2021 Grants Challenge


South LA Opportunity Youth (OY), ages 16-24, will receive: 1) Abundant and enjoyable recreational opportunities (applying the trauma-informed care practice of choice); & 2) Acquire a sense of belonging via engaging in culturally responsive social & emotional learning activities. OY will receive: 1) mental health support to mitigate risks & promote healing from experienced trauma & adverse childhood experiences; & 2) opportunities for engagement with others through PLAY (exploring outdoors & our natural environment) & social media activities.


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

South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

An urgent need exists to mitigate risks and promote healing, for OY, from trauma & adverse child experiences (ACE). ACEs include: Abuse; Neglect; Mental illness; &/or Incarcerated relative. CDCP (2019) reports: 1) the childhood years are the “building block” years that help set the stage for adult relationships, behaviors, health, and social outcomes; 2) ACEs & conditions such as living in under-resourced or racially segregated neighborhoods, frequently moving, experiencing food insecurity, and other instability can cause toxic stress; & 3) Some children may face further exposure to toxic stress from historical and ongoing traumas due to systemic racism or the impacts of multigenerational poverty resulting from limited educational and economic opportunities. Children growing up under these conditions often struggle to learn & complete schooling; are susceptible to illness & mental health challenges over their lifetime; & may have difficulty forming healthy & stable relationships.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children and families can prevent ACEs and help all children reach their full health and life potential. Our project will: connect youth to caring adults and activities; and teach social and emotional learning skills. SAMHSA’s 6 Key Principles of a trauma-informed approach, will be employed: 1) Safety; 2) Culture, history & gender; 3) Empowerment, voice, and choice; 4) Peer support; 5) Collaboration and mutuality; and 6) Trustworthiness & transparency. This project will utilize a culturally responsive approach to creatively expose OY to: 1) Abundant and enjoyable recreational opportunities; 2) Opportunities for healing from trauma through empowerment, planning, and choice (of recreational activities); 3) Culturally responsive social and emotional learning skills; and 4) Real-life examples of engaged youth, via the provision of Millennial Mentors. Project activities will include: 1) Abundant recreational opportunities (including exploring outdoors and appreciating our natural environment); 2) Social and emotional learning activities; 3) Clinical support; and 4) Mentoring support. Outcomes from this partnership may include: Healing from past trauma and adverse childhood experiences; Stress reduction and coping strategies to minimize response to triggers of past traumas; A sense of belonging and empowerment (and enhanced self-esteem and sense of purpose); and Positive engagement skills.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: -

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Our vision supports the LA2050 goals: people from across Los Angeles will explore the outdoors, & appreciate our natural environment; All residents will feel a sense of safety & belonging in their neighborhoods; & less than 5% of youth, 16-24 in the City of LA will be disengaged from work & school. Our project aims to empower & support the development of socially and emotionally healthy Opportunity Youth, ages 16-24. Our vision for this project includes: 1) The provision of abundant, enjoyable recreational opportunities for Opportunity (Disengaged) Youth; 2) Increase engagement of OY, in their neighborhoods, via providing, culturally responsive, social & emotional learning skills; and 3) Youth engage in their neighborhoods and contribute to civic life (including meaningful social media connections). Participants will be recruited via public & social media announcements & solicitations to organizations. Selection will be open to OY living in South LA, videos of interest invited.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Metrics will include: 1) 90% of Youth will experience, at least, five new high-quality recreational opportunities (including outdoors and our natural environment); 2) 90% of Youth will utilize a digital platform to voice their opinions (increase civic engagement); and 3) Dream metric: Youth will increase their total number of local social media friends and connections by 10 friends. Note: Prevalence of trauma and adverse childhood experiences: LA2050 seeks data that measures the rates of exposure to trauma and adverse childhood experiences among local youth. Toward this dream metric, our aim will be: 90% of youth will receive therapeutic support and SEL strategies to mitigate risks from past trauma and promote healing. Project success will be measured, ongoing throughout the project, formally and informally, soliciting feedback from all stakeholders. Project services and activities will be adjusted, as data support, to ensure the highest level of success upon project conclusion.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Harvest All Resource Center (HARC) - Participants will receive SEL Self-Actualization, Self-Awareness, and college/career training opportunities; HARC will also share referrals to college/career programs for participants. Playworks - Approval Pending Other Partnerships (pursued & declined): LA Opportunity Youth Collaborative-No response; LA RISE-New Earth (declined; applying themselves); Mayor's Fund for LA-YouthSource Brotherhood Crusade (declined)

Which of the PLAY metrics will you impact?​

Prevalence of trauma and adverse childhood experiences

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to CONNECT