Intersections: The power of our common stories.

Idea by Imagine LA

It all begins with sharing stories. Imagine LA and L.A. Works are joining to empower 150,000+ Angelenos to share their own life experiences to help alleviate homelessness in our city.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Sharing stories and making connections is essential to developing the trusting mentor/mentee relationships that pull a vulnerable family out of the cycle of homelessness. This fresh outreach campaign will show that disparate groups of Angelenos have more in common than they would ever think, evoking the fun and reward of these commonalities, ultimately recruiting more volunteer mentors . With this grant, we’ll be able to supercharge our program and make an enormous impact on homelessness in L.A.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your activation impact?​

Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

Rates of volunteerism

Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

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

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Influence individual behavior

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to CONNECT?​

People are more likely to trust and fully engage with one another when they share common experiences and interests. Knowing this, Imagine LA created a unique onboarding process, which we use when matching volunteer mentors with families who’ve experienced homelessness. Our professional staff trains and guides the mentor/mentee pairs as they share life timelines, family genograms, personal values, and views on money management. These exercises evoke laughter, “a ha!” moments and sometimes tears. Shortly, they discover they have more in common than they would ever have thought.

Often used as a therapeutic intervention, the timeline project creates an intimate connection between participants as they explore their history, attitudes, circumstances, and decision-making. “It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, then capturing your life on paper with a timeline exercise may be worth millions.“ (Staik, 2013)

Modeling this deep and barrier-busting experience, the "Intersections" campaign will significantly increase the number of mentors in the Imagine LA program. Potential volunteers need to see the foundation we create for success and be empowered with the realization that they too have what it takes to be a life-changing mentor for families emerging from homelessness — simply the ability to share. What begins with a connection ends with breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Partnering with L.A. Works, the largest volunteer network in Los Angeles, Imagine LA will create a public awareness and outreach campaign, pairing social media marketing, community outreach, and events to educate and empower 150,000+ Angelenos. Ultimately, this will influence individual behavior, CONNECT 1,000 new mentors with vulnerable families in the Imagine LA program, and increase rates of volunteerism — not only as mentors, but with shorter-term volunteer roles.

A key component of our campaign is events-based. At L.A. Works’ large-scale days of service, which draw volunteers from around the county who are primed to make a deeper connection in service, we’ll lead trust-building activities like those we use during our mentor/mentee on-boarding process, educate participants, post on socials and ultimately sign up new volunteers to become mentors.

Mentorship promotes community and develops meaningful relationships full of mutual respect, love, and laughter. Showcasing this, and CONNECTing Angelenos to each other through their stories, will bring this campaign to life. Our shareable videos (live and animated), photos, and tactics like a mentor taking over our Instagram feed for a day will help increase the total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have. We anticipate the campaign to CONNECT Angelenos way beyond our goal of signing up mentors. It will empower them to volunteer in other ways and LEARN about those with disparate backgrounds and circumstances. It will break the cycle of homelessness for hundreds of families.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to CONNECT​

In partnership with L.A. Works, Imagine L.A. aims to educate and engage adult Angelenos as mentors for families emerging from homelessness. We will CONNECT with more than 150,000 people, educating them about how sharing their own life experiences and expertise could play a significant role in alleviating the homeless crisis in Los Angeles, and empowering them to take action by signing up to volunteer. Exploring, embracing and showcasing the common ground we all share as Angelenos — and capitalizing on the fun of it as the cornerstone of our campaign — will make LA the best place to CONNECT.

We will utilize short, shareable videos and GIFs, targeted social media posts and social media advertising, info sessions/workshops, community outreach in target neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles, media outreach, and crowd activation activities. These will feature current mentors or mentor prospects and individuals who have experienced homelessness sharing their common life experiences, illustrating the joy and importance of sharing these experiences through storytelling. We will showcase these stories and create related, in-person activities to educate, recruit and sign up volunteer mentors at special L.A. Works days of service tailored to address homelessness in Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

We will define success as meeting the following objectives: 1) Educate more than 150,000 people about how sharing their own life experiences and expertise creates common ground and could play a significant role in alleviating the homeless crisis in Los Angeles, empowering them to take action; 2) Recruit and sign up volunteer mentors using many of the same tactics in person at targeted L.A. Works events. Throughout the course of the campaign, we will sign up more than 1,000 new mentors.

A mentor makes 100 connections with his/her mentee per year. 1000 x 100 = 100,000 connections. Necessarily, our campaign’s outreach impressions will actually represent a vastly larger number of connections that also have lasting impact.

We will measure success by assessing:

* Analytics about impressions, views and engagement on social media platforms

* Web site traffic

* Media impressions

* Community engagement metrics

* Event attendance

* Volunteer sign ups

* Imagine LA mentor applications submitted

* Mentors matched with families and in the pipeline to be matched

Additionally, more volunteer mentors will allow the Imagine LA program to meet its potential so an extended result of this campaign, beyond its two years, will be helping hundreds more Los Angeles families flourish, breaking their cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

The majority of people who are homelessness have experienced homelessness before. Imagine LA, powered by mentors, public and private resources, and communities, will have ended this cycle for hundreds, perhaps thousands of families. This campaign will help us get there. It will also help us meet two goals of our five-year strategic plan: to be embedded in LA County and a nationally recognized model for homeless prevention and community mobilization.

This activation has limitless possibilities for renewal as it evolves to work with more narrowly defined target audiences throughout Los Angeles, i.e. different age groups, specific professions or community groups, geographic areas. In the not-to-distant future, we know we’ll have Imagine LA program graduates (mentees) joining us as mentors themselves.