By Hayley Elwood, Chargers
What is usually reserved for gamedays was transformed for a ceremony, as 14 young scholars from the Bolt Academy successfully completed and graduated from the program.
“To take these 14 kids who worked so hard, went through the Academy, studied and fought hard, to graduate and come here today as part of game day is something I think that will affect their lives forever,” mentioned Chargers chief of staff Fred Maas. “For us to be part of that and see the smiles on their faces is something you can’t quantify. It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Presented by SoFi, Bolt Academy is a collaborative partnership between the Los Angeles Chargers Impact Fund, Inglewood Unified School District, and Brotherhood Crusade, a nonprofit building power in South L.A. for over 50 years, created to prepare students for careers.
Juniors and seniors from Inglewood high schools were invited to participate in the six month after-school program in which they learned leadership and job-readiness skills.
“As a naming rights partner for SoFi Stadium here in Inglewood, it was essential for us to support the community way beyond just putting our name on the side of a building,” added Margi Brown, SVP of marketing and media, SoFi. “Given the Chargers’ relationship with Brotherhood Crusade, it was a natural extension for us to join in and contribute to such an amazing program.”
“The Bolt Academy has given me experiences I typically wouldn’t be able to have,” added graduate Dante Reese. “The best part of Bolt Academy was the family that we built. We’ve come together every Wednesday for the past few months and in that time, we were able to build a family, be vulnerable with each other, share our stories with each other, and really connect with each other beyond this program.”
Next up for the graduates is an opportunity to work gamedays for the Chargers in the fall in a variety of different roles and areas.
To prepare them for that, students had headshots taken on Wednesday, received their gameday uniforms, took a tour of SoFi Stadium and even got to hear from Chargers Legend Marcellus Wiley.
“Today we are celebrating 14 amazing students who have completed our curriculum and they are gonna be working here at SoFi Stadium and have an opportunity to connect with caring adults that will provide them with opportunities to learn more about their careers,” said Dr. Erika Torres, county administrator & superintendent, Inglewood Unified School District. “Our students are gonna receive hands-on experiences and this is something I know will change their lives forever.”
“I’m looking forward to just being able to work at SoFi Stadium and work with the Chargers,” Reese added. “This is such an incredible opportunity that most people won’t be able to have, and for me, it’s really just being able to work with such a great organization. Who knows, this internship could lead to a potential career and that’s what I’m looking forward to most.”
SoFi helped the Chargers launch Bolt Academy through the It’s Good, for Good campaign in 2020 by pledging $1,000 after every successful Chargers field goal and PAT scored in SoFi Stadium. The It’s Good, for Good campaign resulted in a $30,000 SoFi donation to the Brotherhood Crusade. Earlier this year, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley surprised the students with the news that each of them would be receiving a free Microsoft Surface laptop which was made possible by the company’s donation.
Presented by SoFi, Bolt Academy is a collaborative partnership between the Los Angeles Chargers Impact Fund, Inglewood Unified School District, and Brotherhood Crusade, a nonprofit building power in South L.A. for over 50 years, created to prepare students for careers. On July 21st, the group came together at SoFi Stadium to celebrate the 14 young scholars from the Bolt Academy who successfully completed and graduated from the program.