From left are Tangela Cobb, K-1 Teacher; Maria Garcia, Preschool Teacher; Berna Ross, Preschool Teacher. (Courtesy photo)

Normandie Christian School (NCS) collaborated with Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Urban Initiative 2.0, Office of Alumni Relations, and the Diversity Council on behalf of the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP).

NCS, located on Normandie Avenue and Gage Avenue in South Los Angeles, has partnered with Pepperdine on many initiatives over the years.  On Sept. 10, the groups joined with more than 50 volunteers to commemorate Step Forward Day. Established over 30 years ago, Step Forward Day supports and connects members of the Pepperdine community who are committed to volunteerism and service.

The day was filled with food, music, games, prizes and family activities with the goal to support the students, staff and faculty at NCS for their new academic year. Through this collaboration, the Pepperdine family provided books and educational materials in order to enhance student learning and the academic experience.

From left are Jeanine Morrison, NCS Board Director; Diana Darty, NCS Board Vice President; Dr. Shanetta Weatherspoon, FGP Executive Director; and Natasha Foreman, NCS Board Director. (Courtesy photo)

NCS Principal Herbert Jones shared, “All of our instructional and supplemental materials were outdated. During the pandemic, we were using digital instructional materials that were useful in a remote learning environment. Moving out of the pandemic, we need auxiliary materials that will enhance the learning experience for our students.”

GSEP’s Urban Initiative 2.0 seeks to link community partners committed to understanding and addressing the mental health and educational issues of the underserved in Los Angeles and around the world. Expanding on existing partnerships and recognizing the need to address the growing socioeconomic challenges of two separate demographic groups, FGP was the perfect vehicle to fulfill the purposes of not only Step Forward Day with the GSEP Office of Alumni Relations, but also Urban Initiative 2.0.

Pepperdine has served as a sponsor of the FGP since 1972. The program originated at the first campus on 79th and Vermont. According to Principal Jones, “Foster Grandparents provide needed assistance in both of our preschool classrooms. The one-on-one instructional support for those students who are struggling or easily distracted is insurmountable. We are able to assign those students a Foster Grandparent and as they work on their assignments, those students are a little more focused and dedicated to completing their work.”

From left are Herbert Jones, NCS Principal; Dr. Renee Dorn, GSEP Alumni Relations Director; and Bernice Pitts, Honorary Director of NCS. (Courtesy photo)

Bernice Pitts, honorary director of NCS and Pepperdine alum from Class of 1949, and Barbara Lockert, former NCS board member and Pepperdine alum from Class of 1970, participated in the Step Forward Day community gathering.

NCS’s board members in attendance included Diana Darty, vice president; Jeanine Morrison, director; Natasha Foreman, director; and Angela Jones, parliamentarian.  Dr. Stanley Talbert, senior minister of Normandie Church of Christ, also joined the festivities.

Many people attended the event. (Courtesy photo)

Attendees enjoyed linedancing, food catered by IAMCHEFKEV, LLC, snow cones, life-sized games and lots of music.

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