PEF Ambassadors Out In Front To Spread The Word
• Local school district continues to rely on public’s support for funding important programs.
From music programs to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, the Peninsula Education Foundation (PEF) has been raising money to fund all of these activities since 1979.
PEF is a non-profit organization whose main goal is to raise funds to support positions and programs throughout the district. The foundation is comprised of parents with students from all grades who donate their time to help raise money for these programs.
The common misconception of PEF is that it only raises funds for students in elementary and middle schools. However, the Foundation also raises funds for high school programs such as the College and Career Center, Science Fair, academic and wellness counselors, and many more.
This year the Foundation decided to implement a PEF High School Ambassador program where seniors from both Peninsula and Palos Verdes high schools would come together to discuss ways of increasing awareness of the Foundation’s efforts in high school.
There are six ambassadors, Morgan Mitchell and Preston Ball from PVHS and Alison Kim, Liana Korotzer, Aishani Ramireddy and Nina Li from PVPHS.
Christine Byrne, PEF executive director, believes that the implementation of the new program will help to bring more awareness to its mission.
“Through (the student’s) activities, ideas and direct engagement on the school campuses, I know they are going to have some great ideas as to how to best reach both students and parents and educate them on what an impact PEF-funded programs have on the students in our district,” Byrne said.
“Parent support is vital to keeping PV schools vibrant and strong. It helps not only to sustain current programming, but also gives us resources to innovate and strengthen programs at all schools in the district” she said.
Currently, the majority of PEF’s funds are received from donations from families in the district as well as the parents of graduated students.
Local corporations and foundations also donate through fundraising events. One of the most prominent of these events is the annual Skechers Friendship Walk on Oct. 28. Last year, the total amount raised from pledges was $240,000.
The Main Event is also a major contributor. More than $300,000 was raised in the previous years. The Main Event’s goal this year is to raise around $3.1 million to be able to continue to give Chuck Miller grants to teachers, provide library aides as well as positions for teachers in all grade levels and more.
“I discovered the PEF ambassador opportunity via the Principal’s Update when they were looking for prospective seniors to help solidify the bridge between the Peninsula students and the PEF,” said Kim, one of the ambassadors.
“I quickly learned that some of the most integral aspects of our education comes from the PEF. The quality of the resources and learning environment at Peninsula would not be the same without its donations. PEF’s cause especially hits home for me because a portion of its budget goes to fund the annual Science Fair and has allowed me to participate for the fourth year now,” said Kim.
The most recent event put on by PEF was the One Last Summer Blast, which was a summer celebration before the start of the new school year. The Blast had music, food and a screening of The Sandlot.
PEF continues to create new events for families as well as provide for schools and the community. The ambassadors program will also continue to help students and parents alike to understand the goal and the work of PEF.
“As ambassadors, our goal is to raise awareness about what exactly PEF does throughout the year and show how impactful it is,” Ramireddy said. “Our job could range from attending a PEF fundraiser or even giving a speech/presentation at a back-to-school night about the role of the Foundation.
‘“I decided to participate in PEF because I thought that it would be a good way to meet new people from the district and gain exposure into a non-profit organization/marketing, which are the fields I would like to go into in college.” Ramireddy said.
“I also thought that it would be a great way to finish off my senior year at Peninsula and have a better understanding about how our district works,” Ramireddy said.
Marketing and Communications Director Diane Miller was the one who interviewed all the potential candidates about being a part of this program and introduced PEF to the seniors.
“It is our community’s commitment to public education and spirit of generosity that help to make the district so extraordinary,” Miller said.
“Each year, the gap between the cost of educating a single student and the funds received from state and local taxes grows. We rely on the generosity of parents, community and businesses to bridge this gap. Some people falsely believe that PEF only funds programs for elementary schools. We want to make sure that high school families understand that because of their generous donations to PEF, we are able to continue providing the best education possible for our kids,” she said.