Multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning star of This Is Us, Jon Huertas will both be honored at the Los Angeles Team Mentoring (LATM) 21st annual Soiree celebration with the annual Humanitarian Award and Dream Big Award, respectively.

The Aerospace Corporation will also be honored with the Outstanding Service to the Community Award. Twenty-seven years after its inception, LATM, Los Angeles’ pioneering non-profit organization guiding middle school students from challenging urban neighborhoods to reach their full potential and develop their leadership skills, is celebrating its Anniversary at the gala, taking place on the evening of Thursday, October 3rd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

“Soledad and Jon are two shining examples of achieving your dreams and are incredible role models for our students,” says Maria Melton, Executive Director of LATM. “While Soledad’s reporting on world events has earned her numerous awards, her dedication to philanthropy truly exemplifies the spirit of the Humanitarian Award, especially through the PowHERful Foundation, which Soledad created to provide mentorship, wraparound support and financial assistance to get young women to and through college. Jon Huertas’ own story of perseverance, from his commitment to his country through years of service in the US Air Force, then following his dream by earning a degree in and pursuing theatrical arts, is a story we know our students can look up to and why we wanted to honor him with the Dream Big Award. From his years on ABC’s Castle to NBC’s This Is Us, Jon continues to be a great source of diverse representation in mainstream media, which is so important to inspire our students. We are also thrilled to honor the Aerospace Corporation, a national non-profit at the forefront of space exploration that addresses complex problems across the space enterprise and other areas of national significance. Aerospace has proven its commitment to social responsibility since its inception, with employees contributing resources, time, and money to educational, social, and environmental programs.” adds Ms. Melton.

In 1992, LATM launched its first after-school mentoring program at Horace Mann Middle School, located in South Los Angeles. Its team-based mentoring model, developed by the Princeton Center for Leadership, was instituted to train and encourage that leadership, the benefits of which have long been helping to modify the effects of gang activity, violence, poverty and high drop-out rates of young people.

Since its inception, the organization has impacted the lives of 27,000 young people through 2.7 million hours of after school mentoring. The organization focuses on the critical non-school hours – after-school, weekends and summers – to ensure that students have a safe and structured programming and access to trusted adult role models. Youth enroll in LATM’s program in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. Although LATM does not provide tutoring, students in the program not only earn higher grades—but go on 4 years later to graduate at a 22% higher rate— in spite of 29% of those same students coming from homes where neither parent has graduated from high school. In addition, 100% of LATM youth have increased self-esteem — giving them the critical foundation they need to dream big and succeed at all things in life.

LATM’s annual Soiree is the organization’s signature fundraising event, which ensures over 330 volunteer mentors are able to provide critical mentoring services to over 1,300 at-risk youth for an entire school year. The event sells out each year through sponsorships and support of dedicated organizations. This year’s presenting sponsors include Live Nation, TPG Real Estate, Latham & Watkins are joined by Keenan & Associates, Dolby, Banc of California, Goldman Sachs, Greenspoon Marder, Ernst & Young, Nickelodeon, Deluxe, Row8, and many more.

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