CEE's Alumni Community Service Award

Each year, the CEE Alumni Council grants Alumni Community Service Award(s) to support young CEE alumni with a community service project they plan to work on during the summer break.

2022 Award Recipients

Back-to-School Backpack Drive: Will Chandrasekhar '17
Will has been volunteering as a math tutor for the past year with El Nido Family Centers, an organization that provides child and family services in underserved regions of Los Angeles. He has become increasingly involved with El Nido’s programming, further honing his own skills by serving as a videographer and editor to raise awareness about their mission. With the help of the Community Service Award, he plans to provide El Nido with substantial assistance for their back-to-school backpack program, including purchasing essential school supplies and organizing volunteers to prepare the backpacks for distribution to students. Will explains how his time at CEE encouraged him to continue giving back, saying that the values taught “both socially and academically will be with me through my life, guiding me and serving as the foundation of my experience in the world.”

Team Tobati: Alejandro Henriquez '17
Alejandro’s service project was inspired by a friend who shared their experience following six months of teaching English at the Macchi School in Tobati, Paraguay. After learning about the struggles faced by Tobati youth, Alejandro knew that he wanted to “improve the lives of these children and help them break the cycle of poverty.” His passion has led him to become co-president of a 40-member service group, Team Tobati, focused on raising awareness and directly helping disadvantaged students. With the Community Service Award, Alejandro will fund intensive English classes for disadvantaged students in Tobati who hope to ultimately earn scholarships to study in the United States. By supporting disadvantaged students in advancing their skillsets and setting them up for success, Team Tobati aims to create a better, more successful community and break the cycle of poverty in Tobati.

Sunday Lunch Drives: Anya Shah '17
Anya has been involved with Hang Out Do Good as a part of their coalition that collects lunches made by families across Los Angeles to distribute to other families who lack access to a healthy, stable food supply. Each weekend, Anya and her family bond while giving back by preparing and delivering 20-60 paper-bag meals. With the Community Service Award, Anya plans to expand the number of meals she can prepare and work to further combat food insecurity in low-income communities. Anya’s project is inspired by the mindset and intentions of CEE’s work with the West Hollywood Food Coalition, demonstrating CEE’s core values of caring and responsibility.   

Past Recipients

2021 Recipients

Friends in Need:
Carly & Aaron Platt '17, Alex Hahn '17, and EJ Chavez '17
Aaron, Carly, Alex, and EJ have worked with children from the Learning Lab at Hathaway-Sycamores, an organization that provides child and family services, for several years. In February 2020, they started a weekend basketball clinic program for children. When the sports clinics paused due to the pandemic, they helped Hathaway-Sycamores collect clothes, books, and food for the families. In June 2021, with the help of the Community Service Award, the basketball clinics resumed once a month and included fun activities for the children like pizza parties and water games. The group also donated basketballs, a scoreboard, footballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, and two soccer nets to the organization. Alex explains, “By encouraging the students to be good team players, play fair, and take losses with grace, this experience helped us appreciate the importance of CEE’s core values of respect, inclusion, caring, and honesty.” 

Fix the Beep: Dylan Foley '18 
Dylan developed the Fix the Beep program alongside A Sense of Home, which helps youth aging out of foster care establish their first homes. Fix the Beep provides fire alarm kits to individuals moving into their own housing and provides fire prevention training to families. The Community Service Award helped Dylan create 25 kits for 25 new homes; the kits include an informational pamphlet, a magnet to hang up the pamphlet with a QR code to the Fix the Beep website, a battery tester, and 9V batteries. In addition to the kits, Fix the Beep will be creating an informational video for all Sense of Home foster alumni. This fall, Dylan is developing an educational kit in English and Spanish for John Burroughs Middle School. 

