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Dream Cities | Los Angeles, CA
Edwin Markham Middle School
1650 East 104th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90002
1650 East 104th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90002
Learning Center DirectorJesús Salas
jsalasusdreamacademy [dot] org
Mentor CoordinatorWendy Castro
wcastrousdreamacademy [dot] org
The U.S. Dream Academy’s Los Angeles Learning Center partnered with the Boys & Girls Club, City Year and Edwin Markham Middle School to celebrate black history and culture. “Strength through History, Unity through Culture” was the theme for the Black History Month Celebration event that took place on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012. The event hosted over 150 parents, students, and members of the Watts community.
Visitors were already high in attendance at the ringing of the school’s last bell and were first led to the auditorium for the play production. With a list of attractions to visit, which included a student-led theatrical play, an art walk, and a resource fair, guests and students were entertained for three hours after school. “I was having so much fun that it felt too short,” said Aleesa, an 8th grader who attends the U.S. Dream Academy. “The play was very good,” she added.
After a half hour of enjoyment, guests were greeted by community organizations providing resources and information on topics including family health, beauty, safety, education and finance. Vendors selling items such as handmade jewelry were also in attendance. Guests received a raffle ticket at each table they visited, ensuring the best possible chances to win shiny watches, back-packs filled with school supplies, sporting goods and even two brand new bicycles.
Guests also visited posters placed around the school depicting historical black figures and their successes. The history walk made it easy and fun for all in attendance to learn about black history and culture. “I learned a lot about my history, and it was great!” said Josh, a student who also acted as Martin Luther King Jr. in the play production.
The art walk made it possible for everyone to see the artistic ability of the DreamKids at the Los Angeles Learning Center. With over 20 painted portraits of black heroes like Billie Holliday and Rosa Parks, visitors were able to critique the art work while enjoying the food and drinks. Visitors had the opportunity to use their inspiration to create their own work of art with the guidance of the Free Arts Program volunteers. The celebration was a great way to close Black History Month and it will be remembered for some time to come.
Our History in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Learning Center opened in June of 2007. Located at Edwin Markham Middle School in Watts, California, the Center provides the following program for 55 students each day: homework/tutoring, spelling and math bee, computer labs, DreamBuilding Workshop and Connections, a communications workshop.
Because Edwin Markham Middle School is a feeder school for six housing developments, it serves many students who do not have the opportunity to take many trips outside their respective neighborhoods. The Los Angeles Learning Center orchestrates several field trips to fulfill these needs and have visited many educational and recreational facilities including the Skirball Cultural Center, the Museum of Tolerance, the University of Southern California, the Long Beach Aquarium and many others.
The Los Angeles Learning Center is also the only U.S. Dream Academy Center to serve students throughout the day in a program called the “Classroom Enrichment Program.” Through this innovative course, over 150 students use the Center’s computer lab bi-weekly to work on the Pearson Learning software, called SuccessMaker.
About Our Staff
Learning Center Director
Jesús M. Salas is an educator with a wealth of experience working with at-risk population of students and facilitating adult learning experiences. His work in education began in high school while volunteering in an after school program for abused and at-risk children. His passion led him to join Teach For America upon graduating from Florida State University, where he studied criminology, creative writing and history. Prior to becoming Director of the Watts/Los Angeles Learning Center, Jesús served as an educator and instructional coach at Edwin Markham Middle School for five and a half years. He received a Masters degree in secondary education from Loyola Marymount University. Jesús is a co-founder of InnovatED, Inc., and a doctoral student at UCLA.
Wendy Castro serves as the Mentor Coordinator for the Los Angeles Learning Center at Markham Middle School. Ms. Castro is a Southern California native and graduated from CSU Los Angeles in 2007 with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Spanish. Ms. Castro comes to US Dream Academy with 10+ years of experience working in education and non-profit as she has a profound passion for working with underrepresented communities.
Our Los Angeles Partners in the Dream
California Senator Rod Wright
Greater Love Christian Center
Helping Other People Excel (HOPE)
Beyond the Bell
LA Conservation Corps
Boys & Girls Club
USC TRIO Program
Greater Mount Sinai, MBC #2
Community Harvest Foundation
Los Angeles Mayor's Office
Watts Gang Task Force
Women of Watts
Councilwoman Janice Hahn
Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
There are no upcoming events scheduled for this learning center at this time. Please check back later.