By Marine Yanikian-Sutton
Bancroft Middle School
This is a tale about two people.
The first is a child named Tanya Hopkins, a 14-year-old living in the inner city and studying at Bancroft Middle School. She has has developed a community project that far exceeds the reach of a child.
The second is a man, Rikki Mendias, who has embraced community activism as his life-long calling. Through his nonprofit organization, Hav-A-Sole, he has provided thousands of needy individuals with the shoes they need to proudly walk through life.
Earlier this month, Tanya and Rikki met and discovered that they had more than just giving in common. Both had experienced the challenges of living on the streets, of needing the simple things in life, like love, and understanding. Rikki’s nonprofit organization partnered with Bancroft Middle School, helping guide Tanya and her mentor teacher, Alejandra Hernandez, to support and run a “Toys from Tanya” drive, collecting badly needed toys for the Midnight Mission.
Hav-A-Sole shared news of Tanya’s campaign through its Instagram and Facebook sites. Los Angeles needs to know that learning doesn’t just happen through the pages of a book, but also takes place when inspired souls come together to make communal change in a community.
Although she no longer lives with the mission community, Tanya has not forgotten what she received while she was a part of it and is determined to continue to support those who are.
The “Toys for Tanya Drive” will run through Friday, Dec. 18. Toys and educational supplies for children ages 2-12 can be dropped off at Bancroft Middle School, 929 N. Las Palmas Ave.