In the vast Los Angeles Unified School District which is the largest district in California, second only to New York City in student population for the entire country, students enter into common core curriculum courses with highly qualified teachers every year. The classes are often overcrowded and the content is less than unique. Still, there is always an extraordinary teacher that is driven to go out of their way to give a special opportunity to the students they see everyday. This is often a part of a special program that teachers may offer during the spring break or summer vacation time.

(Photo Courtesy of Indira Tyler)

(Photo Courtesy of Indira Tyler)

Indira Tyler at Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks is one of those amazing individuals that offers a summer arts program to her students. Indira is an accomplished educator with 10 years with the LAUSD – holding degrees in education and world arts & culture from UCLA, she specializes in dance instruction and arts education in the K-12 grades. She also started her own non-profit organization to provide extra services to kids who otherwise would have no activities over the summer vacation. The Tyler Project is now in its 5th year of providing special programs to local students ages 10+.

What prompted you to start this non-profit organization?

“It’s the kids. I never married or had children and this non-profit effort is my baby. I often spend more time with the kids than some working or divorced parents. When summer comes, they are left home alone with nothing to fill the long hours but video games and snacks in front of the TV set. My summer arts program offers an affordable alternative to that.”

Is having a NON-Profit Org. easy to manage?

“There are some complications with taxes and additional accounting involved, but it’s a labor of love that I treasure. A little extra work here and there is expected.”

How did you get the use of the school to run your program?

“Working with schools is what I do. Millikan is a very large campus that is unused when school lets out. There are a few teachers who collaborate over the summer to use different areas for the students to have a safe and controlled environment. It’s through their help and cooperation that this program is possible.”

What do the kids think of the program?

“It’s the program they look forward to every year and it’s what keeps me young. We’re gearing up to making it happen again this summer.”

As a creative professional in Los Angeles, Cat West brings versatile skills to any topic. Whether freelancing as a writer or designing digital art from her studio, Cat provides excellent creative product with content driven artwork and photography.


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