LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Elevated Minds Embracing Righteousness and Gaining Equality (EMERGE, Los Angeles)

Developing the EmpowerMENt Leadership Training Program, EMERGE draws on the language and skills of transformational leadership from Hip Hop and the arts as a leadership tool for the development of Black, Brown, and Foster youth ages 11-18+ to increase their overall sense of personal and academic efficacy, to improve their communication skills, to offer college and career-readiness opportunities, and to connect boys and young men of color with professional mentors as the vanguard of positive youth development throughout Los Angeles county.


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

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

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

South 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?

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth- Currently, African American/ Black children are overrepresented 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.

"Program Services (program facilitators, Academic achievement- incentives, workshop supplies)" $ 25,000.00 Operations $2,000.00 Promo/Marketing $13,000.00 [3]Speaker/workshop series + supplies $7,000.00 A2Mend Conference/Black College Expo/HBCU tour $3,000.00 Academic achievement incentives 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 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. Through EmpowerMENt, which is a certified leadership training program conducted by EMERGE, this program will cultivate and promote diversity, inclusion, and cultural literacy development among community college students. Through 3 workshops, 1 conference, and mentorship, youth will develop mental health and wellness and college/career readiness skills. Each workshop and activity provides the opportunity for students to create personal action plans. Additionally, students will also have the opportunity to be placed with a mentor to help them sustain transformative work.

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

EMERGE has recently completed a successful fiscal year in 2021-22. Here are a few key statistics: 01 100% of Critical Reading and Writing Improvement program participants learned the writing process to produce narrative works and had their narratives published 02- From 2020-22, 123 youth were engaged in our College Readiness program 03- 100% of College Readiness participants completed their FAFSA 04- In November of 2021, EMERGE organized a Thanksgiving bundle who provided 30 families with Thanksgiving dinners which included a Turkey, Canned Yams, Macaroni and Cheese, and Gravy. 05 In December 2021, EMERGE provided 100 toys and 30 gift cards for foster-youth in Christmas toy drive 06- 100% of all program participants are low-income 07- As of June 2022, over 100 foster youth from LA County DCFS offices were enrolled in our Fostering Youth Resiliency Program, while the EmpowerMENt Mentoring Program has served 378 youth total.

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

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 300