2022 Grants Challenge

Build Your Own Dreams

We teach our youth responsibility, accountability, critical thinking so they can build their own business and dreams!


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by Snap Foundation)

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

East LA

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

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Our primary goal is to provide an alternative to college for kids who are unable to attend for a myriad of reasons (i.e., lack of financial resources, indifference, learning disabilities). We want to equip them with the tools needed to establish their own businesses and help them become more successful and productive citizens in our communities. As part of our program, we also emphasize the responsibility of giving back to our East LA community. We hope they see the benefits of giving back and come full circle.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Our goal with the flagship mentoring program we established 15 years ago, was to provide our youth with the tools, support, and skills set necessary to succeed in higher education (i.e., college/university, community college, or trade school). While the majority of our efforts were focused on giving and developing the tools for them to succeed in higher education, we also became aware that a significant number of our participants would be unable to attend college. A lack of familial financial support or access to funding play a large factor in their decision to postpone or pass on going to college. In an effort to provide these kids with an alternative to college, we developed the entrepreneurial program. They are learning to conceive a business idea, develop the idea into something tangible and marketable, then establishing the necessary infrastructure to further their idea and/or product. Creative arts, in particular, have proven to be the most common factor in engaging our kids.

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

By completing our entrepreneurial program, we hope to see many of the individuals become employable in the music and movie and film industry. As the home to "Hollywood", we know that Los Angeles abounds with opportunities for our kids to find jobs in the fields they love so much. With the proper training, they can begin working right after high school to help provide additional income and a more comfortable lifestyle to their families. Many of our East Los Angeles households, unfortunately, live below the poverty level. These music and movie and film jobs are normally unionized and not minimum wage jobs. This is a huge step up for many kids, whose immigrant parents work for minimum wages and are often abused and mistreated by their employers. For those who prefer to establish their own businesses, they will have the skills set to do so through the silk screening process we've been teaching for 15 years.

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

Our most proficient measure of success is the number of kids who have developed their own t-shirt or product line. They are encouraged to conceive an idea and we help them develop and refine it. Once they complete the process, their product line is sold at our store on consignment. Often times, they become our best-sellers!

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

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 600