This year marks the 20th 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 $17.7 million dollars in support of university-community partnerships. 100% of contributions are 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 550 grants have been given to community organizations to enhance educational opportunities, promote good health and fitness, support economic development, and improve safety.

Help us reach our goal of $2 million!

November 4, 2014

A jester brings laughter and a love of reading to children

Peals of laughter echoed off the walls of Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School’s auditorium near the University Park Campus as dozens of fifth-graders took delight in The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.

The children kicked off a three-week read-a-thon to benefit sick children — an event co-organized by the Joint Educational Project’s (JEP) USC ReadersPlus program.

The other organizer is the Jester & Pharley Phund for Reading Makes a Difference, a program sponsored by the USC Good Neighbors Campaign.

Weemes is among five schools in USC’s Family of Schools participating in the read-a-thon.

“When you’re feeling lonely, or sad, or bad or blue, remember where laughter’s hiding. … It’s hiding inside of YOU!” a woman read aloud, displaying the colorful pages of the book.

“It was a really touching story,” fifth-grader Erica Mozo said during the Oct. 23 event. “I loved the way she read the story and brought all the characters to life.”


Students taking part in a read-a-thon cluster around USC alumna Barbara Saltzman, second from left. (Photo/Susan Bell)

Students taking part in a read-a-thon cluster around USC alumna Barbara Saltzman, second from left. (Photo/Susan Bell)

The story behind the story

The reader was Barbara Saltzman, a former Los Angeles Times editor who shared how her son, David Saltzman, wrote and illustrated the story while battling cancer.

In 1990, David died of Hodgkin’s disease at age 22, shortly after graduating from Yale University. The book was his senior project. It tells the tale of a medieval court jester banished by the king when he can no longer make people laugh. Sent out into a hostile, humorless world, the jester hunts for laughter. He finds it in the most unlikely place — a little girl hospitalized with cancer.

After spreading laughter throughout the kingdom, the jester returns to court with the revelation that laughter is hidden inside all of us.

Read more here.


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October 29, 2014

History in a box

Good Neighbors is pleased to share a video from USC News profiling the History in a Box project, a Good Neighbors funded partnership between the USC Center for Diversity and Democracy in USC Dornsife and the Breed Street Shul Project.

Professors and both graduate and undergraduate students at USC Dornsife are working with Boyle Heights teachers and Breed Street Shul to bring a different kind of history lesson to grade school classrooms.

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