Sharing Louis's Story and Making a Difference

Royal Family KIDS and Louis Zamperini Youth Ministries have formed an alliance to develop camp curriculum using our Founders amazing story. These efforts and the curriculum will bring hope to the children, as well as equip them with Louis' extraordinary value system from "Don't Give Up, Don't Give In" and "Devil at My Heels." These life lessons will be shared in unique ways to help inspire and sow seeds of faith to change their lives forever.

https://rfk.org

Impacting Lives within the Los Angeles County Juvenile Detention Centers and Camps

The Louis Zamperini Youth Ministries is honored to be sharing Louis story of HOPE within the Juvenile Justice Department. We have continued to make inroads into this system. We are happy to report that so far this year we have provided all of the Los Angeles County Juvenile Detention Centers and Camp facilities with copies of the book Unbroken, Young Adult Version

Working with youth pastors and mentors within the Los Angeles County Correctional Facilities, Louis Zamperini Youth Ministries is sharing the good news of HOPE and REDEMPTION. Hundreds of  copies of this book along with Unbroken, Legacy of FAITH EDITION DVD’s have been donated to programs that have book clubs and mentoring for these kids in great need of a second chance!

UNBROKEN, Changing Lives In Granbury Texas

The Louis Zamperini Foundation team just returned from Granbury Texas where we had the honor of filming and interviewing the remarkably gifted teacher Heather Fuller and many of her wonderful students! Stories of faith, hope, overcoming adversity...camaraderie, compassion, empathy, forgiveness...were all on display as the students discussed the impact of the book UNBROKEN. We were able to both witness and document the positive impact this real life hero has on our high school youth! We are beginning our development of this method of teaching based on our teachers curriculum.  With a proven track record of 5 years of being taught we are convinced this story CHANGES LIVES!

Luke Zamperini, Lisa Zamperini, Heather Fuller & Kids Cropped .jpg

Mentoring Programs Underway

2017 has been an amazing year for The Louis Zamperini Foundation!  We have steadily worked alongside mentoring programs which reflect Louis' life of faith and hope in Christ. From our involvement with 'The Princess and The Police Officer',  Forest Home Neighborhood Day Camp, Youth Correctional Facilities, Sunburst Youth Academy, Royal Family Kids and beyond. . . We have provided at-risk, imprisoned and broken youth with the donation of books, Bibles, and one on one mentoring. We have had the privilege of working with multiple Inner City Programs and their Community leaders, providing kids with opportunities for positive role models, and the inspiration of our Founders' story.  All that we do is with the goal of sparking HOPE through the gospel to those who need it most. As Louis loved to say "Oh Golly! Just give the kid a chance!"  

It is our privilege to do just that. Provide Hope and a Path to Forgiveness and Redemption to these precious kids in need of Faith, Hope and Love. . .

Three things will last forever~Faith, Hope, and Love~and the greatest of these is Love~

1 Corinthians 13:13

Luke at Ventura County Correctinal.jpg

Luke Zamperini sharing with inmates at Ventura County Youth Correctional Facility.

Zamperinis Joined by Torrance Tartars for Centennial Celebration

To welcome the Centennial Anniversary of our beloved Louis, who would have been 100 years old on January 26, 2017, we celebrated in true Zamp fashion by joining the student body of Louis hometown alma mater,  Torrance High School—also in its 100th year—in a big-time birthday extravaganza.

The Zamperini family was greeted by 350 Torrance Tartars, including the school’s track and field team, the student council, and others, along with the Torrance Kiwanis, Torrance Historical Society and several other local organizations standing in formation to spell out “LZ 100” for an aerial photograph.

The Torrance High Marching Band played a birthday tribute to Louis, and local church bells were rung ten times—once for each decade of Louis’ life.

Torrance High School students celebrate the 100th Birthday of the Torrance Tornado.

Here's What The Louis Zamperini Foundation Has Been Up To In 2016

As yet another year draws to a close, we take a look back on the opportunities God has given us to serve him through our mission of providing a better life for disadvantaged children. 2016 was a banner year, ripe with transformation, new relationships, and growth beyond any scope we could have foreseen. Given this season of joy, thanksgiving and remembrance, we are honored to share the ways that the Louis Zamperini Foundation has been afforded to enact our mission.

