South LA tech mentor contender for national STEM award

Daphne Bradford invites Mayor Eric Garcetti to watch her students tackle coding projects. | Willa Seidenberg

Daphne Bradford invites Mayor Eric Garcetti to watch her students tackle coding projects at the “Coding with STEAM” event held at Dorsey High in July 2014. | Willa Seidenberg

The nationally acclaimed founder and president of a South L.A. tech-education nonprofit, Daphne Bradford, was nominated this fall for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The White House Office of Science and Technology and the National Science Foundation gives this award to organizations and individuals who have shown outstanding leadership with aspiring scientists and engineers from underrepresented communities.

Bradford will be competing against college level professors for this award; her students are high schoolers. The teacher said she feels younger students have not had enough exposure to science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their schools’ curricula. Her program, Mother of Many, which offers digital media skills for students at Dorsey and Crenshaw high schools, aims to bridge this teaching gap. [Read more…]

White House to honor South LA educator Daphne Bradford

daphneDaphne Bradford, CEO and founder of the grassroots organization, Mother of Many (M.O.M), which helps prepare South L.A. high schools students for both their college and work career, will receive a “Champions for Change” award from the White House on Thursday, November 21, 2013.

The Champions of Change program is an effort initiated by the White House to spotlight individuals, businesses, and organizations who work as a positive influence in their communities.  [Read more…]

Crenshaw Digital Media Team gets City Council recognition

CMDT at City Council

Councilman Bernard Parks honoring Mother of Many founder Daphne Bradford.

Eighth District City Councilman Bernard Parks on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 recognized Daphne Bradford, founder and CEO of Mother of Many (M.O.M.), and the Crenshaw Digital Media Team for making innovative technology history.  They are the first group of LAUSD students to design and release a game, Going Banana’s for Health, in the Windows 8 App Store. [Read more…]

Crenshaw graduate to be a delegate at the DNC

imageI am only 17 and I’m attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention as the youngest member of the California delegation team. I would have never thought about signing up to go to the DNC without the push from my education mentor Ms. Daphne Bradford. Four years ago, when I was selected to enroll in Ms. B’s 9th grade digital media certification class I couldn’t have imagined that upon graduating high school in June 2012 I would be invited by Organizing for America, the president’s grassroots organizing machine, to go to Charlotte, North Carolina to represent California.

I’ll be 18 years old the day before the November 6th presidential election. My very first vote will be for President Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States. Most of my peers and students across the nation don’t know they can apply to be a district level delegate, at-large delegate or a member of one of the president’s DNC committees. Ms. B knew I was planning on voting this year so she informed me that I qualified to become a delegate. Running for district level delegate was a fun experience although I didn’t win one of the four male spots for congressional district 37. When I got the call from Ms. Bradford informing me that Mary Jane Stevenson, OFA-California state director had selected me to serve on President Obama’s Credentials Committee as part of the CA delegation team I was pleasantly surprised.

In my government class I learned about delegates going to conventions during general elections but I had no idea that someone as young as myself could be a member of a delegate team. The Credentials Committee handles questions and any problems involving the seating of delegates and alternates at the convention. I will attend committee briefings a few hours after I touch ground in Charlotte, NC. From Sunday, September 2 through Thursday, September 6, when President Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination, I will have a say in the DNC decision-making process. I’m excited that my voice will be heard.

Going to the Democratic National Convention will be a learning experience for me because it will be out of my comfort zone. Most young people like myself find politics boring and not as important as it is. This will be the first time that I am a part of a political event of this size, and I think young people such as myself should get more involved in politics because government decisions affect our lives.

As soon as someone turns 18 I believe they should register to vote so they can vote for the person they want in the White House and their communities. Being the fact that I will have the chance to vote this year — because my birthday is the day before the presidential election — I am going to vote for the presidential candidate that is going to try and assist citizens with their financial needs and education. This in turn will benefit me in the long run because I need as much financial assistance as I can get for my college education. I will be a freshman at Cal Poly Pomona this fall.

Since I was involved in politics in the 9th grade, I know which candidate is going to help me with my financial assistance. I’ve been supporting President Barack Obama all this time. The Democratic National Convention allows me to further support the presidential candidate who will assist middle class families like mine. I hope to see other people as young as myself at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Obama teacher vs. Obama chicken & waffles

$75,000 Educator Investment vs. $8.90 Obama Three Wing special

imageApple Distinguished Educator Daphne Bradford

When I donated $15 to enter the “Obama, Clooney & You” dinner lottery, I knew a Super Star educator like myself had a slim chance of winning dinner with President Obama at the mega glitzy home of George Clooney.  Although the anticipation of hopefully winning was kind of fun, I understood losing against the odds on that one.  But when I read the accompanying TMZ and Huffington Post news reports about Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles renaming my favorite “#9 Country Boy” to “Obama’s Special” in honor of an unscheduled visit the commander-in-chief made on October 24, 2011, my hope of meeting the president during his next Los Angeles trip was instantly renewed.

