“Passing it forward” by doing good deeds in exchange for mentor/tutoring sessions through the Emily Shane Foundation, local youth gain educational benefits while preserving the memory of Malibu teen Emily Shane, who was tragically struck by a car and killed in April 2010. Created by her mother, Ellen Shane, the Emily Shane Foundation aims to give back to the community by helping underserved children receive needed educational assistance.
“The only cost for every child is that they have to do one good deed for every session, in the hopes that (these) young people become more socially conscious,” says Ellen, whose daughter Emily struggled with academic challenges, including dyslexia. Many students like Emily fall into a “gray area” where they need extra help but do not qualify for special education, explains Ellen.
Thus, the mission of the foundation’s Successful Educational Achievement Program is to provide resources to disadvantaged struggling/failing middle school students who cannot afford tutoring and do not qualify for special education. Partnering with schools to identify kids who need assistance, the organization hires and trains college students and recent graduates for a year-long one-on-one mentorship with a student, helping them develop organizational and study skills so they can succeed in school and in life, explains Ellen.
“A mentor takes the time to get to know them to see their circumstances; you can't do that unless you're working one-on-one to foster a relationship with them,” says Ellen. “Then they can figure out the best way they can reach this student, and hopefully bring them on the right course, to give them more opportunities in life so they finish school.”
What began with only a few kids has grown into a program serving hundreds of students at 12 sites throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
“The results that I see,” says Ellen about the more than 600 kids served so far by the Emily Shane Foundation, are encouraging. “They've just never had the right help,” she says.
This month’s upcoming Butterfly Magic Fundraiser, November 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Pepperdine University’s Alumni Park, benefits the Emily Shane Foundation’s SEA Program. The free fundraising event is open to the community and includes a silent auction, food trucks, musicians, children’s activity area, mentor tribute table and a butterfly release.
Butterflies were special and significant to Emily, and they represent transformation, explains Ellen.
“This program transforms a child who is struggling in school to help them become successful in school and in life. These kids may have never had someone who is positive or that says, ‘I believe in you’,” says Ellen. The Emily Shane Foundation puts the money directly into the program to sustain mentor/tutors, area coordinators, program managers and staff.
“The work is very rewarding for the mentors and it really does immensely help these children. We all need someone who’s there to help motivate us!” says Ellen.
For more information about the Emily Shane Foundation and the Butterfly Magic Fundraiser, visit EmilyShane.org.