2022 Grants Challenge

I Belong / Yo Pertenezco

New Village will help young women who are new arrivals and immigrant youth to CONNECT and thrive at school, in the workplace and in their communities. Our focus on English language development and individualized academic and social-emotional support will help our English Learners overcome previous school failure and past traumas, and develop strong connections to peers and caring adults. Their families will be supported through home visits, assistance with basic needs, connections to community-based supports, and inclusive school activities.


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

Immigrant and Refugee Support

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

Central LA

County of Los Angeles

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?

Connection is about understanding, participation and inclusion. It is the path from ‘otherness’ to belonging. Our English Learner (EL) students and their families struggle to connect as most do not speak or understand the language they need to succeed in school, build new friendships, find safe housing and well-paying jobs, and navigate social supports. Their ability to communicate who they are, what they’ve experienced, and what they need is limited. The COVID crisis led to devastating isolation and instability among our EL students. Half of our parents are undocumented; most are frontline workers with no access to medical care and little to no leverage with employers. Fear of illness and the demands of caring for family members have kept some EL students at home, further weakening their English skills. It will take intensive efforts in language development, academic and social-emotional support, and linkages to community services to reconnect them to their dreams of a better future.

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

Support for Immigrant Students and Families – All EL students will be enrolled in English Language Development (ELD) class and supported in all other classes with bilingual instruction and/or translated materials. Through a partnership with The Advot Project, we will offer an arts-based internship to strengthen English skills, build student confidence, and help them connect with others. Students will participate in mentored career exploration and training opportunities based on their interests. To address students’ emotional health and healing from trauma, our school psychologist will provide counseling and case management services, and referrals to non-profit mental health providers. Daily meditation will help students connect to and calm their inner self; and monthly Wellness Day events will provide opportunities for developing new relationships and forming deeper connections. Field trips and day hikes will help students explore Los Angeles and connect to the natural world. When a student is increasingly absent or stops attending school altogether, our bilingual Community & Parent Liaison will make a home visit to connect with the student and family, and determine what supports are needed to stabilize the household and help the student return to school. This includes emergency assistance, referral to mental health services, and help accessing housing, childcare, and/or legal assistance. Parents will be encouraged to participate in school activities and EL Advisory Council.

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

New Village will be the school community where young immigrant women in Los Angeles come to learn, connect and thrive. A grant of $75,000 will help us achieve the following outcomes by August 2023: 1. At least 80 percent of our EL students will achieve a 200-point increase in reading scores. 2. At least 75 percent of EL students will complete an internship and/or career development training opportunity. 3. At least 25 EL students will complete the arts internship with The Advot Project. 4. At least 20 percent of EL parents will participate in one or more school events. 5. All EL students who start the 2022-23 academic year with senior credits will graduate by June 2023. As a result of our work, more disadvantaged young immigrant women in Los Angeles will complete high school, and have the skills and confidence to pursue a college degree or vocational training, secure a well-paying job, access community-based supports for their families, and participate in community and civic life.

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

This is an early stage initiative, developed in response to the COVID crisis, to provide holistic support to EL students and their families. The 2022-23 academic year will be the first full year of expanded support services. Grade level reading scores will be measured using the Lexia RAPID assessment tool, the Renaissance STAR Reading Test, and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC). More broadly, we will measure improvements in: attendance, engagement, completion of internships, post-secondary planning, graduation and college matriculation rates, and parent involvement. Our school climate survey will measure the degree to which students feel safe, supported, and included. Early results indicate that our current EL students are more engaged in school, more likely to complete an internship, have better attendance, participate more fully in social and wellness activities at school, and are more invested in graduation and post-secondary planning.

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

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 170