"For me, it's a pay it forward. Because when I was in the projects, somebody came up with the school lunch program," said Will.i.am. "So, what do I get out of it? I get to give back because I was a recipient of someone's good doing."
Since 2009, Will.i.am's foundation called i.am Angel Foundation has focused on helping students living below the poverty line in his hometown of Boyle Heights and the surrounding area.
"Ever since joining the team in my sophomore year, robotics has been a really big part of my life," said Annika Livingston-Hall, class of 2021 graduate at Girls Academic Leadership Academy.
"It's such a rewarding feeling seeing the thing you spend months designing, and creating, developing, coding and finally seeing do the things you want it to do," Ever Diaz Ramos, a junior at Roosevelt High School.
School district officials said the foundation has served more than 1,400 students in the past 11 years, and they have seen the positive success it has had in the community.
"We are expanding it across L.A. Unified to meet the needs of our kids and inspire at an accelerated pace of achievement," said Monica Garcia, a school district board member.
The new partnership with Will.i.am will provide 12,000 students the opportunity to expand their knowledge in S.T.E.M. education.
"Yea, I love music. I have awesome memories. We have accomplished things we could never imagine when I was riding my bike through the projects," said Will.i.am. "If I was 15 years old right now, I am doing robotics because that is the ultimate level of creating."
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