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2022 Grants Challenge

Support System-Impacted Young Women and Trans Youth Economically Thrive with Transform Your Hustle

For almost 30 years, Young Women’s Freedom Center has created a leadership pipeline by and for system-impacted young women and trans youth of all genders to grow their professional and organizing skills in order to transform their lives and communities. Funding from LA50 will allow us to launch Transform Your Hustle, a 12-week job training and life coaching program to meet system-impacted young people where they are at and build the skills for economic empowerment in their lives.

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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?

City 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?

Over 27 years, YWFC has built a model and practice to support young girls and trans youth of all genders transform their lives that centers their expertise, healing and access to economic opportunities. With the recent LA Board of Supervisors’ motion to decarcerate girls in LA County and the closure of Division of Juvenile Justice, there is a need to ensure that efforts to decarceration are paired with adequate support to continue to divert youth from entering or returning to the system. Though this is a great step in the right direction, our community research findings have told us that young people of color continue to highlight a lack of meaningful economic opportunity as one of the biggest barriers to their success once they return home. It is imperative that as LA County is focusing on decarceration that there are models and spaces for young girls and trans youth of all genders to work to build economic self-sufficiency and gain skills to reach their full potential and purpose.

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

Transform Your Hustle is a 12-week training series that supports system-impacted young women and trans youth of all genders to step into their power and their expertise by centering and building on their strengths and skills they’ve learned from their experiences in life. Training will include resources that support participants to pursue their economic empowerment goals by building hard and soft employment skills, including financial literacy, capacity building, building social capital, resource finding, and effective networking. THY will also offer training pathways that explore a variety of ways to economically thrive, including traditional employment and job opportunities, entrepreneurship basics, navigating traditional educational institutions, and vocational and trade training. All THY participants will have access to weekly training sessions, as well as weekly check-ins with our self-determination coaches who will help participants set and achieve their own personalized goals for their economic success. The program will also include field trips to expose participants to diverse examples of economic success and empowerment within their communities. At the conclusion of the program, THY will have a graduation program which includes a certificate of completion and $500 stipend for each participant. YWFC will offer two cycles of THY per year.

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

Los Angeles County would be transformed by our innovative Transform Your Hustle program in a number of ways. Firstly, system-impacted young women and trans youth of all genders in Los Angeles would have pathways and greater skills to navigate and achieve their own economic success as well as a deeper sense of their personal power and self-determination. These outcomes would create more stability in participants’ lives which would reduce youth recidivism and break cycles of youth incarceration and system-involvement, leading to lower rates of incarceration of adult women, lower risk of family separation via the foster care system, and increased physical and mental health outcomes for young women and trans youth of all gender in communities most impacted by generational poverty, the street economy, and incarceration.

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

Transform Your Hustle is a pilot program but it is deeply rooted in YWFC’s award-winning youth diversion models that have been practiced and researched for decades. Quantitatively, we will measure success by reaching the number of participants we have set for the year and the number of hours of training and self-determination-based coaching that we will provide to each participant. Importantly, however, we will also implement surveys and interviews with participants before, during, and after the program in order to measure their own experience of economic empowerment, agency, and self-determination, as well as their economic status. We believe that the program will be a success if participants feel more confident, capable, and have a clearer understanding of their economic goals and how to achieve them. We also believe that by the end of the program and within a year of its completion, participants will be more economically stable than before their participation in THY.

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

Direct Impact: 20

Indirect Impact: 80