LOS ANGELES, June 23, 2021 — Charlamagne Tha God, multi-media mogul and founder of the Mental Wealth Alliance, is furthering his efforts towards mental health outreach, care, and generational support for Black communities by presenting this year’s graduating class of local foster youth with scholarships and resources at the 2021 Virtual High School Graduation & Scholarship Award Celebration, sponsored by the LA County Independent Living Program (ILP). This event, in partnership with the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County Department of Children & Family Services, Los Angeles County Department of Probation, Faithful Central Bible Church, and IndieFlix Foundation, took place on June 22, 2021, and was livestreamed on YouTube at 11:00am PST. Charlamagne was joined by presenters and speakers including Tiffany Haddish, Keke Palmer, Danny Trejo, and more to recognize this exceptional graduating class.
“Doesn’t matter what your current circumstances are, all anyone needs to change those circumstances is opportunity and resources,” said Charlamagne. “I have to thank Tiffany for making me aware of what foster kids go through and I want kids in the foster care system to know that we see them and we are here to be of service to them. Thank You GOD for blessing me to be a blessing.”
A passionate advocate for increased access, education, programming, and legislation for Black mental health, Charlamagne is honored to present scholarships to five students seeking to pursue mental health as a profession. The recipients include students who will attend Dickenson College, Cal Lutheran University, and California State University’s Northridge, San Bernardino, and Dominguez Hills campuses, and will help support their studies as they work towards majors in Psychology, Social Work, and/or Political Science/Sociology.
The five students will also receive free virtual therapy sessions, and a 6th student will receive both a scholarship and free virtual therapy sessions sponsored by the non-profit AAKOMA Project, an MWA partner. AAKOMA builds the consciousness of Youth of Color and their caregivers to recognize and place importance on mental health, to empower youth and their families to seek help and manage mental health, and to influence systems and services to receive and address the needs of youth of color and their families.
MWA is one of six organizations bestowing scholarships, in addition to other grants this year’s 334 graduates will be receiving. In order to qualify for the celebration, students must have maintained a minimum GPA of 2.8, committed to continuing their education at a four or two-year college, and satisfied requirements including application and essay submissions. The 2021 celebration is being combined with additional student applicant groups. All 334 graduates will receive a Director’s Incentive ranging from $500 to $3,000 for their accomplishments.
The virtual event was the 33rd annual celebration recognizing outstanding young people who have overcome tremendous odds. Typically, the young people are afforded hair, makeup, wardrobe, and a rousing live event, but due to COVID, this year’s event was virtual. Through this event, the ILP seeks to change stereotypes, noting that while only 50% of foster care youth nationwide graduate high school, this year’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian each have GPAs that exceed 4.30. This year’s program featured appearances by Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Bobby Cagle, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. The keynote speaker was an ILP alumni who completed her undergraduate and law degrees, and who is currently studying for the California State Bar in pursuit of her law career in restorative justice.