Lead Story West Edition

Children get scooters, laptops at ‘Christmas in July’

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — With more than 400 students and family members in attendance, state Sen. Holly J. Mitchell presented free laptops and scooters to 150 at-risk children July 15 during a carnival that keyed on fun, but really was part of her years-long effort to engage children to stay mentally, physically and nutritionally active.

“For far too kids, especially at-risk children, spending a summer off from school is when they become inactive and fall behind on reading as well as eating healthy; on writing as well as riding around; and often end up sitting idle instead of stimulating their minds,” Mitchell said. “This is a way to help these kids and their families play games and have fun, as well as benefit from free medical screenings, donated books and even lunch.”

Dubbed “Christmas in July,” the event has been hosted by Mitchell annually since 2011 to brighten the lives of at-risk children.

A dental hygienist teaches a young girl about dental care during the ‘Christmas in July’ event at USC July 15 that featured lots of healthy activities for children as well as information about caring for themselves. (Photo by Tyrone Cole)

They are provided free dental and nutritional screenings, and bask in “fun zones” where children and their families can learn about education, the environment and literacy by rock climbing, sumo wrestling, playing in an inflated “bounce house” and visiting onsite health, science and literacy labs to help raise awareness on subjects like healthy eating and financial literacy.

Among the highlights was Mitchell presenting 150 donated laptops and scooters to 150 at-risk youths between the ages of 7 and 12, invited to the event based on nominations by local schools and social agencies.

State Sen. Holly Mitchell talks to about 400 people attending her annual Christmas in July’ event July 15 at USC. About 150 at-risk youngsters between 7 and 12 years old received free laptops and scooters at the event.
(Photo by Tyrone Cole)

“At-risk youths deserve summer fun, engaging activities and the types of learning opportunities and encouragement needed to excel,” Mitchell said at the event held on a beautiful, sun-splashed day on the McCarthy Quad at USC. “Christmas in July says: ‘We care year round.’”

The event was made possible due to the generous donations from the following sponsors: Disney; the County of Los Angeles; American Beverage Association; USC; Wells Fargo; Farmers Insurance; Intuit; Upscale; Community Partners; AEG; Alta Med; AT&T; California American Water; CHLA; CVS; IBEW Local 11; Kaiser; LA Care; Water Replenishment District; NBCUniversal; SEIU 721; SEIU 2015; St. John’s; State Farm; Toyota; US Bank; Walmart; Paramount Pictures; Sunrun; Local 871; Avery Dennison; Enterprise; GRACE; Google; Green Dot; Servicon; Molina; SoCal Gas; Zenith; Warner Bros.; HBO; and 2nd Call.