For the LOVE of learning!

Human connection.  Empathy.  Gratitude.

These were the three topics that 80 students from Figueroa Elementary explored with Nadine Heimann, founder of True Connection.  These subjects aren't traditional in the "common core" standards, but to Heimann, they are absolutely crucial for a young child to learn more about.

On Tuesday, April 8th, we held a Love2Learn party at Figueroa, which featured learning activities from True Connection, a pizza party from DOUGH Pizzeria, and a book giveaway from Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

Nadine Heimann, along with five volunteers, led the students in four classrooms in different activities.  True Connection's curriculum "steers a natural self-discovery and self-healing process for students of many ages and backgrounds, improving the over-all quality of their mental and physical well-being, helping to resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress and increase self-esteem."

In one group, students created "Gratitude Flowers", using petals to write what they are thankful for.  Another room worked on coloring "gingerbread men" cutouts which ultimately were a representation of the students.  The cutouts were then pasted on a banner, connecting all the students with the statement "I am connected to you, you are connected to me, we are connected to everything."

After the learning activities, a couple of very special guests delivered a little suprise to all the students: a pizza party.  Alex Ganjian, owner and founder of DOUGH Pizzeria, along with Donna Galdjle, arrived at Figueroa with over 20 pizza boxes.  Ganjlan graciously donated the pizzas from his newly-opened West Hollywood restaurant, which including delicious slices of margherita, sausage, and--the most popular--pepperoni.

To top off the day, kids were led to a table where a variety of books were laid out, which were all donated by Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.  The foundation, founded by Ella herself, aims to enrich the lives of others by fostering the love to read and listen to music.  For this occasion, each student had a chance to choose one book to take home.

Overall, the party was a tremendous success, encompassing the "Love2Learn" and the love to give back.