2019 Grants Challenge

Connecting young social changemakers across LA

We immerse young people in a 6-month civic action experience, exploring the social justice issues they care most about. Over the next year, we will increase impact by 50% through the implementation of AmeriCorps members into our current program model. By utilizing AmeriCorps members, we will engage 300 youth annually across Los Angeles, giving them space on Saturdays to talk about and address our most pressing issues, creating pathways for them to design and nurture a more just society.


Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

When Founder and Executive Director, Mario Fedelin, was 20, he served a year with AmeriCorps through City Year. He was thrust onto a diverse team that challenged his worldview and helped him find his voice through serving others. That service year led him down a path of over a decade of leadership and civic activism. In 2013, as he was reflecting on his work and career, he asked himself, “What if I had a service year when I was 11? How different would my life be?” To answer that question, he built Changeist, a little league for civic action. Now after an incredible four years of operation, the organization is being given the opportunity to add AmeriCorps members to our service model, creating an additional pathway for our youth to make deep change within their communities.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will your submission impact?​​

Rates of volunteerism

Residential segregation

Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

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

County of Los Angeles

How will your project make LA the best place to CONNECT?

Changeist mobilizes young people (ages 11-26), taking them through a 6-month civic experience, exploring and taking action on important issues in LA. We harness youth assets and positive peer networks through dialogue, community immersion, diversity, and teamwork, while activating youth to address the critical issues dividing our cities — ultimately contributing to a more just, open, and connected society.

We’ve recently been recognized by CaliforniaVolunteers (the State Service Commission) as a program model to support Governor Newsom’s commitment to expanding service in California and increasing civic engagement for all Californians. CaliforniaVolunteers has made a multi-year dedication to support Changeist's growth and expansion by leveraging AmeriCorps State funding. This summer we will join nearly 60 other AmeriCorps State programs operating in California and will be the only program model that uses service as a strategy to grow civic engagement among youth. Beginning in August 2019 we will prepare 15 AmeriCorps members to design and deliver our programming in Los Angeles, increasing our impact by 50%.

AmeriCorps members will recruit and retain middle- and high-school youth, build relationships with schools and community partners, design Saturday curricula, train college-aged volunteers, and develop experiential learning opportunities for program participants - all while developing their own skills in youth work, project management, and sociopolitical problem-solving. Over the course of 22 Saturdays between January and June, AmeriCorps members will increase youths’ civic knowledge and personal agency. We will:

* Place youth on diverse teams, utilizing a near-peer mentor structure

* Address concerns of cultural competency by exposing youth to different groups and perspectives they may not otherwise have access to

* Give youth the space to learn and practice civic leadership skills

* Provide the resources to explore, serve, and reflect on social justice issues

* Provide a place to implement local solutions to local problems

* Complete youth-led service projects

* Utilize public transit to collaborate with agencies across the city, addressing issues such as Environmental Sustainability, Gender Justice, Housing, Immigration, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

In 2020, our youth will represent the following:

* 300 youth ages 11-26

* 60+ zip codes within LA County

* 85% socioeconomically disadvantaged

* 50% female, 35% male, 15% gender non-conforming

* 75% Latino, 10% Asian, 5% African American, 5% Caucasian, 5% multiracial

Our work increases rates of volunteerism, helps create a culture of public transit usage among many of our first-time riders, reduces residential segregation by bringing together youth from 60+ zip codes, builds social capital among participants, and provides social and emotional support to 300 young people ages 11-26, helping to make LA the best place to connect.

In what stage of innovation is this project?​

Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)

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

We conduct formative, mixed methods program evaluation. Our evaluation focus highlights

both the program process (i.e. quality of program implementation, youth participants’ program

experiences) and program outcomes (i.e. youth participants’ developmental growth and learning). Through continued use of these measures, we aim to track longitudinal changes in the program’s ten target outcomes in the areas of _Character Development_, _Social Capital_, and _Sociopolitical Empowerment_:

1. Diversity Attitudes

2. Gratitude

3. Teamwork

4. Curiosity & Exploration

5. Diverse Social Capital

6. Awareness of Social Issues

7. Motivation to Make Change

8. Sociopolitical Problem-Solving Skills

9. Experience Taking Action

10. Agent of Change Identity

Using pre-program and post-program participant surveys, we expect to see statistically significant increases in the ten outcomes above.

In addition, we are utilizing a mobile technology to collect information about youth’s real-time experiences during the program. This methodology, called Experience Sampling Method (ESM), signals youth at random points throughout the program day with a brief survey that asks respondents about what they are doing and feeling in that moment. This approach provides us with data on the quality of program implementation and how youth are experiencing and interacting with program components.

In addition, we track:

* Participant demographics

* Participant attendance

* Hours served

* Retention percentage

* Number of community partners engaged