee also presented a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary film, Children Underground, at the new Pacific Theatres ArcLight Theatres. Sheilah Kitt McKinnon, an Everychild Founding Member, is the film’s Executive Producer. Children Underground shows the everyday lives of Romanian street children, a most difficult subject. Ms. McKinnon discussed the making of the film and the prospects for reforms in Romania to help these children.
A recent salon featured State Senator Sheila Kuehl who spoke about children in domestic abuse situations and what can be done to help them. Senator Kuehl, an Everychild Advisory Board Member, is the state’s preeminent authority on this topic in legislative circles. She has authored numerous bills addressing this growing problem. She discussed the magnitude of the problem in our state, its root causes and some promising programs that Everychild could consider for a possible future grant. Such programs have proven to provide effective assistance to these children and include art therapy for the very young and theatrical presentations by students about abuse for older students.