how we started
The thought had been lingering for years, Morenita consistently conceptualized lets.give for what seemed her entire life, but the time never seemed quite right. "When I start my own non-profit..." was a part of her daily vocabulary & community service was a part of her family's lifestyle. One day after some major milestones were behind her, she decided it was time to actually make it happen. A date was picked and a couple of close friends were selected. Naomie had known Diego since Freshman year orientation and an intimate connection occurred. Naomie wanted Diego to be her right hand & her rock in this endeavor, so she called on him first and asked if he'd be interested in taking a go at this. The intro meeting was set & Diego brought two friends Dion & Joe. Naomie met Hanna in summer school years before & never quite kept in touch but Naomie's spirit called on her & an invite was extended. Having gone to elementary school with Gio & Xavi they were family & a staple of sorts. An agenda was created, texts were sent to a couple of other friends and the ball was rolling. We discussed our why, what the goals were & what the vision was. At the end of the meeting, we asked everyone to bring 2 friends to "Orientation" & to really explore their personal commitment levels. "Orientation" was held two weeks later with a total of 16 people & then & there the first event was planned. We had officially gotten started.
The bottom line
Within its first year of inception, this movement that has directly fed thousands of homeless throughout Los Angeles, Michigan, North Dakota, San Francisco, Houston & even globally in Guatemala. Lets.Give provided sneakers to middle-schoolers of need in Watts, CA, drove to Bakersfield to provide over 6,000 articles of clothing to migrant farmers, engaged in arts & crafts with their children, provided hundreds of toys, books, to kids in South Central, delivered an Arts Collective night to the inner city, built gardens & murals in neighborhoods of need, provided healthy, organic foods to children with limited access and so much more!
Every single month since November 2015, our collective GIVES, not just once a month, not by dropping off in shelters, not by donating money to large institutions but by personally delivering services with a smile, by ensuring every dollar raised was received, by planning from scratch, gathering helping hands, mobilizing generations, selecting partners & sharing our love.
This is not a school club which meets for 30 minutes over lunch, this organization requires an enormous amount of sacrifice and dedication during personal time, hundreds deliver high impact hours & redefine community.
All donations are used directly to benefit our community. There are no paid employees as a part of Lets.Give. Each dollar donated from our network is spent in the community, feeding, buying supplies, providing goods & services with a purpose of impacting youth with cultural, community and global initiatives...not sporadically but consistently.
Naomie "Morenita" Coronado, Creator & Director of Culture
"My initial mission with Lets.Give consisted of two things. The first is creating a grand platform of unification, between all races, religions, and sexual orientations of the millennial age group. The second, and why I specify millennials, is because I want to break the stereotypes that steady research has shown. I want to prove that we do care, and boy does my team care. This isn't just an ordinary school club, and my team isn't doing this for college credits. They're doing it because they want to, they want to bring change, and they truly want to see a difference. I'm the second generation, and my grandma is a true rags to riches novel. Whenever she tells stories she always ends it with "that's why I help so much, I give to people what wasn't given to me" this is why I give. It's the principle in which I was raised on. When people are privileged we lose sight of struggle and the people who struggle. Just because we don't struggle it doesn't mean it's not happening. We need to wake up and realize that it is real, and in every way we can help, we must. So, I called my friends and we started a movement; all of us, as one."
Diego Gonzalez, Founder
"Lets.Give is my outlet, my getaway, my home. I know that whenever I am with my fellow members I will not be judged, but embraced warmly, and enlightened by their creativity. I'm usually the first to arrive and the last to leave both events and meetings because I want to savor every last second in paradise. Nai and I first met at Warrior welcome, our school’s freshmen orientation, and she announced to our group that she was from a familiar middle school; so I felt as if we were meant to be friends coming from the same area. It wasn't until I had a crush on her skater friend that we became much closer. Our friendship has really been put to the test over the last few years, so when she asked me to join her movement it was the perfect way to tie mends and continue building the love we share for making the world
Hanna, Co-Founder, Vice President of Marketing
"I knew Naomie, the founder of Lets Give, through school. I was enrolled in a summer course and we had become acquaintances. A few months after the course had ended she contacted me out of the blue briefly explaining an idea she had for a club and I was intrigued by the idea of a volunteer organization outside of school, so I decided to check it out. The first meeting was very foreign to me, but right away I felt connected. I realized that I was surrounded by high schooler's who genuinely wanted to make a difference in their community. I could see true potential from this idea as I sat in a small living room with about 8 other strangers. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and help make this club into the amazing group it is today. Since that day I cannot articulate the immense joy I have felt through our numerous accomplishments. I have grown so much and every day I become more of the person I strive to be thanks to these strangers who have taken the role of mentor, friend and family. I am committed to Lets.Give because there is no place I would rather be."
Dinhan Pham, Co-Founder
"I knew Diego through mutual friends and got to know him better this year because he was in one of my classes and helped me out with a club of my own at school. I didn’t know Nai prior to LetsGive, but I’m truly glad that this group provided me the chance to do so. I was able to meet not only her but also a great number of people that I have gotten pretty close to. When Diego first brought up the idea of a group connecting kids from various backgrounds and various high schools all for the purpose of doing good, I was really interested. During that very first Lets.Give meeting when Alma spoke of what LetsGive would be capable of, that’s when I knew that I wanted to be a part of this group. As a member of Lets.Give from the very beginning, I love the fact that we’ve been able to do so much in so little time. When I’m working with Lets.Give, I’m not working with random people for the hours. I’m working with people that I enjoy volunteering with because of the friendships we’ve made, and I don’t doubt that these
relationships will carry on after high school as well."