By Emily G. Peters
Treasure Little Children (TLC) is more than an organization: it’s a community effort whose ultimate goal is as much a call to action as it is a familiar acronym.
TLC is a not-for-profit organization “dedicated to enriching the lives of those in need by providing educational assistance and classroom renovation.” For their volunteers, that means equipping classrooms with donated computers, books, school supplies and craft materials. Though these materials may seems like a given, for many children they’re still precious commodities. In California alone, 2 million children live in poverty—the highest child poverty rate in the nation.
TLC actively fundraises and applies for grants designed explicitly to assist students in need. In 2016, Treasure Little Children was awarded the Yes, Virginia grant, a fund established in 1994 to help nonprofits provide toys, books, gifts and events to uplift and enrich the lives of local schoolchildren. One of TLC’s most successful events is their annual holiday party, where they invite community children and their families for a day of food, fun and a visit from Santa himself. For TLC’s executive director Jules Marcogliese the growth has been slow, steady and satisfying.
“Our first party was for the homeless and those in transitional housing at Union Station in Pasadena. I think we had around 35 children in those days,” said Marcogliese. “This past year’s event had over 540 register and outgrew the space at the Pasadena Humane Society.”
Yet their efforts are about meeting not just material but emotional needs. The organization recognizes the risk of disadvantaged children falling into crime, addiction and gang violence, their frustration potentially emerging as future bitterness towards society. “The TLC foundation provides the means and resources in an attempt to soften this bitterness by any means possible,” Marcogliese shared from their “Goals and Purposes” statement. “We strive to provide customized help according to the needs of the individual or the family.”
TLC also looks to prepare young students for success in college by easing their future financial burden. “We try to provide as many $1,000 scholarships as possible, usually governed by the amount of money we are able to raise throughout the year,” said Marcogliese. “Last year we gave out eight scholarships to Pasadena City College.” And as a fully volunteer-led program with no administrative expenses, every dollar raised goes directly back to the kids—allowing donors to feel confident their cash is making the greatest impact possible.
Like any non-for-profit organization, involvement from others is crucial. TLC enjoys support from some prominent grants from Disney, Smart and Final and Yes, Virginia, but success is found at the granular level, too. “We raise money by word of mouth and donations from friends,” explained Marcogliese, “but we can always use volunteers and help in fundraising.” For those in Arcadia and beyond, consider that an open invitation.
Treasure Little Children is located at 330 Warren Way in Arcadia. Learn how you can help underserved students in your own community at www.treasurelittlechildren.org | (626) 574-9409 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow them on Facebook @treasurelittlechildren.