Meet Scarlet Foundation’s Co-President, Nicole Miller + Shade Structure Update
Nicole recently shared her SCVi experience and why the Scarlet Foundation is important for all SCVi families.
How long has your family been at SCVi and why did you choose it?
My son, Keane, started at SCVi when he was in Kindergarten (he’s now in 7th grade). He is a super curious kid and his preschool had a philosophy similar to SCVi. I learned about SCVi at an Earth Day Festival, and thought a school where the kids were allowed to learn at their own pace and to lead where the instruction was going sounded so great.
Keane could have been successful at a traditional school but at SCVi, he can speak with his facilitator to meet him where he is and keep him challenged. He doesn’t get lost. Everyone has always known him and made him feel accepted, like he’s part of the family. He doesn’t feel like just another number. When he goes to school, I feel confident that he is being supported and the lessons that we’re teaching at home are being reinforced at school.
How did you become involved with the Scarlet Foundation?
I first heard about Scarlet late in the summer before last school year. I understood it conceptually but I didn’t understand how it was going to work at SCVi or why we needed it. I previously ran the Junior Lego (robotics) program for a few years and I was involved in lower school theater and organizing events, and I was curious about how Scarlet would help in these areas so I took it upon myself to learn more by volunteering for different fundraising events we did last year and talking with Scarlet Board members. It was then that I began to understand its full scope and realized how amazing it was for a non-profit organization to raise money solely for the benefit of SCVi.
Building community is also a big aspect of what Scarlet does and I felt like I could be an asset or a bridge between what we had all known at SCVi and what the new normal could be. It’s important to me not just to build community but to enhance the community we have, allowing people to be who they are, and to grow and evolve and support all the kids at the school.
Part of the reason that I continue to support lower school theater is because it’s such a family and I want that to continue. It was through that experience that I thought I might be able to do something similar as Scarlet Co-President. That I might be able to support SCVi in this different way and to be able to support all of the kids. It is an amazing opportunity to do something different and challenging, and to be there as a parent and community member.
What do you want SCVi families to know about Scarlet?
The community piece is a big part of what’s important about Scarlet. Scarlet can inspire families to get together, to get to know each other, and to support the fundraising, knowing the funds are going to be used for the benefit of all our kids.
Over the years, we’ve had a need for different things (grass, shade, backyard beautification) and just were not able to provide for them financially. We did a lot of great things, but some things had been out of reach. With Scarlet, we are now able to do some of those things. Scarlet works really hard to think about fundraising opportunities and events that will be fun, and will give something back to people in return for their time and energy.
It’s important for more families to be involved because everyone’s experience is important and if the same people are the only ones who volunteer for most things, we’re not hearing from everyone. We need everyone’s voices.
What are some of Scarlet’s accomplishments and what are its goals for this year?
Raising $43,000 (via the Step it Up campaign for shade structure) last year was huge, along with the additional $20,000 that was raised through Annual Giving. We’ve never raised that much at SCVi before and it was exciting to start to see what we could accomplish together when we all invest. Scarlet also stepped up to be a conduit for the buses last year, without which many of the families from the Valley wouldn’t have been able to come to SCVi. Scarlet also provided $10,000 in starter funds for field studies to get the trips reserved in advance. We also create and sell spirit wear for the school, and have been able to help with instruments and specific things for classrooms.
Our fundraising goal this year is to raise $85,000 total, with $50,000 to update and replace technology, bringing us closer to a 1:1 ratio. The remaining $35,000 is for priorities given to us by the school, including funding for design tech facilitators across all grades, and subsidizing field studies, particularly overnights. We are also looking into adding water stations and water bottle refill stations.
What’s the best way for families to get involved?
We all care about our kids. We’ve all selected this school. We believe in the iLead philosophy and we all want the best experience possible for all the kids.
I think we can start with that and ask people to get involved in any way they can. Be present as much as you can: volunteer in the classrooms, chaperone field trips, attend and volunteer for events and talk to other families. Support what the school is doing. Donate to Annual Giving. If you can’t do that, just come to events, buy tickets and buy a few things, go to restaurant nights, all with the confidence that the money is going back to the school and enhancing the experience for everyone. Even parents of middle and high schoolers, get involved. They may not need as much help in the classroom, but they still need the presence of an adult who is not their facilitator. They need that positive influence and support. Help support other parents. Send things for parties or events or raffles. Know what is needed in the classrooms. Serve as a network to each other. Help the kids to understand what a community is and how it can serve everyone.
Shade Structure Update
We are still waiting for permits from LA County to be finalized. Once we get the approval, it should take approximately six weeks for the work to be completed. We know this is important to everyone so, in the meantime, we have put up temporary shade in several areas. We want to extend a big thank you to our facilities crew for setting them up and taking them down every day!