NASA Astronaut José M. Hernández Surprises Students at Animo Legacy Charter Middle School


 Dr. José M. Hernández Surprises 1,001 Students at the Opening of New Reading Nooks in Underserved Charter Middle School


Gordon Philanthropies, Inc. in collaboration with NASA Astronaut Dr. José M. Hernández surprised 1,001 students and staff members at Animo Legacy Charter Middle School, a Green Dot Public School, with a special appearance and an autographed copy of his book, Reaching for the Stars: The Inspiring Story of a Migrant Farmworker Turned Astronaut. Dan Gordon, founder of Gordon Philanthropies, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge and running LA District Attorney candidate Judge Craig Mitchell, and Dr. José M. Hernández came together at Animo Legacy to celebrate alongside students and teachers the joy, importance, and power of books and reading. The event also celebrated the opening and completion of 60 reading nooks made possible through the grant provided by Gordon Philanthropies.

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“It is an honor to have someone as inspirational as Dr. Hernández to support our mission to bring equitable education to all children. Our organization looks forward to partnering with Dr. Hernández and his foundation to continue providing educational opportunities that permit students to thrive and succeed not only academically, but in their personal lives as well.” shared Founder, Dan Gordon.

Retired NASA Astronaut Dr. José M. Hernández said, “I’m very happy and excited to form part of this project. I thank Gordon Philanthropies for their help in bringing my story to underserved communities as I believe that this will empower our kids to consider a career in the STEM field and come to see that no dream is too big enough.”

The reading nooks form part of Green Dot’s CA Empowered Reading Program Initiative sponsored by GP, which aims to promote the value of in class reading and supply students with access to books in hopes of improving student literacy.

Studies have demonstrated that whereas in high-income communities there are 13 books for every child, in high-poverty communities, this ratio drastically differs as there is one book for every 300 children. Furthermore, initiatives such as these set out to not only address the existent literacy gap but more importantly, endow all students with the opportunity to have access to reading materials.

Green Dot CA shares, “We are incredibly grateful for GP for their generosity in funding our Empowered Reading Initiative at Animo Legacy Middle School. this program provides critical support for developing a lifetime love for reading in our students. By empowering young readers, opening up access to diverse literature, and fostering a positive reading culture, this initiative enriches academic skills while expanding perspectives.

Through the grant provided by Gordon Philanthropies, Animo Legacy Middle School was able to furnish 60 reading nooks and replenish them with books for each classroom, creating unique and personalized reading space for students’ reading leisure for the years to come.

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