THE CHAKA BELIEVES INITIATIVE
The Chaka Khan Foundation educates, inspires and empowers children in our community to achieve their full potential.† In 2005 the Foundation launched the Chaka Believes program with 50 students entering the 5th grade at Charles Drew Middle School in Los Angeles.† The goal was to help these children reach their potential through giving them the tools they need to succeed.† As our funding grows, the Chaka Khan Foundation will launch this program with other schools and in other cities.
Program Components: †
- Scholars Building Scholars Program.† The Chaka Khan Foundation strives to lessen the achievement gap for underserved students by providing the academic support they need to achieve grade-level proficiency.† On average, Los Angeles middle school students enter high school with a 4th grade reading level proficiency.† How can our children succeed if they canít even read at grade level?†
Through the Scholars Building Scholars program, the Foundation partners with the University of Southern California to provide tutoring twice a week to more than 60 children from South Central Los Angeles to help them obtain grade-level proficiency in reading and math.† In addition to the one-on-one tutoring, the students benefits from exposure to a prestigious collegiate environment.† We believe education is the key to lifelong success.
Building A Common Ground Program. Through the Building A Common Group program, the Foundation partners with local schools in different economic communities to create a forum for children of diverse backgrounds to come together on a common ground to explore, learn and gain an appreciation and understanding that although their life circumstances may be different, they share similar ideas and obstacles.† The students are brought together for a 2-day long workshop of connecting activities that allow them to build an appreciation for each other.† Together, the students create a diverse yet united voice for the change they want and need in their community.†† The program culminates with a collection of the studentís reflections transcribed and packaged for presentation to President Barack Obama as an indication of the power of change in our youth.†
Chaka Believes Experiences and Life Skills Workshops.† This program focuses on inspiring students by showing them what is possible and empowering them with the tools necessary to reach their dreams.† The Chaka Khan Foundation recruits business and entertainment leaders to provide unique experiences and mentoring opportunities.†
Students have been hosted in the past at Cedars Sinai, KABC-TV, The Body Expo at the California Science Center, CAA Talent Agency, The Peninsula Hotel, The Center for Early Education, Crustacean Restaurant, Rockwell Collins, Billy Blanks Fitness Studio, the Judge Judy Show, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, Bear Stearns and others.†
Life Skills workshops are held monthly with students and their families to prepare them on the pathway for college.† Workshops include goal setting and improving study habits, how to avoid drugs and gain involvement, nutrition, exercise and financial planning.
What is Autism?
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. Today, 1 in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person's ability to communicate and relate to others. It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe.
How We Help:
- Partnering with Existing Autism Organizations.† The Chaka Khan Foundation supports autism by partnering with existing autism organizations to help raise awareness and funds for programs that provide direct support.† Chaka Khan has used her time, talent and celebrity to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support autism research through participating in Cure Autism Now/Autism Speaks walk program.†
Spreading Awareness about Autism. ††Chaka Khan has spoken about autism to spread awareness on major media outlets including KABC-TV, the Ellen Degeneres Show, USA Today, and Spectrum Publications.†
- Providing Website Resources.† The Chaka Khan Foundation website provides a list of autism resources to connect families with useful services for their child.
Click here for Autism Resources