As with anything fruitful, we started small, with the seed of what has made our mission so exciting for the last 60 years—outdoor adventure. This winter, we hosted a hike to Eaton Canyon Falls in Altadena, CA for a group of boys from Resolute Academy Charter School in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. LZF counselor Benjamin Adelmann led the boys, alongside retired LAPD Officer Keith Linton, whose organization Boys to Gentlemen continues to bring family values and educational goals to at-risk boys in some of the toughest communities in the Los Angeles area. For many of the boys, this was their first opportunity to experience the great outdoors.

This June, we proudly partnered, once again, with Louis Zamperini’s dear friend Tai Collins and her organization, A Chance For Children, who sent over 60 third, fourth, and fifth graders from Watts to summer camp at Forest Home Christian Camps—where Louis’ himself had been a guest speaker countless times over many years. The Louis Zamperini Foundation provided Bibles for each student, and sent three groups total on week-long journeys of outdoor adventures and spiritual growth. Together with LAPD Southeast Division’s Sgt. Jesse Ruiz, we are continuing to work with Forest Home to find new and exciting ways to serve youth together, bringing them a sense of purpose and belonging.

During one of our trips to Forest Home, we were honored to be introduced to Pastor Jose Hernandez, a former gang member who, after hearing the call of the Holy Spirit ten years ago, left that lifestyle behind and attended Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa School of Ministry. After graduating, Jose started Hope Central Watts Community Church in a park. He has been faithfully serving the Watts area since 2011. We were so inspired by his outreach that we knew we had to involve ourselves in his incredible ministry for at-risk youth.

Motivated by Jose’s work, we began the Holiday Season with the true spirit of charity, sponsoring a sit-down Thanksgiving feast for hundreds in the Watts community, provided by Hope Central. Just days after the phenomenally successful feast, we partnered with Hope Central once again for their annual Coat Drive,  which provides warm coats for children and families in Watts who cannot afford to buy their own. All donations received through our Facebook Page between December 9 and December 23 will go directly to the drive. 

2016 was filled with opportunities to spread awareness of our mission, and bring attention to our foundation from a wider audience. In July, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation sponsored a full-page ad for the Louis Zamperini Foundation in People Magazine. We are so grateful for their generosity, and the opportunity for national exposure on a scale we could not have achieved on our own.

Print wasn’t the only medium that picked up on what the Louis Zamperini Foundation was doing—film, television, and music all played a part in telling our story! The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association continued it’s campaign of sending copies of their documentary After “Unbroken” - Louis Zamperini: Captured By Grace to those who donated to their foundation. They also donated 1000 copies of Captured By Grace to our Foundation to be given to the young people we are working with.

In March, Luke Zamperini, son of the late Louis Zamperini, and chairman of our foundation was published by The Washington Times. His feature Power of Prayer: Remembering a Desperate Promise Made in War, Kept in Peace detailed how during his father’s remarkable experience adrift at sea for 47 days, he made a promise to serve God, the fulfillment of which ultimately saved his life from anger, self-destruction, and alcohol abuse. Following Luke’s feature, The Reelz Channel worked with him and his son Clay, interviewing them in preparation of—and featuring them in—their documentary about Louis, The Real Story Of….Unbroken which premiered in September.

From “Don’t Stop Believin’” to “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In,” this year saw us reach new milestones with our continuing campaign to raise funds for our foundation. In August, we created our first Charitybuzz auction, where fans were able to bid on two tickets to the sold-out San Francisco Fest on September 4, where they would meet members of the band Journey, who headlined the festival alongside Santana, Steve Miller and the Doobie Brothers.  The experience was graciously donated by Journey, and the proceeds from the auction went on to benefit The Louis Zamperini Foundation.

Following the success of our Journey auction, we joined forces with the legendary John Travolta for another auction benefitting The Louis Zamperini Foundation. Mr. Travolta donated the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the winning bidder and a guest to sit down to lunch with him in Los Angeles or Central Florida. We are so grateful for his generosity and his continued faith in our mission and the immense power of Louis Zamperini’s story.

We’ve continually been given opportunities for both Luke and Clay to speak to the graduating classes of Sunburst Youth Academy, a part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program that works to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16 to 18 year old high school dropouts, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education, and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens. The students’ response to Louis’ incredible story of survival and his tenacious willpower is always phenomenal. They see Louis as a real-life “ordinary superhero” who, despite his humble beginnings, was able to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and find forgiveness in his heart  for those who had wronged him. We are now able to provide these students with copies of Louis’ documentary, as well!

