LA Times

[LA Times] Wanted: more play, less work

Unlike most other kids, 12-year-old Luis Arevalo doesn’t have an entire summer of leisure and fun ahead of him. So far, he is experiencing the working world by spending him on the job with his dad, driving back and forth between Orange County and Las Vegas delivering mail… Continue reading

LA Times

[LA Times] Luis and his family will have time to relax and connect

Luis Guerra has just finished constructing a castle for his plastic shark in the sandbox at the Hope Street Family Center playground. As he wipes the sand from his fingers, a bouncy girl about his own small size inadvertently destroys his latest creation. Seven-year-old Luis remains unflustered but determined. “I’ll have to build it again, again and again,” he says….. Continue reading

LA Times

[LA Times] A long study break in the mountains

Not long ago, Alex Martinez was conversant only in Nahuatl, the ancient Aztec language spoken at home and carried by his father from Mexico to his new life in the United States. With the help of the All Peoples Christian Center, Alex quickly mastered English and learned some Spanish. With its emphasis on academics, the nonsectarian center helped him to earn top… Continue reading

LA Times

[LA Times] Chance at sun and surf, then UCLA

Vivian Nungaray saunters down the hallway during the after-school program “Heart of Los Angeles,” entirely at ease. Carrying her Slurpee like a fashion accessory, the 12-year-old could model for a tween-style magazine. Her black patent leather high-tops, cutoff jeans and zip-up hoodie make for a sporty urban look. A perfectly broken-in backpack finishes the ensemble. … Continue reading

LA Times

[LA Times] Reaching out to an 8-year-old

Trae Dietrich’s body wiggles with enthusiasm as he talks. Feet bounce, arms dance and shoulders shrug. Even his ears jiggle, and his eyes roll. Trae holds back nothing. He’s quick to divulge that “I can read 147 words a minute.” His many interests include reading, basketball, cooking and proposing solutions to disasters such as the recent oil spill…. Continue reading

LA Times

[LA Times] A moment onstage helps young girl steal spotlight

Lourdes Mack giggles as she clambers onto her mom’s lap to look at photos from last summer’s Painted Turtle camp. In one, she swings her feet and twirls in her wheelchair. It was “Stage Night,” and Lourdes danced to the song “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease.” That special occasion was one of the few times in her life that Lourdes did not wear her leg braces… Continue reading