Southland Credit Union Sponsors LAEF’s Fundraising Campaign

Thanks to our sponsors all Los Al kids can enjoy the wellness benefits of outdoor exercise

(Los Alamitos, CA) – Southland Credit Union sponsored the Los Alamitos Education Foundation’s (LAEF) “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” campaign at the $5,000 level.  The fundraising campaign replaced LAEF’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Gala, which Southland Credit Union has supported for the past 6 years.  Southland Credit Union has strong ties to LAEF, with two of its very own holding the title of King of Hearts – Matthew Herrick, Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Financial Services was crowned King in 2016, and President/CEO, Thomas Lent was crowned King in 2015. 

Southland Credit Union is a not-for-profit banking institution founded in 1936. It is one of the top performing credit unions in the country and has assets of $1 billion with more than 60,000 Member-owners.  Headquartered in Los Alamitos, Southland supports many local charities and events, including the Los Alamitos Race on the Base, the Los Alamitos Winter Wonderland at the Plaza and the State of the District.  Southland Members benefit from a full spectrum of competitive banking products, convenience, and exceptional service with nationwide access. Membership to Southland Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in all of Orange County and Los Angeles County. For more information on Southland Credit Union, visit their Los Alamitos Branch at 10701 Los Alamitos Blvd. or

Proceeds from LAEF’s Fundraising February for Los Al Kids will support the launch of the middle school Well Spaces, which provide mental health and wellness services at Oak and McAuliffe Middle Schools. LAEF donated $60,000 to build out the spaces and is working to develop programing and services in conjunction with district administration. Donations will also directly fund teachers for free elementary world language classes, which are taking place online for the 2020-21 school year and include Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, French and American Sign Language. The STEAM initiative and providing fee waiver scholarships for families in need continue to be areas funded by LAEF donor contributions.

LAEF Donates $45,000 for STEAM!

Pictured from left to right are Lee Principal Amy Vento, Weaver Principal Dr. Todd Schmidt, Oak Principal Erin Kominsky, McGaugh Principal Dr. Issaic Gates, Los Alamitos Elementary Principal Gary Willems, Hopkinson Principal Evelyn Garcia, LAHS Principal Dr. Gregg Stone, Rossmoor Principal Amy Coltey and McAuliffe Principal Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright.

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) was proud to donate $5,000 to each Los Alamitos Unified school campus this month, for a total of $45,000 to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) instruction across the district.

“Even during these trying times, LAEF is committed to its mission and continues to provide funding in critical areas impacting all students,” said LAEF Board Chair Tom Lent. LAEF has experienced a drastic drop in revenue this year due to limited class schedules and cancelled fundraising events, however the Board felt strongly about continuing these donations in the important area of STEAM.

LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue presented checks to all district principals last week and said, “It was amazing to see the gratitude from all of the school principals for this gift that will allow them to continue STEAM education even in the middle of an unprecedented year.” STEAM donations will help enhance and support programs on Middle and High School campuses and principals are committed to finding ways, even this year, to enhance and inspire student engagement in STEAM and Computer Science classes. At the elementary level, LAEF continues to partner with the “Friends of” groups at each school to provide students with an enhanced educational experience from credentialed teachers and help extend the STEAM Initiative across the district.

To date, LAEF has donated a total of $225,000 to support the salaries for Elementary School Media Center/STEAM teachers and a total of $97,500 to middle schools and LAHS to support STEAM programs.

The STEAM donations are due to the community’s support of LAEF’s King & Queen of Hearts campaign. The campaign ended on February 7th at the Royal Gala and raised over $135,000. The current Queen of Hearts is retired superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp. This year’s Royal Gala will look a little different with a Fundraising February campaign in lieu of a traditional gala. LAEF will continue to honor a member of our community with strong ties to the district and the foundation. With the community’s help, LAEF will continue to raise money for funding in critical areas.

LAEF Applauds Los Al USD Staff’s Courageous Efforts

Dr. Andrew Pulver presenting at the 2019 State of the District

Each fall, the Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) is proud to partner with Los Alamitos Unified School District’s Superintendent to host the annual State of the District breakfast event.  As with so many events in 2020, this year’s breakfast had to be canceled.  “We were holding out hope that the event could take place, but we are now officially canceling this year’s event due to the ongoing pandemic and gathering restrictions,” states LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue.

