2020 Grants Challenge

Literacy in Action

The Literacy in Action program addresses the prevalence of low literacy and rising obesity rates that disproportionately affect youth in low-income communities. A unique combination of soccer, poetry, and service-learning, students receive more than 100 hours of structured physical activity and English Language Arts (ELA) support with an emphasis on player participation, team engagement, and developing healthy lifestyle choices. We want to instill a genuine passion for playing soccer and establish a lifelong dedication to physical activity.


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


In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

LA county is experiencing an epidemic of illiteracy and obesity that disproportionately affects Hispanic/Latino youth, females of color, and those living at or below poverty LA county’s literacy rate is less than half the national average (33.5% versus 79%), and of English Language Learners only 32% are considered proficient in English Language Arts (ELA) compared to 59% of the overall LA school population. In 2018, 51.8% of Hispanic/Latino 5th graders in LA County were overweight or obese. ASLA works exclusively at Title 1 schools lacking sports and creative art programs. Over 3/4 of participants are children of color, 90% are Hispanic/Latino, half are female, and 85% live at or below the poverty line. At ASLA schools, only 25% of students meet the state physical fitness requirements. Students receive 100+ hours of structured physical activity and ELA supporting active and healthy lifestyles.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

ASLA works exclusively at Title 1 schools that have largely eliminated sports and creative arts programs to focus on academics creating a void in the social, emotional, and physical development of at-risk students. Serving up to 450 students, ASLA works with students from low-income families, who have increased risk of academic failure and obesity. There are no other after-school programs offering a combination of soccer, poetry & service-learning for low-income neighborhoods in LA. The innovative approach improved health, academic achievement, and civic engagement, resulting in continued engagement of student alumni contributing 12,000+ hours of volunteer service back to the organization.ASLA participants significantly improve in multiple domains:89% improve aerobic ability;73% reach the “health fitness zone”for age group;75% improve grammar and writing mechanics;98% graduate high school;90% are more resilient;98% are more confident,&3x more likely than peers to reach ELA standards

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 500

Indirect Impact: 100

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

ASLA's after-school Literacy in Action program targets boys and girls in 3rd-5th grade at elementary schools (aged 8-11) and 6th-8th grade at middle schools (aged 12-14). Gender breakdown is 60% boys, 40% girls, with the majority (90%) of students identifying as Hispanic/Latinx. ASLA partners exclusively with Title 1 schools where the majority of students are on free/reduced lunch and more than 80% of ASLA students fall into a low-income demographic. ASLA serves students in the often-overlooked and under-served West Side community of Palms, ASLA works in collaboration with two K-8 community of six LAUSD schools: Charnock Road Elementary, Palms Elementary, Palms Middle School, Braddock Drive, Stoner Avenue and Marina Del Rey Middle School.

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

We strive for ASLA students to further cultivate teamwork, literacy, and leadership skills enabling disadvantaged youth to excel in both school and life. Our long term goal will be achieved using our holistic approach to prepare students to graduate, matriculate to college, and join the workforce contributing to their communities. ASLA programs are evaluated both internally and externally. External evaluations are performed by: Educational Research Consultants, Research Support Services, Beyond the Bell, and the America SCORES National Office. ASLA invested in new data collection/evaluation partnering with UpMetrics and Hello Insight to capture student attendance and educational performance data in standardized tests and social emotional learning. ASLA internal evaluations elicit principal, parent, teacher, coach, alumni and student feedback. ASLA measures success in student engagement and attendance, hours of physical activity, fitness test results, academic performance, and behavior. Long term evaluations focus on graduation rates, service hours, leadership, and athletic distinction. ASLA will participate in 150+ hours of physical activity, demonstrate increased attendance rates, improved academic performance, and graduate! 75% of students will improve their grammar and writing mechanics. 85% of students will improve cardiovascular capacity and aerobic fitness. Students will be 90% more resilient, 98% are more confident, and 3x more likely than peers to reach ELA standards.

Which of the PLAY metrics will your submission impact?​


Youth sports participation

Students' sense of safety at and on the way to school

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Strategy assistance and implementation