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Actress, educator and founder of “A Day In The Life,” Nakia Burrise-Gavino
Actress, Nakia Burrise-Gavino continues to inspire, educate and motivate youth.
After playing Tanya Sloan, the Yellow Ranger on the hit TV series, Power Rangers, and starring in many guest roles on shows such as Nash Bridges, Moesha, Boston Legal and more recently 90210 and Rules of Engagement, actress and educator, Nakia Burrise-Gavino is continuing to make an impact with her non-profit organization, A Day in the Life (ADITL).
"A lot of my students were affected by the things that were happening in their community," said Burrise-Gavino. "A lot of them just seemed really hopeless and felt like there was not going to be anything for them in the future."
That was the main motivation for Burrise-Gavino and her husband, Nick Gavino, in starting the (ADITL) program. Founded in 2006, the 501(c) organization is a grass-roots program for inner-city youth.
The busy actress works as a substitute teacher within the LAUSD and has worked within the Watts district. ADITL has operated at Lovelia P. Flournoy Elementary School in Watts, from 2006 until 2008, 107th St Elementary School, Manchester Elementary and Hyde Park Elementary, now called YES (Young Empowered Scholars) Academy.
"There is a huge opportunity gap that lies within lower income and even middle class," said Burrise-Gavino. "Children need to be exposed to life opportunities or else their dreams are very limited."
Burrise-Gavino felt the need to help her students see beyond their circumstances and took action. It started as a series of van trips that she gave as a graduation gift to her 5th graders. What started out as a gift morphed into something else all together when she realized that what she did for her class, needed to be shared with other children.
"I felt like God led me to start A Day In The Life," said Burrise-Gavino. “He, God, gives through me an opportunity to bless 4th and 5th graders by exposing them to opportunities that are not readily accessible in their community."
ADITL offers weekly activities, along with monthly field trips, to engage the kids in a variety of self-esteem building projects. Each month has a different theme that highlights the activities. Burrise-Gavino exposes the kids to different careers, colleges, communities and many other things.
"With the activities that they have," said Burrise-Gavino, "we make everything hands on where they're creating and they get a chance to live one day in the life of that career person that we're studying for that month."
Burrise-Gavino believes in the power and inspiration ADITL offers youth in underserved communities. She is looking forward to starting ADITL again and taking it to some newer locations.
“Now we may move [ADITL] to [the] Inglewood [School District],” said Burrise-Gavino. “I see a need that’s going on there.
“This previous year, [ADITL] was inactive— but we plan on bringing it back this year.”
She is looking to find a way to merge ADITL programs into schools so teachers can be apart of the program as well. “I think [ADITL] would be better if it was implemented in their [curriculum] at some point,” said Burrise-Gavino.
Burrise-Gavino shared that a former student, who was in the ADITL program, had a more positive outlook on life and her future.
“I actually was speaking to a parent, a few months back and his daughter was apart of our program,” said Burrise-Gavino. “When she went through the program, socially she was [introverted] and after the program, she became a lot more social.
“[She] was more interested in things outside her community and he said,’I think your program really helped out a lot.’”
She added, “I’ve seen changes in kid’s attitude—the exposure of them knowing that…there’s a whole world to explore,” made a difference in their lives.
This multi-talented, actress, educator and mother is taking the time to give back to the community in a special way. Hopefully, ADITL will become a program that can be implemented in schools everywhere.
For more information on A Day In the Life or how you can help, please visit http://nakiaburrise.wix.com/a-day-in-the-life. For further information on Nakia Burrise, visit http://www.nakiaburrise.com/.