Annual fundraiser helps make after-school programs possible
Hands for Hope (H4H) is an after-school and single-parent resource program based in the North Hollywood music and arts district. H4H serves predominantly low-income minority youth by providing a safe and supportive environment where at-risk youth are nurtured and given room to evolve.

“When our kids walk into the doors of H4H, we help them with homework, build their self-esteem with activities in the arts (music lessons, dance, painting, photography etc.), provide them with a healthy snack, and even teach them how to effectively manage money,” said founder and executive director Lydia Floyd. “Our program is unique because it’s geared toward assisting single parents with children ages 9-19, where after school programs are scarce. H4H provides an alternative for our future leaders and resources for their parents.”

H4H has a number of different programs geared toward helping these youth and their parents. The youth program, which is tailored specifically for students ages 8-14, meets five times a week from 3-6:30 p.m. and during that time youth are given academic assistance, healthy lifestyle programs, arts exploration and life skills development training.

The teen program, which is for students ages 15-21, meets three times a week in 12-week sessions and during this time the young people focus on college and career planning; driver’s education; financial literacy; and advanced level tutoring and enrichment programs.

In addition to all of these activities, Hands for Hope also hosts a quarterly “Helping Hands Networking Resource Fair” for single parent, which gives them information and useful resources on child care, child support mediation, employment information, as well as including workshops on improving credit, buying homes, and going back to school.

To help underwrite the cost of their activities Floyd said the organization hosts the Starlight Jazz Serenade each year. This event is a big part of why the nonprofit is able to provide services to these families.

“H4H brings together some of the brightest stars in smooth jazz with the community’s elite to shine in one evening of great entertainment. The concert attracts attendee’s not only from the San Fernando Valley, but also from the city of Los Angeles and the surrounding counties. This is one night where those who love great music can come together for a good cause,” said Floyd on the organization’s website.

The 11th annual Starlight Jazz Serenade will showcase an outstanding lineup of jazz musicians and entertainers and takes place Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences located at 5220 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.

The fundraising program encourages the community to participate and to contribute by gathering jazz lovers, professional musicians, and celebrities to come together to support the academic, artistic and social enrichment programs provided by Hands for Hope for at-risk youth.

The fundraiser is open to the general public and tickets are $40 for general admission and $75 for VIP admission, which includes a pre-concert reception with the artists. Tickets can be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com and at www.hands4hope.org, where you can also get more information on the organization.