Southwest Airlines strives to be the hometown carrier that cares in all 72 cities we serve across 37 states. Today, we wrap up our exciting 1,600 ticket giveaway in honor of Southwest’s 40th anniversary where we’ve had the privilege of spreading the LUV even further to the communities we serve. Nonprofit organizations focused on community initiatives that concentrate on education, diversity, military, environment, and families facing serious illnesses had the chance to share their compelling stories and photos to explain how 40 roundtrip tickets would help them achieve their missions in the community. Today, we announce the final ten winners!
I along with my partner in crime, Community Affairs & Grassroots Manager Ana Schwager, had the opportunity to surprise one of our winning organizations—Soles4Souls located in Nashville, TN. They had no idea we were coming with 40 tickets to hand over to them personally to help them, just like our other 39 winners, further their community outreach. Check out the video—their reaction is priceless!
Congratulations to all 40 winners and for helping Southwest show LUV to our communities as we celebrate our 40th year of service! You can read more about our first 10 winners, second 10 winners, and third 10 winners on NUTS About Southwest.
Colorado I Have A Dream Foundation (CIHAD)
CIHAD provides cohorts of at-risk youth (“Dreamers”) with ten-plus years of comprehensive academic life-skills building support with the goal that these youth growing up in poverty will have choices for successful careers and work. CIHAD has been able to double the high-school completion rates for those who are typically the most disadvantaged children in low-performing elementary schools. When the Dreamers complete high school, CIHAD provides continued financial support for post-secondary education and training.
CIHAD will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to send Dreamers on college visits, educational group trips to D.C., and a trip to the National Dreamer Conference.
Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek
San Diego, CA
Groundwork is a nonprofit that engages San Diego’s underprivileged youth in service learning and community improvement projects. Groundwork partners with National Park Service Research Learning Centers to provide Green Team members with their first exposure to America’s wilderness. Students on the Green Team participate in citizen science and service activities, including habitat restoration and wildlife surveying. They bring the inspiration, knowledge, and skills they gain at national parks to projects in their communities.
Groundwork will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to expand citizen science research and educational opportunities for the Green Team members. The Green Team is working toward building an exchange at Biscayne National Park. Biscayne students would be hosted by the San Diego Green Team to study the effects of climate change at Cabrillo National Monument. San Diego students will return to Biscayne to study the impacts of climate change on that ecosystem, and the findings will be translated into a national appeal to students to embrace our nation’s climate challenge.
Louie’s Kids is dedicated to helping kids develop healthier lifestyles, overcome obesity, and become their very best selves. Louie’s Kids created a customized Fit Club in 2008, a 16-week program that works in partnership with local schools specifically for children who are obese or at-risk of obesity. In just three years, the Fit Club program comprised of exercise, nutrition, behavior modification, mentoring, and journaling has helped children change their lifestyles and lose more than 800 pounds combined.
The success of the Fit Club program inspired the creation of Run Buddies, which mirrors First Lady Michelle Obama’s Just Move initiative, which focuses on kids who are obese, at-risk of obesity, or simply interested in more physical activity.
Louie’s Kids will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to raise money to maintain and strengthen the Fit Club and Run Buddies programs as well as replicate these programs on a national scale in communities across the country.
Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
New York City, New York
NFTE’s mission is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities, and to plan for successful futures. To date, NFTE has worked with nearly 350,000 young people from low-income communities in programs across the U.S. and around the world.
Taking a look at one impactful story—Zoe was raised by her single mom who often turned to food stamps and living with relatives to make ends meet. Zoe was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early, selling homemade greeting cards and accessories in her neighborhood. Later she learned to sew, but not until her NFTE class did she turn her passion into a real business. Through NFTE, she learned to optimize her profits. She placed second in NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge and met President Obama. Zoe attends Northwestern University on a scholarship and continues to run and grow her business.
NFTE will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to send students just like Zoe and their chaperones to meet in person with a top entrepreneur in their field.
Service Employment Redevelopment (SER) Jobs for Progress National, Inc.
SER National makes a positive impact on families across America by addressing the needs of economically challenged individuals in education, job skills training, literacy, and employment. SER’s ultimate goal is to place its program participants into permanent, unsubsidized, and productive employment. For 46 years, SER has played a key role in the nation’s workforce investment and education systems, and is today recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as the “premier community-based organization serving the employment needs of the Hispanic community.”
SER will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to bring affiliates together for a strategic planning session to help communities grow faster, be better, and dream bigger in order to build a stronger America.
Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty. Soles4Souls has distributed more than 15 million pairs of shoes to those in need in 128 countries with more than half of the distributions in the U.S.
Soles4Souls will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to raise money to be able to distribute more shoes and help more people.
Y.O.G.A. for Youth (YfY)
Los Angeles, CA
YfY is dedicated to creating opportunities for youth to practice yoga and relaxation in schools, community facilities, shelters, and detention centers for more than a decade. YfY solely funds one of the most extensive yoga programs for juvenile detention facilities in the country. A recent study shows YfY’s programming significantly reduces stress and depression while increasing concentration and focus. These youth showed an increase in standardized test scores.
YfY will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to fly top-performing youth to train with a world-renowned yogi to become a YfY junior instructor. They will be paired with a mentor and given the tools and support needed to create a YfY group at their school/facility.
Enable America’s objective is to increase employment among people with disabilities in the U.S. Enable America’s VetConnect program assists disabled veterans and wounded warriors find employment and provide job-ready applicants to businesses. Along with the Veteran’s Administration and corporations committed to hiring America’s military heroes, Enable America will be hosting three “Job Seekers Workshops” in Tampa, Raleigh, and San Antonio, which provide participants job-readiness training on resume writing, interview tips, and job search tools. Each participant will be assigned an HR professional to serve as a personal “Career Coach.” Along with the workshops, all attendees will participate in a customized “Job Fair” where they will meet HR representatives from national corporations with positions to fill in a number of locations across the country.
Enable America will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to reach disabled veterans and wounded warriors from across the country who do not have the financial means to travel to participate in one of the three workshops.
Reach Out and Read
Reach Out and Read prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. Operating within the existing healthcare infrastructure allows Reach Out and Read unparalleled access to children beginning at six months of age while maintaining low overhead costs. At each well-child visit, pediatricians give children a new book to keep and give parents early literacy guidance, empowering them to be champions of their child’s education.
Reach Out and Read will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to send staff to program sites in order to continue delivering the highest quality program possible, ensuring that the 3.9 million children we serve in more than 4,600 sites nationwide have the chance to start school on grade level and ready to succeed.
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)
APIASF is devoted to providing scholarships for underserved Asian American & Pacific Islanders to give these students the resources to achieve their dreams. Many APIASF scholars are the first in their families to attend college.
APIASF scholars attend the Higher Education Summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss the college completion agenda, which highlights scholar experiences and achievements. APIASF will use the 40 roundtrip tickets to provide more scholars with the opportunity to participate in the summit.