LEAP Foundation DC is excited to present the first annual Public Service Award, which will be given to a special honoree at the LEAP Foundation DC Toy Drive, set for Tuesday, December 19.
Mayor Muriel Bowser will be presented with the award in recognition of the tireless work she has done on behalf of her constituents, as well as, her unwavering support for LEAP Foundation DC.
“We want to thank Mayor Bowser for her persistent support in our annual toy drive, which this year will make Christmas brighter for two Washington, D.C. area families, as well as her dedication to the residents across all eight wards of the District,” said Dr. Clayton Lawrence, president and CEO of LEAP Foundation DC. “Her work in the community since 2015 has brought a fresh start to the area and is in direct alignment with our mission to bridge the gap between hope and achievement. We are proud to present Ms. Bowser with our first-ever Public Service Award.”
The Mayor’s efforts have had a direct impact on the city’s middle-class citizens, bringing more than an anticipated 30,000 new jobs to the area, and her commitment to affordable housing has helped sustain a growing population and put an end to homelessness. Mayor.dc.gov calls Washington, D.C., the fastest-improving urban school district in the nation, thanks to the historical educational investments of Mayor Bowser.
LEAP Foundation DC is committed to providing educational and training opportunities to meet the aspirations of the underserved citizens of the District of Columbia. In the spirit of giving, part of the Foundation’s outreach includes ensuring that families across the District can enjoy the holiday season. More than 250 children each year have benefitted from the contributions of LEAP supporters. This 10th annual toy drive will shower two families – including seven students from the Latino Student Fund (LSF) – with holiday joy.
The Garcia-Palacios family participates in Saturday tutoring offered by the LSF. Mother and father Sandra and Omar have high school diplomas from their home country and earn just $20,000 to $40,000 each year to bring up their four children, ages 4 to 14. The couple stresses the importance of pursuing a higher education and appreciates being chosen as a recipient of this year’s annual drive.
The Gamboa family – mother, Marisol, and father, Javier, along with three children – also falls within the $20,000 to $40,000 yearly income level. The family travels each Saturday from Arlington, Va., to attend the tutoring program offered by the Latino Student Fund. Natives of Peru, Javier’s highest level of education is 9th grade, while Marisol was only able to attend school until 7th grade. Their children are shining examples of LSF’s tutoring program, thanks to the family’s drive and determination to continue their educations.
In addition to the awarding of the mayor’s Public Service Award and the presentation to recipients of the toy drive, Latino Student Fund alumni Gissell Botero will receive the Foundation’s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton Scholarship as part of the evening’s program. The $1,000 award will allow Botero to pursue her education in the medical field by studying abroad in Copenhagen. Botero currently is a junior at Bucknell University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and pre-medicine.
Named in recognition of the congresswoman’s longstanding and vital support of the Foundation in all of its efforts to ensure that young men and women in Washington, D.C., have every opportunity they need to pursue educational success, this is the first year for the Foundation to select a recipient of the award as part of its ongoing scholarship program.