CAMP HILL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Rite Aid Foundation announced today that Maria D’Angelo, founder and president of The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation (The CLF) in Santa Monica, Ca., has been awarded its KidChamp Award. Ms. D’Angelo was recognized for her ongoing commitment to transforming the lives of homeless and at-risk children and families in Los Angeles. In recognition of her service, Ms. D’Angelo accepted a $10,000 donation and $500 in Rite Aid gift cards from The Rite Aid Foundation on behalf of The CLF during a special ceremony at Malibu City Hall.
Since founding The CLF with her own funds in 1993, Ms. D’Angelo has led the nonprofit in serving more than 85,000 homeless and at-risk children and families through academic, social, and domestic support. The CLF has helped to transition 50 families from shelters into new homes, and distributed millions of dollars in brand new, in-kind goods and direct services to hundreds of additional families. Additionally, over 55 college scholarships have been awarded to at-risk teenagers across Los Angeles, some of whom were the first members of their families to attend college.
Ms. D’Angelo is the seventh recipient of the KidChamp Award. The Rite Aid Foundation created the KidChamp Award in 2017 to recognize individuals in communities served by Rite Aid. Those who are recognized have made a meaningful difference in the lives of youth by advocating for their health and wellbeing, championing education and academic growth, while creating safe environments for children and teens to live and grow.
“Maria is a true champion for underserved children and families in Los Angeles. She knows firsthand what it is like to overcome obstacles, so she has made it her mission in life to give people opportunities to truly change their own lives,” said Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation and charitable giving initiatives. “Maria is a force of light, hope and compassion in the eyes of thousands of children and families. In fact, many have said they owe their lives to her love, guidance and friendship.”
Ms. D’Angelo was inspired to work with young people in need based on her experience as an immigrant child in America, years of teaching in New York and volunteer experience at a homeless shelter in central Los Angeles. At that shelter, she met an eight-year-old boy who had never set foot in a classroom because he had never had a physical exam. Upon realizing this boy was one of many dealing with such a dilemma, Ms. D’Angelo began meeting with doctors to arrange for free medical care for homeless children—and that is how The CLF was established.
As the months passed, Ms. D’Angelo knew she wanted to expand the scope of her support. Seeing the very dangerous and life-threatening environments these homeless children lived in on a day-to-day basis, she began organizing field trips to amusement parks and local attractions. But she didn’t stop there. Ms. D’Angelo was determined to do something immediate and life-changing to enhance and alter the course of these children’s lives.
With the help of a good friend, Ms. D’Angelo convinced the National Park Service to reopen an old Boy Scout called Circle X Ranch to offer these children a safe setting that would improve and enrich their lives with arts, sports and nature. In the summer of 1993, she launched The CLF summer camp enrichment program and invited the first group of seven children to attend camp at no cost. Since that time, more than 75,000 children have participated in the Camp for All program, which provides crucial academic and social experiences to homeless and at-risk youth from urban and shelter environments.
“I am extremely honored to receive the KidChamp award. I want to thank The Rite Aid Foundation and KidCents for its support of The CLF and for its unwavering commitment to ensuring the children in our communities, especially those who are most in need, have a chance for achieving better and brighter futures,” said Maria D’Angelo, founder and president of The CLF. “I am so proud of the tremendous impact The CLF has made in this community and in the lives of our most vulnerable children and families. I look forward to helping even more children overcome the obstacles they face and, ultimately, learn how to stand proudly on their own.”
Thanks to Ms. D’Angelo, the Camp for All program is still offered free of charge to all participants and has expanded to include a surf camp. Plus, she has created additional programs such as the Adopt-A-Family and Care Through College programs to meet the other needs of the homeless and at-risk children and families The CLF serves. With her children Francesca and Sean also supporting The CLF’s many programs and operations, the nonprofit will continue to transform countless lives for years to come through a unique approach of summer camps, field trips, holiday events, educational assistance, scholarships and more.
About The Rite Aid Foundation
Since its inception in 2001, The Rite Aid Foundation has awarded more than $63 million to nonprofit organizations. Additionally, Rite Aid, through the efforts of its customers, supplier partners and associates, has also raised more than $92 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across the country since 1994.
About the KidCents Program
Through the KidCents program, which is The Rite Aid Foundation’s charitable giving program dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children living in the communities Rite Aid services, members of Rite Aid's loyalty program, wellness+ rewards, can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and donate their change to KidCents. Members can also choose to direct their change to a specific KidCents charity by visiting www.kidcents.com. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.
About Rite Aid Corporation
Rite Aid Corporation, which generated fiscal 2019 annual revenue of $21.6 billion, is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with 2,464 stores in 18 states and pharmacy benefit management (PBM) capabilities through EnvisionRxOptions and its affiliates. At Rite Aid, we have a personal interest in our customers’ health and wellness and deliver the products and services they need to lead healthier lives. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at www.riteaid.com.
About The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation
The Children’s Lifesaving Foundation (The CLF) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to transforming the lives of under-served, at-risk youth and homeless families living in homeless shelters and transitional housing in Los Angeles through a unique approach of providing outdoor education through amazing Summer and Surf Camps, inspiring Holiday Events and awesome Field Trips in and around Los Angeles, and Educational Assistance and Scholarships for youth through to college-age. Over 85,000 at-risk and homeless youth and families have been served since 1993.