Outside the Box: Jade Villapando '17 
Jade has been involved in the No Limits service club at Brentwood School for several years. When the No Limit Center’s activities for deaf children and families all moved online due to the pandemic, Jade wanted to help the children access all the supplies they may need for virtual activity groups and school, ultimately creating 50 boxes with over 20 items for each child. Some of the supplies in the boxes included crayons, pencil sharpeners, whiteboards, Play-doh, and a chalk set. Jade says that she “hopes the children have a chance to think outside of the box and be creative in and outside of school.” The highlight of the process for Jade was going to the No Limits Center to deliver the boxes, sharing that “having the kids and parents thank me and seeing them with big smiles on their faces opening the boxes was my favorite part of the whole experience.”
2020 Recipient

Landon Lewis ‘16 developed the SmartPacks Backpack Drive to support low-income students preparing for back-to-school at Ninety-Ninth Street Elementary. Landon was able to create hundreds of backpacks full of supplies like pencils, glue sticks, paper, and more!

Landon shares, “I feel that it is important that all students feel confident and prepared to start the new year with the necessary tools to succeed. With high unemployment rates during the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents are unable to provide adequate supplies for their children. Studies have shown that students often disconnect in class when they don't have adequate supplies for school. My goal was to play a pivotal role in supporting students on their journey towards building strong educational foundations; I also hoped to help teachers with limited classroom budgets. This project relates to two of the Center's core values of responsibility and caring. I feel a responsibility to help other students who may not have the same resources that I have, and it is with a caring spirit that I have the potential to help send children back to school with backpacks, supplies, and smiles!” 

2019 Recipients


 Catherine Dickerman '15 and Zoe Redlich '15 organized an environmental fair in support of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Through various activities, demonstrations, and information booths, the fair helped spread awareness about climate change and how to combat its effects. 


Oliver Berry '15, Esan Durrani '15, and Max Hahn '15 partnered with Allies for Every Child (formerly the Westside Children’s Center). The three alumni are dedicated to advocating for children at risk of neglect and abuse and hope to build a strong partnership with AEC to provide educational, health, and social services to families in need.

2018 Recipients
Pictured above

Ethan Hodess '14 and Bryce Louie '14 planned an event to raise funds for the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition. Their CEE grant helped secure a venue and through sponsorships and ticket sales, they raised over $5,000 which the Food Coalition was able to use for Thanksgiving meals, a new laundry service, sleeping bags, and other critical supplies.

Matthew Burkow '13 volunteered with children at The Help Group, making lasting connections with kids with special needs who face autism spectrum disorder and other attention, developmental, and learning challenges. Matthew explained how the CEE core value of inclusion helped him build a strong bond with the students.

Mason Maxam '15 used the funds to support The Pad Project, a student-led nonprofit she is involved in that seeks to bring access to safe menstrual products to girls around the world, providing “pad machines” to these communities and building awareness through their Academy-Award winning documentary, Period. End of Sentence.

Will Toth '13
spent the summer helping kids in the community make their own guitars from scratch. Through the Making it Forward program he started in 2016, children met regularly to work on building a guitar, providing an opportunity to learn the value of making something themselves and exploring the art and science of music making.

Application Process

 

Eligibility:
CEE Alumni (meaning anyone who graduated from The Center or left in good standing after one year) and are entering/"rising" 10th-12th graders.

Application Review and Award Selection:
The Alumni Community Service Award Committee is composed of select Alumni Council members who will review and consider applications. Applications will be kept anonymous by the CEE’s Alumni Office. The Committee will then engage in a discussion of applications, after which the deciding vote will be cast for the winning recipient(s). During this process, an interview (in person or by telephone) may be requested.

Post-Project Follow Up:
The
Award recipient(s) will be required to write an essay or prepare a presentation detailing their volunteer service and how it bettered the community and themselves. The award recipient(s) will be asked to present their Grant work to the Alumni Council and possibly other CEE Committees and/ or Board of Trustees. This essay or presentation may be published in a CEE newsletter and/or sent to all donors of the Grant fund.

Use of Funds:
Award recipients will be granted $1,000 in the form of a stipend with the intention to be used toward funding the approved project, its operational expenses and/or community betterment.
 
If you have any additional questions or would like to apply, please contact us at alumni@cee-school.org.
The Center for Early Education, a socio-economically and culturally diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six, strives to graduate students who are joyful, resilient, life-long learners. The Center embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.