2015 Grants Challenge


Idea by Casa Libre

Casa Libre is located in Westlake, Los Angeles, one of the densest immigrant communities and in the nation and also one of it's most underserved. Most families in our community struggle to get by and education is many times sacrificed for subsistence. We aim to provide the highs school students in our community a serene after school environment where they will be empowered to pursue their educational goals.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Casa Libre, Westlake, L.A County

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following LEARN metrics?​

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to LEARN.

Casa libre intends to make Los Angeles not only a better, but THE BEST place to learn by providing a safe, and empowering environment along with dedicated mentors to propel our inner city youth to succeed, more specifically, in Westlake. California has historically drawn some of the largest numbers of immigrants of any state in the nation and most recently (and particularly since “The Surge” at the border last summer) the highest number of school aged immigrant and refugee children. Unfortunately, as we all witnessed on the news and in the media, their reception has not been the kindest in many places. Sadly because of the stigmas and the stereotypes associated with this population, they are often dismissed as if somehow these children are less worthy of an eduction and come somehow predisposed to be cheap manual labor. There are many institutional reasons why we know this to be true, but as with anything at Casa Libre, we choose to address what is in our control, which we have found to be the value, or in this case, lack of value, placed on education over employment in many of our immigrant communities. We want to put an end to the vicious cycle that this disregard for education creates, not only for individuals, but for the entire City of Los Angeles. When education is undervalued, students underperform. When students underperform, schools lose funding. And when schools lose funding, our communities suffer at every level, whether it be socially, economically, environmentally, health related or otherwise. Our study hall we will provide a safe space and access to technology for kids that sometimes live in one bedroom apartments with up to six people. Here they will be able to feel their educational endeavors validated and have their confidence boosted so that higher education becomes a tangible possibility where it may have been only a dream or worse still, a source of shame. For new students, we will provide an environment of full immersion, sensitive to all the cultural and linguistic nuances associated with these students, but which will empower them learn a new language with ease.

Our proposal for something as seemingly basic as a study hall may not seem like much of a solution for a problem as systemic and engrained as the one we intend to take on (and do so with our current students everyday), but the simplest solution is usually the right one, no?

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Our work will be evaluated on a monthly basis based on number of participants, participation retention, GPA, presentations, hours logged, community involvement (volunteres) and Social Media results.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)


Network/relationship support