I felt, deep in my soul, there has to be a HUGE possibility for President Obama to make a scheduled visit to meet the most innovative Obamateacher in nation and the history,the student-led, Barack Obama Digital Media Team at Crenshaw High School.  After investing personal money, priceless overtime and raising more than $75,000 dedicated towards implementing four years of President Obama’s “Blueprint for Change” in education, I firmly believe the “man of HOPE” I voted for in 2008 would give me and my amazing students the same $8.90 Roscoes’ Chicken and Waffles visit if the opportunity presented itself.

Well, I guess God’s ears heard me because on June 7, 2012 President Obama is schedule to attend a View Park, California $2,500 – $40,000 per couple fundraiser that’s five minutes or less from Crenshaw High School; probably close to the same distance as Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles was from the October 24, 2011 fundraiser hosted by Will & Jada Smith.

Just as the Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles visit endorsed the president’s support of small businesses, a Crenshaw High School visit with the Barack Obama Digital Media Team will support his “everyone deserves a fair shot at a first-class education” anthem. The $75,000 plus investment in the commander-in-chief’s 21st Century innovative education blueprint has produced amazing students who are Apple certified technology geniuses, budding Microsoft game designers, Let’s Move! High School gardeners and first time teen authors of Journey to the White House:  An Educational Blueprint for Change in Action.  Every where we go people are more than happy to record video messages to POTUS asking him to check us out.  Hopefully he will listen.  We have a book already signed and waiting for President Obama to accept.

imageThe Crenshaw Digital Media Team

The first of its kind, the Crenshaw High School Barack Obama Digital Media Team has carried the Obama name since the 2009 inauguration, years ahead of the Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles $8.90 Obama’s Special.  Beginning in the 9th grade, the four years strong digital media team will graduate a week after the president’s June 6th-7th visit to Los Angeles.  These career and college bound students will also exercise their right to vote for the first time on November 6, 2012.

Mr. President, how about making a scheduled visit to Crenshaw High School on your way to breakfast on June 7, 2012?  Let a dedicated educator and her students have a Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles chance at meeting you.  I’m easy to reach:  db4obama[at]

Actor Hill Harper joins Crenshaw students for book signing

imageStudents at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles unveiled a book Wednesday that they wrote about their year-long effort to visit the White House.

The students signed copies of their book, “Journey to the White House: An Educational Blueprint for Change in Action,” alongside actor Hill Harper from CSI: NY. Harper was also signing copies of his books “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny” and “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny.”

“We’re all in this together,” Harper said of his passion for helping students. “Education is what we need to be focused on.”

The student authors are part of the Crenshaw Digital Media Team that meets after school to learn about photography, video and other media tools. Their book is being published both in paper and as an eBook.

The journey began when their teacher and mentor Daphne Bradford, founder of the non-profit organization Mother of Many challenged her students to become the type of 21st century classroom that President Obama envisioned in his 2010 Blueprint for Change in Education.

The students wrote letters to the President asking to be invited to the White House. When their requests when unanswered, they decided they needed to make a bigger impression.

They put their multimedia skills to use and created video letters and burned them to a disc, that Bradford was able to hand directly to President Obama when he was in Los Angeles for a rally.

“Once we got invited to come, we had to fund-raise and we made calendars and went around to businesses and organizations,” said Trestan Fairweather, a 17-year-old senior at Crenshaw High School.

When the students got to the White House In September of 2010, they were given a tour by the White House chef and they established a partnership with the White House kitchen to start growing food at home to better the community.

Fairweather’s first impression of the White House was just how enormous it was.

“It was very, very, very big,” he said. “Almost too big for just one family.”

The students also met with the President’s web team who showed them how the White House media presence — Twitter, Facebook, photos, etc. — is run.

“They had really cool advice on how to run our own media too,” Fairweather said.

The book signing was sponsored by the NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter.

“We felt this was another opportunity to help these students see a different future for themselves,” said the chapter president Ron Hasson. “We thought Harper could really relate to the kids and give back.”

Order hard copies of the book at ($25.00), digital book purchase for $19.99 at the Barnes and Noble Nook store, iBookstore and ePub at

Daphne Bradford named “Freedom’s Sister”

South Los Angeles resident Daphne Bradford has been an inspiration to all who know her.  The founder of Mother of Many, a non-profit that is using digital media to help teenagers realize a future in college and beyond, is a role model to South Los Angeles teenagers.  Now the Museum of Tolerance is honoring her contributions by appointing her a Southern California “Freedom’s Sister.”  image

Freedom’s Sisters is a national, traveling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Cincinnati Museum Center.  It presents 20 African American women, from key 19th-century historical figures—such as, Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune—to contemporary leaders—such as Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Coretta Scott King and Shirley Chisholm—who have fought for equality for all Americans, and, as the Museum of Tolerance puts it, “have shaped the spirit and substance of civil rights in America.” 

