We are Lion Community Education, and we are just getting started! While we are currently licensed to do business as a sole proprietorship, our dream is to swiftly convert to a non-profit organization with 501c3 status.
We want to tap into the power of lifelong learning to increase equity in Central California. To begin fulfilling this goal, we hope to raise between $5,000-$15,000 between now and December 31, which we will use for two purposes:
1) To pay start-up costs, including those needed to officially incorporate as a non-profit organization and receive 501c3 status, and
2) To help fund our first mentoring programs for young adults and people of color in Central California.
Those who donate $1,000+ and the first 25 people to get 50+ social media likes about our fundraiser will be offered seats in virtual classes created especially for our supporters. In addition, if we exceed our fundraising goals, we will put the extra money toward creating a series of free mentoring videos, which all of our Donors and Advocates will be given access to.
WHO ARE WE?
Lion Community Education is founded by Cheramie Johnson and Celisse Randolph, two graduates of Turlock Christian High School, each with over a decade of experience working in higher education.
It is our MISSION to increase educational, financial, and social equity in Central California by supporting and promoting powerful lifelong learning in community spaces.
Our roadmap to accomplishing this is described in our VISION: To use the best teaching practices and social-justice frameworks, to:
1) Meet people where they’re at: in workplaces, neighborhoods, places of worship, homes, community centers, and other shared spaces
2) Learn about their strengths, aspirations, and challenges
3) Recognize, reward, and celebrate their accomplishments,
4) Connect community members in relationships of mutual caring and support, and
5) Share our wisdom, courage, love, and liberty with them
In all of our work, we will be guided by our VALUES: Diversity, Creativity, Complexity, Listening, Learning, and Social Change.
WHO AND HOW WILL WE SERVE?
We begin our work in Turlock, one of the cultural hubs of Stanislaus County. According to Census.Gov, in 2018, approximately 16% of people in Turlock lived in poverty, the average annual income per capita was about $26,000, and only about a quarter of the people over the age of 25 had earned a Bachelor's degree or higher. These figures pre-date the economic and educational devastation caused by the COVID-19 crisis... and these conditions of poverty and limited access to higher education only grow deeper in the surrounding towns. At the same time, like the rest of the Central Valley, Turlock offers an abundance of young professionals and people of color who are ambitious, resilient, and seeking guidance. They are bold, brave, and inquisitive; they want to know how to ensure that their own and their families’ needs are met, but also how to change the world around them.
The support first generation students and people of color receive throughout their time spent in school has grown significantly in the United States over the last few decades. Educational non-profits have evolved to meet the needs of marginalized students from kindergarten to graduate school; colleges and universities often offer summer bridge programs, student success coaching, and living learning communities. However, organizations that support marginalized students in the Central Valley are surprisingly few and far between, and what support is available all goes away when these students graduate, leaving them with the feeling of being on their own again. These recent graduates and young professionals need to be able to interact with mentors and peers to get advice about how to navigate job expectations, identity development, and imposter syndrome.
We’ve been given an opportunity to develop a mentorship pilot program with a local civic leader and the young people who seek his guidance. We hope to soon begin similar pilots with several other local stakeholders, ideally offering 2-5 small pilot programs in our first year.
In recognition of the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, these programs will begin in the virtual space. They will consist of group and individual mentoring sessions with mentors who have experienced life through various careers, identities, hardships, and triumphs. The programs will be intentional in addressing mental and emotional health, identity and value development, financial health, personal social networking, and career and vocation development. The goal of these programs is to give intentional space for first-generation college graduates and other young professionals to explore who they are and how to move forward in their lives. The mentoring programs we develop will give students the space to ask questions without feeling as though they are letting anyone down for having these worries. As believers in the importance of 360° mentorship throughout your lifetime, we know that this service is much needed, especially for the young people going through this unprecedented time, right now.
HOW WILL WE SPEND THE MONEY?
We will use some of the money that we raise to fund our start-up costs, such as hiring legal and marketing consultants, compensating our founders for some of their time, and paying the costs associated with converting from a sole proprietorship to a non-profit with 501c3 status. In addition, while we eventually plan to charge low-cost and sliding scale prices for our services, in the interest of first seeking feedback and improving the quality of our programs, we’re hoping to raise enough money to offer these small pilot mentoring programs free of charge.
We also hope to make a series of videos engaging the mentorship topics available to the public for free. Any money raised over our initial fundraising goals will go toward creating these videos.
REWARDS FOR DONORS & ADVOCATES
As a sign of our gratitude, we are offering two virtual classes for our most impactful donors and advocates:
From In-Power to Empowered
As passionate as we are about serving marginalized communities, we also believe that people with all levels of privilege and power are eager to learn… and that the more power and privilege we have, the more responsibility we inherit to contribute to a more just world. That’s why, for those who have the means to contribute $1,000 or more to our campaign, we’re offering enrollment in From In-Power to Empowered, a virtual class designed to help those with financial power and privilege learn to use their assets to disrupt cycles of power and oppression.
From Love to Liberty
Of course, social capital can be just as powerful as financial capital, and if donating money isn’t the right choice for you, you can help enormously by spreading the word! So to the first 25 people to get 50+ likes on a social media post about our fundraiser, we’re offering a seat in From Love to Liberty, a virtual class about leveraging the power of relationships to catalyze social change. Simply take a screenshot when your post has reached 50 likes and send it to us via email, Facebook, or Twitter.
In addition, if we exceed our goals and are able to create the free mentorship videos, every one of our supporters will receive links to the videos when they are complete, to be shared with whomever you think would benefit.
As Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Community is at the heart of everything Lion Community Education aims to achieve. Our mentorship curriculum will not only offer people tools for lifelong learning; it will also nourish compassionate and reciprocal relationships among Central California community members. And as our supporters, you are members of the LCE community as well. No matter how much you are able to donate or help spread the word, you will play a role in shaping a more equitable future for Central California.
Whatever you can do, however you can do it, we are so grateful for your support!
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more