Millicent “Mama” HillShare
Millicent “Mama” Hill
Hometown: Los Angeles
Profession: Founder, Mama Hill's Help
"My name is Millicent Hill, and I provide a refuge so children can shine."
Millicent “Mama” Hill estimates that she lost thousands of students to violent death throughout her 40-year teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In her inner city neighborhood of South Los Angeles, Hill knows all too well the devastating effects poverty, drugs and abuse have on children.
Hill’s frustration with a lack of political interest and funding to protect the children in her community prompted her to found “Mama Hill’s Help” in 2000. The after-school program provides a safe refuge for children faced with abuse, neglect, poverty, gang violence and abandonment.
“We have to protect these innocent children who have no voices,” said Hill. “If the money were being spent where it’s really needed, I wouldn’t still be feeding people every week, and helping them get clothes and gas money.”
Hill’s dream for California is to empower communities with low-income residents. “I work with many mothers on welfare who are treated with such disrespect. They are given no dignity when they try to get help. Politicians need to recognize that not all of these struggling women want to just be handed assistance; they want to be heard.”
As a result of the programs offered at “Mama Hill’s Help,” children and teens in her community are graduating high school at a higher rate and are being provided year-round encouragement. In fact, Hill now estimates that “Mama Hill’s Help” has saved as many students as she lost during her years in the classroom.