2022 Grants Challenge

EmpowerMENt Leadership Certificate: A Foster-youth Success Pipeline

Idea by EMERGE

Through workshops, conferences, and mentorship, students will develop the language and skills of transformative leadership based on Hip Hop critical literacy, social justice, and strong moral character. Additionally, students will also have the opportunity to be placed with a mentor to help them sustain the transformative work they begin in our program.


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

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

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

South LA

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

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

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

Currently, African American/ Black children are over-represented in foster care nearly 7 times the rate of White children in Los Angeles County. Additionally, 45% of African American/ Black children are reported to DCFS by their 18th birthday . Disparity follows African American/ Black, male youth and young adults as they progress through the child welfare system and crossover to juvenile justice and the adult criminal justice system at higher rates. The purpose of this proposed certified leadership certificate program is to reduce the overall referral rate of Black youth from ages 12-18. In a time of declining enrollment where the academic landscape is shifting away from Basic Skills courses, students need now more than ever role models who are encouraging, caring, committed to their success, persistent, and reliable in order to reach the other side of completion. This is the primary function and role of an EmpowerMENtor.

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

To help achieve this goal, EmpowerMENt aims: · to provide evidence-based approaches in workshops to build socio-emotional affective skills, awareness, and habits. · to build pro-social bonds among participants, care givers, and community through mentorship and team-building activities. · to reading and writing literacy rates through Hip Hop Based Education opportunities and workshops · to increase college-access, acceptance, and retention rates by attending culturally relevant academic success opportunities

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

Through career opportunities provided by healthy social networks (ciphers), Black male youth in the LA County child welfare system will grow and thrive. Through college opportunities provided by healthy social networks (ciphers), Black male youth in the LA County child welfare system will grow and thrive. By developing graphic novel critical memoirs Black male youth in the LA County child welfare system will create an archive of counter-narratives that counter the effects of deficit-lens narratives, the mythos of toxic masculinity. Black youth in the child welfare system will have better academic and career life opportunities.

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

Assessment Strategies Ø Pre/post diagnostic tests Ø Progress monitoring assessments Ø Interviews Ø Surveys Ø Questionnaires Ø Sunshine Surveys Ø Focus Groups 33% of participants will complete graphic novel; 50% of high school senior participants will obtain college acceptance; 90% of participants will increase their reading literacy rates by one grade level; 100% of participants will be exposed to 18 hours of college and career readiness experience.

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

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 300