LOV Olive Branches

LOV Olive Branches was founded in 1999 by long time Altadena residents, Leroy and Anna Toliver.   Although retired pastors, both have been foster parents for more than 15 years.  On this journey their mission has been to graft in and give life to as many broken branches (children and families) as possible.  In 2008, LOV Olive Branches CDC was established as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and now serves at-risk youth through 3 programs: Mentorship, Life Skills, and Youth Music.

LOV Olive Branches Community Development

The youth music program of LOV Olive Branches is administered by Stephen and Onesha Steward. Stephen and Onesha, now married for 28 years, both grew up in families where singing and playing musical instruments was part of their daily routine. “Our involvement in music education kept us focused with little time to get in trouble,” says Onesha who played the violin and piano. As Stephen recalls singing and writing while growing up in Mississippi, he remembers music tearing down racial barriers.  “It was a character and confidence builder,” says Stephen. Studies show that at-risk youth’s involvement in music education and the arts supports the development of the student’s whole-mind, and students tend to have better academic results and workforce opportunities.  Currently, the Program serves urban youth by providing piano and singing lessons to youth of all ages.  The short-term goal is to expand the program to provide lessons to children of families with low to moderate income and introduce more instruments.  While accomplishing this goal, the program will nourish the next generation of performing artists by providing audiences and performance opportunities to build self-confidence while sharing their gifts and talents.

On April 12, 2014, Stephen B. Steward and LOV Olive Branches presented its 1st Annual Youth Music Festival at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, where the finalists of the SBS Youth Talent Competition, from grade-level, displayed talent and vied for a grand-prize scholarship in the amount of $1000. Three scholarships were awarded to students in the Elementary, Middle, and High School categories.  The festival was hosted by Imani Hakim who portrayed Gabby Douglas in the Gabby Douglas Story.  Gabby was the first African-American female gymnast to win a gold medal in the Olympics. There were appearances by  Carlon Jeffery, best known for playing Cameron Parks during seasons 1 and 2 of Disney Channel’s sitcom A.N.T. Farm; Asia’h Epperson, 2008 American Idol runner-up; Amber Montana, Na Tasha May, 10 yr old DJ Kiss of Pasadena, Malachi Babatunde, Brandon Mycal Smith, and more.

 

During the same evening, the Stephen and Onesha produced an electrifying benefit concert featuring Jonathan Butler, Stephen B. Steward, and a special appearance by gospel legend Andrae’ Crouch. These events were designed to equip, empower, and educate youth through live music and the arts. A portion of the proceeds from the events benefited LOV Olive Branches CDC.

 

Links:

Make a Donation to Lov Olive Branches Community Development Corporation

Talent Competition 2014 Press Release

Stephen B. Steward: Celebrities Support Him Giving Back To Youth in Alwaysalist.com