Anthony Romano, left ,and Dylan Manzano, sixth graders at Foshay Learning Center, demonstrate robots to Alice Montoya, 5, in the Civic Engagement Tent at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC April 18, 2015. Photo by David Sprague

Anthony Romano, left ,and Dylan Manzano, sixth graders at Foshay Learning Center, demonstrate robots to Alice Montoya, 5, in the Civic Engagement Tent at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC April 18, 2015. Photo by David Sprague

Good neighbors campaign funded robotics team uses ingenuity to find its way to the national championship.

For the Foshay Learning Center’s Team 597 Wolverines, it was a suspenseful moment. Which high school team would win the prized Chairman’s Award at the FIRST Robotics International Competition in St. Louis?

Bob Tuttle, FIRST’s co-chair of the board of directors, addressed the audience and talked about the accomplishments of the Wolverines. (FIRST refers to For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.)

“You all did a great job, but there is one team that is particularly special in this program,” he said. “They are the role models and change agents reaching out and transforming whole communities to show through their actions the lessons of team work, gracious professionalism and all the good life lessons FIRST is all about.

Jason Mares, a junior at Foshay, was confident that the school’s team would win the competition. After all, their presentation blew away the panel of judges. But then he looked around and felt uncertain. There were 59 other robotics teams from around the world in the competition. He decided it ultimately didn’t matter. If his team lost, it would simply come back next year, better and stronger, to win it.

Seconds later, Mares and 12 of his teammates heard their team name called, and they all ran up on stage to claim their trophy.

“That moment was just complete shock,” Mares said. Read more  here

Program highlight

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This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the USC Good Neighbors Campaign. Since 1994, USC faculty, staff, and friends have been coming together every October to help USC be a good neighbor. In all, they have donated more than $20 million dollars in support of university-community partnerships. 100% of contributions is distributed via USC Good Neighbors grants (formerly USC Neighborhood Outreach or UNO). Supported partnerships strive to enhance educational opportunities, promote health and fitness, enhance public safety, and support economic development. Nearly 700 grants have been given to community organizations to enhance educational opportunities, promote good health and fitness, support economic development, and improve safety.

September 29, 2016

Thanking the Good Neighbors at USC

President C. L. Max Nikias held a backyard dinner for faculty and staff who contributed 1 percent of their paycheck to the Good Neighbors Campaign. (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

President C. L. Max Nikias held a backyard dinner for faculty and staff who contributed 1 percent of their paycheck to the Good Neighbors Campaign. (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

Growing up in Los Angeles, Samvel Martirosyan’s parents always encouraged him to take advantage of opportunities not available back in Armenia, a place they had left when he was 5 years old, leaving behind their family, their jobs, their culture.

Now, more than a decade since they moved, Martirosyan is making his parents proud, excelling at USC’s Science, Technology and Research (STAR) Program – where, as a student at Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School, he gets to do research alongside USC pharmacists.

“When I reflect on what I learn in the lab everyday, I realize that I’m taking part in real research that is affecting real people,” he said.

And Wednesday night, speaking in front of hundreds in the backyard of the USC president’s home, Martirosyan said none of it would be possible without the contributions of USC, through its Good Neighbors Campaign.

Good Neighbors Dinner
The campaign raises millions of dollars – more than $20 million since 1994 – to support education, health, public safety and economic growth in the communities surrounding both the University Park Campus in South Los Angeles and the Health Sciences Campus in Boyle Heights. The university covers all overhead and expenses so that 100 percent of proceeds go directly to the programs.

The 2015 campaign raised nearly $1.5 million.

The dinner is an annual tribute to staff and faculty who give 1 percent of their income – automatically deducted from their paycheck – to the Good Neighbors Campaign.

More here.

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June 27, 2016

Good Neighbors Campaign funds 42 university-community partnerships

Students gain dental assistant skills. (Photo/Ana Beatriz Cholo)

This year, 42 university-community partnerships were announced that span health, safety, education and the arts.

“It’s really meaningful to have these partnerships completely funded by USC employees,” said Carolina Castillo, executive director of GNC, now in its 22nd year after raising $18 million. To date, nearly 700 programs have been funded.

Because the university absorbs all administrative costs, the funds go entirely toward the partnerships that surround the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.

“It reflects our Trojan values of building community and providing opportunities,” Castillo said. Read more here.

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