LAEF decided that, although it has been a very trying year, Los Al Unified staff has worked incredibly hard and has shown tremendous courage for the children of our community. With that in mind, LAEF compiled a video timeline for the community to view which shows how staff has risen to the challenge of a global pandemic and supported Los Al kids through determination, patience, and love.  It features dates, events, photos, and videos about school closures this spring and the reopening under a hybrid model this fall.  It is posted to the LAEF YouTube Channel and the LAEF website (

The State of the District breakfast is typically an opportunity to connect with community members and parents who are passionate about education and the district.  Even though the event isn’t taking place, Alamitos Eye Care has stepped up to support again this year and has been deemed the Legacy Sponsor.  They have been the title event sponsor since the event inception in 2014.

“Especially this time of year, we reflect on the many things for which we are thankful,” continues Logue, “On behalf of the LAEF Board of Directors and Staff, we appreciate and applaud the incredible efforts of the Los Alamitos USD School Board, Administration and Staff for their endless spirit of determination to teach, serve and support every Los Al kid!”

LAEF Donates $35,000 for Middle School Well Spaces!

LAEF presents a check to Oak Principal Erin Kominsky and McAuliffe Principal Ryan Weiss-Wright for construction of the Middle School Well Spaces.

 The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) was proud to donate an additional $35,000 last month for the construction of Well Spaces at both district Middle Schools – Oak and McAuliffe.  This donation, along with the $25,000 LAEF donated last year to the mental health department, makes a total of $60,000 donated by LAEF for this construction project.   This also marks the fourth year in a row that LAEF has made mental health a priority in funding.

A classroom has been transformed at each middle school to create the Well Spaces.  They are centrally located on each campus so students can easily access the space.  Psychologists, Guidance Counselors, and Mental Health Counselors will support students in the space, which will provide a calm, safe and supportive environment to assist students with issues (i.e., self-esteem, depression, peer relations, etc.) that impact their ability to achieve their highest potential. 

“Establishing a well space at McAuliffe fulfills a huge need for our school community. As we actively seek to provide education around social and emotional wellness, the creation of this physical space goes above and beyond what we could’ve dreamt of for this work,” said Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright, McAuliffe Principal.

The Well Spaces could not come at a better time.  With school shutdowns and COVID lockdowns, youth are dealing with more stress than ever.  The Centers for Disease Control surveyed Americans on their mental health at the end of June 2020 and young people seem to be the hardest hit group.  For ages 18-24, one in four respondents said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past 30 days.  Experts believe and early studies suggest that youth suicide and suicide attempts will increase, as it was already at a record high before the pandemic.   The loss of regular contact with peers and adults outside the home, something critical to a teenager’s development, has been disrupted.  Reports show that connectedness to school and community programs that help with coping and problem-solving skills can help with suicide prevention, which will be a function of the Well Spaces.

“The Well Spaces are a wonderful example of creating partnerships to greatly benefit our students,” said Grace Delk, Los Alamitos Director of Special Education and Mental Health.  “The Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) is providing the educational expertise, Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) provides the medical expertise and furnishings, LAEF provides the construction funding and ongoing operational costs, and our district staff facilitates the process and staff the spaces.  The Well Spaces will be a one-stop-shop to increase access to supports and decrease mental health stigma, and it wouldn’t be possible without this collaborative effort.” 

“The Oak staff and students are grateful for the newest addition of our Well Space on the Oak Campus.  This new student-centered space will support our efforts to promote social/emotional health for all students on campus,” said Erin Kominsky, Oak Principal.  “Our students have been instrumental in the design of this space and we are excited to watch their eyes light up as their visions become reality.   Thank you LAEF!”

This donation is possible because of LAEF’s major donor group: the Los Al Leadership Circle (LALC).  LALC members are distinguished, significant supporters of LAEF’s visionary work who commit to donating a minimum of $1,000 annually.  To learn more, please visit