April 17th, 2017 by TOMS

Name:  Laurie Flenner
Job Title:  Service Delivery Manager – IT
Tomorrow’s Project: “Anything Can Be” Fund
Tagline:  Extracurricular Scholarships for children in need in Culver City, CA

Tell us about your Tomorrows Project?
My Tomorrows Project is focused on creating the “Anything Can Be” Fund in Culver City, CA. The “Anything Can Be” Fund provides approximately 30 local students with scholarships to participate in programs like soccer, piano, dance or martial arts, that develop skills and empower them to succeed. I believe that every child should have the opportunity to participate in these valuable extracurricular activities, however they can often be cost-prohibitive.

What is the “Anything Can Be” Fund?
The “Anything Can Be” Fund is a scholarship program for skill-building activities for children ages 5-17. Scholarships are granted for activities that provide opportunities for leadership and self-expression, and build confidence. Activity providers can apply for scholarships for potential students on the “Anything Can Be Fund” website.

What inspired you to create this program?
As a mother and a former school teacher, I have felt a divide between the “Haves” and “Have-nots” in our schools and communities.  There are the kids who take piano lessons, compete in the soccer tournaments, perform in the dance recitals, and get black belts. And there are those kids whose families simply can’t afford to pay for these activities.  These experiences build confidence, teach kids how to overcome adversity, and show them how to persevere to accomplish great things.  These extracurricular activities give children who might struggle in an academic setting a chance to fuel their fire for success. I believe that all kids should have access to this empowering opportunities.

In my experience, most piano teachers, dance instructors, and sports leagues provide some scholarships out of their own pockets and sometimes through fundraising.  But most of these small businesses and/or volunteer organizations have limited funds. They would love to provide more kids with these opportunities if only more scholarship funds were available. The “Anything Can Be” Fund has the exciting opportunity to free up resources for these organizations and offer access to important, character-building experiences for children in need.

Who has benefitted from the “Anything Can Be fund” so far?
The first scholarships have been awarded to Nathaniel and Mila, dance students at Blue8 dance studio in Culver City, CA. Nathaniel and Mila are very excited to begin their new dance classes. According to her mother, “Mila has had a passion for dance and the arts since she could walk and talk.  She is very coordinated, graceful and talented and will benefit greatly from this program.  This program will enhance and increase her skill level so she can continue to be supported and grow. She is very excited.” More scholarships for sports, music, and scouting activities will be awarded in the coming months.