2018 Grants Challenge

The Youth New A.G.E Initiative

The New A.G.E Initiative coaches low-income youth on how to Abate waste, Generate revenue, and Educate communities about recycling to engender environmental sustainability and social responsibility.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

MVFC seeks support to launch its Youth's New A.G.E Initiative, a campaign designed to mobilize communities around environmental issues to inspire sustainable living and encourage community-driven and based enterprise. The purpose is three-fold: to alleviate the environmental burdens for low-income families, who often bear the brunt of environmental damage, to deliver environmental education, and to develop sustainable and innovative models of revenue for community-serving organizations.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your activation impact?​

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

Resilient communities

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

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


How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Advocate for policy

Digital organizing or activism

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Encourage businesses to change practices

Increase participation in political processes

Influence individual behavior

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Increase donations to organizations and causes

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

The city of Los Angeles sends over 3 million tons of waste to landfills or incinerators annually. Much of this waste could be recycled or composted if residents had sufficient access to disposal systems. Many Angelenos however lack access to recycling services in their apartments or workplaces. Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the unequal distribution of municipal services. Hindered access to responsible disposal systems can increase exposure to environmental hazards and health problems that emanate from poor air and water quality. Lack of access to environmental education is another contributing factor. Only 10% of the students enrolled in our youth program for example, recalled receiving environmental education in their schools. The environmental impacts for marginalized communities and gaps in environmental education are causes for significant concern. These concerns are addressed by Mar Vista Family Center’s (MVFC) Youth New A.G.E. Initiative. The Initiative aims to create a more sustainable and conscious relationship between Angelenos and the environment while introducing creative strategies for community fundraising.

MVFC youth want Los Angeles to be an environmental justice leader--that is, a zero waste city that protects its low-income residents from environmental health hazards through community-driven initiatives. The Youth New A.G.E Initiative coaches low-income youth on how to Abate waste, Generate revenue, and Educate communities about waste management in order to engender environmental sustainability, creative fundraising, and social responsibility. The Youth’s Recycling Campaign and “Green-Giving” strategy has encouraged local residents to donate their recycling to MVFC leading to the collection of thousands of plastic bottles and aluminum cans that our youth will cash in. The campaign has raised significant awareness about plastic pollution in the community.

Our activation will support LA2050’s efforts to decrease the acres and miles of polluted waterways. Plastic trash from consumer goods makes up the majority of what becomes marine debris which significantly affects the environment, wildlife, and human health. The Initiative’s focus on waste reduction, environmental education, and community fundraising encourages Angelenos to mobilize in favor of cleaner waterways. By educating Angelenos on the benefits of waste reduction and by linking this advocacy to Green Giving, or community fundraising campaigns, we believe that we can clean up the city, protect our waterways, and provide children the environmental quality and sustainability they need to lead healthy and environmentally conscious lives thus decreasing adverse childhood experiences. Our activation also creates and supports resilient communities. Our enterprising approach to the Initiative empowers ecologically fragile communities to reclaim their space and develop financially sustainable models in the process.

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

Our target audience are marginalized communities impacted by environmental hazards, environmental leaders, schools and other community-serving organizations, waste management service providers, youth, and everyday Angelenos. The goal is to motivate community-based prevention and innovation strategies so that Los Angeles may be at the forefront of community-driven efforts that yield greener, more creative, and financially viable plans. The initiative is collaborative with the potential to engage all levels of contributors: from individuals with a passion for environmentalism, to corporate sponsors seeking to develop their social responsibility efforts, to fellow youth-serving organizations looking for diversified streams of revenue or strategic partnerships.

The Initiative applies entrepreneurial approaches to social justice issues. Our youth identified earned income as an effective way to reduce pollution in their immediate area by offering prize incentives: “collect the most recycling and win a pizza party.” In applying this same positive reinforcement model to neighboring community serving organizations--be it a school, a church, a shelter, an after-school program, etc., we believe our youth can support the city’s zero waste goal with a series of campaigns: Recycling, Compost, Zero-Waste Days, E-Waste. There will be opportunities for Angelenos to participate in beach and community clean-ups, to serve as sponsors, and to share resources.

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

Success of our activation would be measured in the following ways:

Waste Reduction: With the support of the EPA, LA City Sanitation, and environmentally-driven organizations we will monitor the city’s waterways, recycling efforts, and consumer practices.

Environmental Literacy: Surveys will be administered to test environmental literacy before our workshops and thereafter.

Youth Engagement: As the Initiative derived from our By Youth for Youth teen program, we want youth to remain the cornerstone of this project. As such, we will track the number of Initiative youth participants as well as those impacted by the program--that is, any youth attending Initiative related events by closely monitoring attendance and participation in community events.

Funds raised: We want our model to be one that other community-serving organizations can replicate and find monetary success with. The metrics under this category would calculate the funds raised by MVFC under the New A.G.E Initiative and all funds raised by adopting organizations.

Collaborations: We want Angelenos to feel more connected to their elected officials, local governments, and service providers. As such, we will measure the number of collaborations with the public, private, commercial, and manufacturing sectors as well by documenting the number of community volunteers. This will be captured by our website’s ‘How did you hear about us’ section.

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

In 5 years time we expect MVFC Youth to be recognized as leaders in the pursuit for environmental justice and equity in the city of Los Angeles, we expect to have transformed MVFC into a reliable and well-known recyclables drop-off site which includes pick-up services to ensure that vulnerable communities--like our own--have access to proper and sustainable disposal systems for recyclables including plastic, aluminum, e-waste, and paper. We expect to contribute to a small percentage of MVFC’s earned income and stimulate local job creation by hiring youth alumni to assist with waste disposal and pick-up services. We would like to see this entrepreneurial and environmentally charged model adopted by local schools and neighboring non-profits and amplification of the “Green-Giving” Model. We would expect to see an increase in environmental literacy among local residents and youth.

In five years time, our efforts would shift to focus on advocating for a policy that requires environmental education in LAUSD public schools with preference for elementary and middle school.