WHITTIER, Calif. — Sylvester Ani runs a nonprofit called The Love We Don't See that recently began doing its part to lighten the load for local families.
"About to go change the life of a young mother and make sure her new year starts off on the right foot," Ani said..
His organization is giving Christina's Vazquez $400 a month for the next six months as part of a guaranteed income pilot program. The money came from NBA star and former UCLA Bruin, Jrue Holiday, who donated $15,000 to Ani's organization after this past summer's social justice movement.
"They believed in me and my organization and trusted me to continue to do the work that I've been doing in my community," Ani said.
Vazquez's family is one of four households that will benefit from this program. She is a widow who lost her husband in an officer-involved shooting.
"He was the main breadwinner," Vazquez said.
"He pretty much covered all of the bills, all of the expenses, because my checks compared to his are pennies. I'm very grateful for the assistance given."
Ani's team will track his recipients' financial progress through an app called Steady and said he wants the county to do a program like this for everyone impacted by the pandemic.
"We want to show that guaranteed income is something that works and that it will help shift the poverty line," he said.
For now, he's happy to do his part in just paying it forward to one family at a time, he said, and for the Vazquez family, making the picture of 2021 just a little bit better.