Our own Louis Zamperini Foundation family has recently expanded, as we invited two new members to join our board of directors this summer. Joining The Zamperini Family in leadership of our foundation is Drake Morton, CEO and founder of Drake Morton & Associates, a highly respected marketing and advertising agency whose past and present clients include American Honda, Ducati Motors, Opus One Winery, and many others. Following Drake’s admission to the board, we were joined by our newest member, Scott Anderholt, VP of Hudson Financial Services, and former Sr. VP of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. We are thrilled to have these two brilliant minds, leaders in their industries, join us as we forge a path ahead for our mission in years to come.

The first of those many years to come is is just days away, with 2017 already looking bright and beautiful for The Louis Zamperini Foundation. We will begin with the great honor that the State of California and the City of Torrance have bestowed upon our namesake, when they will officially name a portion of the 405 freeway, between Redondo Beach Blvd and Western Ave, as “The Louis Zamperini Memorial Highway.” Keep your eyes and ears open for this, and other news about our Centennial Celebration, celebrating Louis’ Zamperini’s 100th birthday in January 2017.

Thank you to all of you who have made this year a success for The Louis Zamperini Foundation, a success for love and hope, and a success for Christ. Please continue to keep our mission in your thoughts, prayers, and charitable giving. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!  We are looking forward to all we can do together in 2017!

The Louis Zamperini Foundation Helps Send 50 Youth to Summer Camp

The Louis Zamperini Foundation is proud to to have helped sponsor 50 underprivileged children from Watts to attend summer camp in partnership with the L.A.P.D. and Forest Home Christian Camps.

Louis Zamperini spoke at Forest Home Christian Camps for many years, and it is now the honor of his son, Luke, to continue the tradition. We are thrilled to continue the legacy of our two organizations working together as partners, as Forest Home is true to the heart of our message.

Clay Zamperini Speaks to Sunburst Youth Academy on Power of Forgiveness

On Tuesday, April 14 2015, Clay Zamperini spoke to a group of at-risk teenagers at Sunburst Youth Academy in Los Alamitos, CA. Sunburst Youth Academy is the leading alternative education program for High School Dropouts.

 After a a documentary was shown detailing the life of Louis Zamperini, Clay Zamperini shared his insights on what it means to be a survivor, and what forgiveness really means.

After a a documentary was shown detailing the life of Louis Zamperini, Clay Zamperini shared his insights on what it means to be a survivor, and what forgiveness really means.

The weekend prior to his appearance, the students at Sunburst were shown the film Unbroken over the span of two days. "After watching the first half of the film on Saturday, all I heard from the cadets was 'when can we finish the movie?' I've never seen them respond to something quite like this before," noted one staff member.

A documentary detailing the true story of Louis Zamperini was shown to the students, preparing them for what Clay had to share. "People always ask me, 'What is it like being Louis Zamperini's grandson?" Clay noted that what made his grandfather such an extraordinary man wasn't his athletic prowess, his survival at sea, or his experience in a Japanese POW camp. "It was the content of his character that made him the amazing man that he was. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that there were several rules, or values that he adhered to throughout his life. These values influenced every choice he made, how he decided to treat other people, and ultimately, how he viewed life."

Hope is the power of the human soul to endure. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dim it may seem, nor how far away it is.
— Clay Zamperini
 When asked if anyone in the room held a grudge against someone that they hadn't yet forgiven, nearly every hand was raised.

When asked if anyone in the room held a grudge against someone that they hadn't yet forgiven, nearly every hand was raised.

In addition to sharing his grandfathers story, Clay shared his insights on survival and forgiveness. "A survivor perseveres, that is, he doesn’t give up, no matter what. He won’t take the easy way out by feeling sorry for his situation, he will do something to change that situation. Every one of you sitting in here has made that decision to persevere by choosing to come to Sunburst."

A show of hands was asked for, asking the students to identify if they had someone in their life that had hurt them, that they haven't forgiven. Nearly every hand in the auditorium was raised. Clay challenged the students to take Louis' remarkable act of forgiveness as an example, and wipe the slate clean of their own grudges. Relaying the words that his grandfather left him with, he reiterated "Hating someone who has wronged you does not hurt them. It only hurts you. It builds up inside, and your hatred weighs your heart down to the point where you can no longer love others, or love yourself. When you let go of that, you release your burden and free yourself."

"The response was phenomenal. These young men and women needed to hear this message, and I could see that their hearts and minds were truly receptive. Having the privilege of knowing the stories of some of these students, it occurred to me that they had a tremendous opportunity to forgive," says Clay. "Seeing how my grandfather's story affects young people, and realizing my own ability to be his conduit after he has left this earth, it has become so clear to me that like my grandfather before me, serving youth is my life's mission."

