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Our February City Impact Lab took place at Lauren Schlau Consulting in downtown LA where heard from Vanessa Delgado, Founder and Managing Partner of Azure Development, and Mike Hoyer, Executive Director of AYSO. Here’s a snapshot of what they had to share with us…

Vanessa Delgado

My grandmother was my source of inspiration. In the ‘80s there was a large immigration influx from Zacatecas and my grandma had ten kids. She never worked outside the home and I still don’t understand how she always had the ability to feed people as they came through. There was always at least one or two people outside when I came home from school. They could shower, get a change of clothes, and a coat.

I remember one of the few conversations I got to have with her – she had ten kids and there were several dozen of us grandkids. I was nine years old and anxious to go outside and play with my cousins but she told me she wanted to talk to me about using the gifts I was given in life to help others. It was how she led her life and impacted so many people and she said that it was my responsibility to do the same. She died four years later and that was one of the only private conversations I ever got to have with her but it made a lasting impression.

I’ve since focused my career on community development and building places that are beautiful without gentrification. I work mostly in the Latino community and have built projects in California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado.

Mike Hoyer

I am a steward. I am a steward of something I grew up with. I am a steward for those volunteers that are here. I am a steward for ensuring that our program is always community up, not top down. Without local engagement, we don’t survive. The impact we need to make is grassroots and that’s one of the reasons you’ll hear us transform ourselves into what we’re gonna be calling the grassroots soccer element. I’ll start with Winston Churchill. “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”

In and around here, within a 20 mile radius, there are 60,000 kids in programs supported by probably close to 20,000 volunteers. We have lots of other locations to run, but we’re very California based. Specifically in Los Angeles and other urban communities, our reach boils down to three things; affordability, accessibility and transportation.

Our thanks to Lauren Schlau Consulting for hosting us and providing a wonderful pastry spread for attendees, and we look forward to seeing you all at our next monthly lab!