MOT told Bradford said they were recognizing her “outstanding contribution to our community and beyond in promoting civil rights, advancing social justice, and aiding underprivileged groups in our society.”  Bradford has mentored high school students at Locke, Dorsey, Crenshaw and Hamilton High Schools over the years.  Perhaps her greatest impact has been with the the Crenshaw High School Digital Media Team, which was invited to visit The White House last year. image

MOT says the Freedom’s Sisters exhibit aims to “inspire the next generation of leaders” and “underscore the fact that one person can make a profound difference in the ongoing struggle for human rights and equality.” 

There is a group of teenagers in South LA who would agree that Daphne Bradford proves the point:  one person can make a difference.

“Ms. Bradford is not a “teacher,” but a mentor,” said Kevin Rivera, one of the students who has worked with Bradford on Crenshaw High School Digital Media Team.  “She’s an intelligent, caring, and inspiring person and I see that the determination Ms. Bradford has towards me and my peers to make every one of us to grow up to be responsible adults is enough inspiration needed. I’d like to thank Ms. Bradford for letting me be apart of the CHSDMT and the opportunities that came along with it…I believe no other person would’ve been able to do this for anybody else.”

Bradford and other distinguished Southern California African American women in Southern California will be added to the MOT exhibit when it opens on September 13. 

Photos by William Short and Willa Seidenberg

South LA educator invited to Innovator Educators Forum

Daphne Bradford, an educator at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, has been chosen by Microsoft as one of the top 2011 Innovative Educators in the US.

imageBradford and 100 other educators from around the country will attend the 2011 Innovative Education Forum (IEF) at Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Washington.

Bradford is one of 72 second-round finalists chosen by Microsoft and the only Los Angeles educator from the first and second-round finalists.  She is also an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Bradford’s Developing Digital Media Geniuses project at the Cal State Dominguez Hills Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) qualified her as a finalist.  Her Crenshaw High School Digital Media Team students use the skills they have learned in digital photography and video production to teach OLLI students (age 55+) how to make digital photo albums and movies. 

The team created weekly lesson plans using Microsoft Office tools.  The experience allowed students to get an understanding of teaching in the 21st Century and bridging the intergenerational digital divide.  “The project injected the spirit of entrepreneurship with the adult learners who encouraged Crenshaw team members to become independent digital media trainers,” said Bradford. 

image“The most important outcome was watching my students exemplify the following ISTE National Education Technology Standards for students,” said Bradford,  “creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, and the use of technology effectively and productively.  The program has been a resounding success at Crenshaw High School, Cal State Dominguez Hills and in the community.” 

“The school leaders selected to attend IEF are the best in the nation at incorporating technology into their classroom curricula to enhance each lesson and really break through with students,” said Andrew Ko, senior director, U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft. “It is inspiring to see these educators use technology to get students excited about learning and connected to the issues impacting their lives while developing the skills they will need for a successful future.”

Bradford and the other educators will showcase the creative ways they are using technology in the classroom at IEF in the forum in late July.

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South LA students to visit the White House

Students and volunteers reflect on trip to Washington

image“Students will actually benefit from this program, people start to look up to these students,” Daniel Reyes said, an alum of Crenshaw High School who works with the program Mother of Many and was one of the 18 students that went to the White House this past September.

The group, who is made up of students both from Crenshaw’s Digital Media Team and Cooking Live with Dorsey High raised all the money themselves through fundraisers and drives.

“We got to meet with President Barack Obama’s Digital Web team, we met with the First Lady’s nutrition campaign, the ‘Let’s Move’ campaign and we got to see her garden, which was very cool,” said Mother of Many board member Lauri Burrier.

The students were so inspired that they want to start their own First Lady Garden on a already existing 2.5 acre plot at Crenshaw. Mother of Many served healthy popcorn at the Taste of Soul Festival on Crenshaw Boulevard October 16.

“Our big dream is to start a farmers market that would work with the community, so we really want to get out into the community to give the kids more incentive to feel an involvement and feel leadership in their community and stay in school and go to college,” Burrier said.

Crenshaw student recites Pledge of Allegiance at Obama USC visit

imageEsaul Parra (standing behind President Obama) watches the President as he walks onstage at a rally on the USC campus.

Esaul Parra, a 14-year-old student at Crenshaw High School, was chosen to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on stage before the thousands of people gathered to hear the president’s speech in Alumni Park at USC.

Daphne Bradford, an Apple-distinguished educator who heads the Digital Media Team at Crenshaw High School, snapped a picture of Parra onstage. Parra is a member of the Digital Media Team and one of 18 students from Crenshaw and Dorsey High Schools to have visited the White House in September.

The visit marked months of campaigning by students and the “Mother of Many” organization to bring the Crenshaw Digital Media Team and Cooking Live with Dorsey High to the White House. Students met with Obama’s personal aide, Reggie Love, and Obama’s personal chef, Sam Kass. Photos from the visit can be viewed here.

More on Esaul Parra and his Pledge of Allegiance: Crenshaw Student to Share Spotlight With President (NBC)