FOR RELEASE: April 25, 2014
CONTACT: Blanca Gallegos 213-387-8393 ext. 219; cell: 213-500-9594; firstname.lastname@example.org
LOS ANGELES, CA – Cafeteria Workers, Custodians, Bus Drivers, Special Education Assistants, and other members of SEIU Local 99 today announced the launch of a new program in LAUSD schools called OASIS – Optimizing Access to Services, Inspiring Success. OASIS will bring city, county, and private services directly to struggling working families and students in their neighborhood schools. The program gained a boost from the City of Los Angeles as Council Members approved a plan to work with OASIS to improve the coordination and delivery of city services to families in LAUSD schools.
OASIS will help address many of the social and economic challenges that impact students with coordinated after school programs offering health care, academic support, arts education, and financial planning and work force development for parents. OASIS will roll out this summer with pilot programs at Fremont High School and Audubon Middle School in South Los Angeles, Utah Street School in East Los Angeles, and Venice High School on the Westside.
Under the motion approved by City Council Members today, the Departments of Economic and Workforce Development, Housing and Community Investment, Libraries, Recreation and Parks, and Cultural Affairs will draft recommendations for the City’s participation in OASIS and present them to the Council within 45 days.
“OASIS is about creating partnerships to help our children succeed,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh. “What SEIU Local 99 members envision for OASIS is that their kids and the other students they serve every day will not be robbed of their childhood because of poverty, hunger, illness, homelessness, or something as simple as not having glasses. By bringing available resources into our local schools, we can help address many of the issues outside the classroom that affect student achievement inside the classroom.”
“In my position, I have a front row seat to the needs of students and their parents,” said Lydia Ponce, an SEIU Local 99 Member working as a Community Representative at Venice High School. “I see hunger, depression, fading hope, longing. I work to connect the families and kids with the services they need … OASIS is multiplying what I’ve been doing so that more children and families can be served. It’s just what our communities need.”
“Our schools are the heart of our communities. OASIS reinforces the collective efforts to bring more investment into our schools where there is the greatest need,” said LAUSD Superintendent John E. Deasy. “I applaud our partners—the families of SEIU Local 99—for encouraging us all to better utilize our campuses in delivering critical student and family resources to help ensure our students graduate ready for success in college and career.”
“The success of our City depends on the success of our students,” said Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, who introduced the motion on OASIS schools. “We must do all we can to support their education. By reaching out to students and their parents directly in our schools—the hub of community life in our neighborhoods—we’re working smarter to deliver existing city services, addressing real barriers that impact student achievement, and, ultimately, building a better Los Angeles.”
“OASIS creates a natural connection between families and the school,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “It encourages the parental engagement and participation that is so essential to the success of students in school.”
“The Great Recession has left many families struggling, and all too often their children feel the greatest impact,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass. “I believe that as lawmakers we have a responsibility to our children, especially those most in need, to provide opportunities like OASIS that address the needs of children and their parents. When children have a stable home and academic programs that stimulate their minds and ensure their health, students have a much greater chance to succeed in school and thrive in life.”
SEIU Local 99 represents 45,000 education workers throughout Southern California, including more than 30,000 cafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, bus drivers and other workers who provide essential student services and supports in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Nearly half of SEIU Local 99 members are parents of school-aged children.