The Louis Zamperini Foundation Donates a Little Free Library to the Torrance Police Department.

 Clay Zamperini and Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey prepare to cut the ribbon unveiling the library.

Clay Zamperini and Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey prepare to cut the ribbon unveiling the library.

The Louis Zamperini Foundation, A Chance For Children, LAPD, and Little Free Library have teamed up to place a Little Free Library in the lobby of the Torrance Police Station. A Little Free Library is a “take a book, leave a book” gathering place where members of the community can share their favorite stories. A Chance For Children has placed Little Free Libraries into every LAPD station in Los Angeles, to great success. We are so thrilled to be sharing this with the Torrance Police Department.

  A ribbon cutting event and the reading of a story to a class of 35 pre-schoolers from First Lutheran school in Torrance took place Monday morning.

A ribbon cutting event and the reading of a story to a class of 35 pre-schoolers from First Lutheran school in Torrance took place Monday morning.

Torrance Chief of Police, Mark Matsuda, said, “Child custody exchanges take place in the police department lobby regularly and the Little Free Library will be a welcoming activity for all involved."

The books target children ages six-16, and are free. All children are invited to stop by and pick out a book (or two) to read or drop one off to share.

  "Child custody exchanges take place in the police department lobby regularly and the Little Free Library will be a welcoming activity for all involved." - Torrance Chief of Police, Mark Matsuda

 "Child custody exchanges take place in the police department lobby regularly and the Little Free Library will be a welcoming activity for all involved." - Torrance Chief of Police, Mark Matsuda

Little Free Library in Torrance Police Station Funded by The Louis Zamperini Foundation

Little Free Library in Torrance Police Station
Funded by The Louis Zamperini Foundation

For Immediate Release - Torrance, CA:  On Monday, April 13th, Clay Zamperini, Executive Director, Victory Boys Camp / The Louis Zamperini Foundation www.louiszamperinifoundation.org and grandson of the late Torrance Hometown Hero, Louis Zamperini, will install a Little Free Library in the lobby of the Torrance Police Department. The Louis Zamperini Foundation is teaming with A Chance for Children (ACFC) www.achanceforchildren.org to promote and create literacy -- starting in the lobbies of Los Angeles Police Departments (LAPD).  The concept of the Little Free Librarywww.LittleFreeLibrary.org is "take a book, return a book."  

A Ribbon cutting event and the reading of a story to a class of 35 pre-schoolers from First Lutheran school in Torrance will take place on Monday, April 13th, 2015, at 10:00 AM, in front of the Torrance Police Station (3300 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, CA 90503).   

Louis Zamperini had a close connection with the Torrance Police Dept., as that is how is track career "unofficially" got started --running from the police.  It began at the early age of two, when he was sick with pneumonia, he climbed out his window "and went on a naked dash through town with a policeman chasing him and a crowd watching in amazement," as noted in the Young Reader's edition of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

A Chance for Children has worked year round since 1994 with homeless and disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles providing a variety of educational and athletic activities, after school programs, summer camps, and college tuition.  Their latest endeavor has been Little Free Libraries in the lobbies of LAPD stations. 

Louis Zamperini was a great supporter of ACFC for almost 20 years, giving his time every summer to speak at their summer camp, as well as participating in many events from hikes to USC football game outings throughout the year. 

It is the idea of keeping these partnerships alive that The Louis Zamperini Foundation and A Chance for Children have partnered with the LAPD and Little Free Libraries to bring a library to the Torrance Police Department. Torrance Chief of Police, Mark Matsuda, said, "Child custody exchanges take place in the police department lobby regularly and the Little Free Library will be a welcoming activity for all involved."  

The books target children ages six - 16, and are free. All children are invited to stop by and pick out a book (or two) to read or drop one off to share.  The Little Free Library at the Torrance Police Dept. will be maintained by the Juvenile Diversion Dept. -- book donations are welcome.  From the stomping grounds of Louis Zamperini, the Old Torrance Neighborhood Association is starting the donation campaign by giving 10 copies of the Young Reader's edition of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand to this library.  For those interested in making donations, contact Shannon Flannery, M.A., MFT, Juvenile Diversion Coordinator, at 310.618.5555 or SFlannery@TorranceCA.Gov.

Victory Boys Camp Reboot featured in Torrance Daily Breeze

Louis Zamperini's grandson, Clay Zamperini, reboots his grandfather's nonprofit youth organization, Victory Boys Camp.