Our 28th annual Beat the Odds® awards gala will be held Thursday, Dec. 6 at the Skirball Center. We will be honoring five amazing youth who continue to overcome obstacles in their lives.
Ian Leui, Carson High School
My parents divorced while I was a toddler, setting off a rollercoaster of events that greatly impacted me and my five siblings. Then my mom started using crystal meth. As our living conditions deteriorated, my dad took us. It took time but now I average a 3.9 GPA. I plan to graduate from a four-year university in honor of my family.
Jazmin de Luna, Theodore Roosevelt High School
I am from a country where hope never dies. My parents worked very hard to support our family of four but they were still unable to afford to send me to school. I know what I’m capable of. There is no adversity big enough to break my drive or spirit. I should stop calling my goal of going to college a “dream” because it will be my reality.
Manuel Lopez, Belmont High School
When I was 10, I was diagnosed with fibrous dysplasia, a disorder which causes scar-like tissue to develop in place of my bones thus making them weaker than most. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Regardless of my circumstances and the odds seemingly stacked against me, I will continue to beat them.
Samantha Galindo, Robert F. Kennedy School for Visual Arts & Humanities
Before I was 3, my dad was in and out of jail. The abuse my mom suffered from my dad led to their separation and life became even more difficult. My continuous struggles have forced me to work harder. When I graduate from college with a medical degree, I plan to travel to developing countries to provide health care to those in need. It is also a way for me to see a world full of diversity, struggle and hope.
Samarea Johnson, Antelope Valley High School
When I was 9-years old my father died due to an extremely rare condition, heart cancer; and that is when everything about my life changed. Through the turmoil – including bouncing around from different homes of relatives and a period of homelessness – I found some stability. I will not allow the circumstances of what I went through stop me or determine my future
As always, documentaries of each honorees will be shown at the gala. We want to send a special thanks to those who directed the documentaries this year including Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Dallatore and Ciara Renée Harper, Chiké Okonkwo, Gabrielle Sidibe and Rutina Wesley.
To sponsor or purchase a ticket to this year’s gala, go to http://bit.ly/theybeattheodds28 or contact SB Events at (310) 559–9334 ext. 102. To learn more about the CDF Beat the Odds program, visit our website at staging.cdfca.org.