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Diamonds are these girls best friend

Juliana D. Norwood | 4/24/2013, 5 p.m.

Founded in 2005 and incorporated in 2008, the Diamond in the Raw Foundation's mission is to introduce foster care and at-risk teen girls ages 12-18 to opportunities in the entertainment field while working to improve the gender imbalance that exists in the industry today. Diamond in the RAW provides a variety of workshops--held after school and during the summer months--that offer guidance, support, life skills development and myriad other benefits for youth who are at risk of not reaching their full academic, professional and/or human potential.

The organization serves as a deterrent to gang violence, date rape, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancy and abuse that often lead to destructive cycles in at-risk communities.

The organization accomplishes its mission through its HIP/N/SMART mentorship program, Sista2sista shadowing program, Concepts in a Box summer camp, community service, and numerous scholarship programs.

"Within our programs, we use creativity and the arts to inspire positive change and encourage those who are in doubt to find their own self-worth and believe in unlimited possibilities," said co-founder and 24-year veteran stuntwoman La Faye Baker. "We host a variety of fundraisers to support our mission, such as the Diamond in the RAW Celebrity and Stuntwomen's Awards Luncheon, which recognizes the extraordinary women behind the scenes in film and their accomplishments, and advocates for the recognition of more women in the field."

The foundation credits some of its accomplishments to collaborating with several other existing agencies such as the Gwen Bolden Youth Foundation, Los Angeles County Probation Department, GAPP Alternative Prevention Program, Los Angeles Unified School District, Neighborhood Youth Achievers and the Women in Film PSA Program.

"Our intent is to enhance and nurture at-risk youth by fostering their ambitions for future endeavors," said Baker. "We further visualize that by mentoring these individuals and sharing our experiences we can provide the necessary tools needed to achieve success inside and outside of the entertainment field.

On Friday, May 17, the Raw Foundation will collaborate with the National Sales Network L.A. Chapter's ninth annual Charity Golf Tournament to learn the importance of golf course networking, etiquette, and the 15-second self pitch.

This summer, the foundation will hold its Concepts in a Box Leadership and Film Summer Boot Camp for young girls ages 13-18. The program is designed to educate and teach inner-city girls about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) behind-the-scenes opportunities, and how to break into the field of entertainment. Participants will create, write, shoot, experience moviemaking, and meet and greet entertainment professionals from every aspect of film production.

The eight-week boot camp will run from the week of June 17 through the week of Aug. 15 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1-5:30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, 5840 La Tijera Blvd., Los Angeles. Orientation will be held on June 9.

During the camp, the girls will work on numerous projects, the final of which will be premiered at the 2013 Action Icon Awards Luncheon on Nov. 10, 2013.

Early registration for the program has already begun with a fee of $50 and will be open until June 9. Beginning June 10, registration will be $75.

For more information on the Diamonds in the Raw Foundation and/or the upcoming summer boot camp, visit the organization's website at www.diamondintheraw.com or call (800) 566-4714.