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

Evidence-Based Team Mentoring Program for Youth

Together, we can amplify the power of mentoring! LATM will provide 800 middle school youth with free mentoring services through the e-Works program. Caring volunteers will help them build critical skills, stay on track to graduate, and realize their full potential.


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?

County of Los Angeles


Other:: Hawthorne School District

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?

LA's Department of Children and Family Services has the 2nd largest population of foster youth in the US with more than 30,000 on any given day-most in need of caring adult mentors as part of their support structure. Consider this: the CA. Governor reported that the high school graduation rate of foster youth was only 61% and the Bureau of Justice reported that a fifth of the US prison population is comprised of former foster youth. LATM seeks to address these issues by providing them with a structured, reliable support system and by helping them develop their social and emotional skills. LATM's programs include elements of school readiness and career exploration with the intention of helping them graduate in a college-ready capacity. There is a strong correlation between education-level and potential for income. By preparing them in their formative years, they will have the tools to be self-sufficient in adulthood and to have the opportunity for upward economic mobility.

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

This grant will support LATM's e-Works virtual youth mentoring program, benefitting 800 at-risk mentees (ages 11-14) in Los Angeles County. In e-Works, youth are connected with a team of 3 volunteer mentors, 10 - 12 peers, and 1 experienced staff member. Mentoring sessions operate 6 days a week from October to June; participants attend 30 weekly sessions per year. The program follows an activity-rich, progressive learning curriculum focused on social-emotional development. In addition to weekly mentoring, youth attend skills-based field trips led by our corporate partners on select Saturdays. Partners include Aerospace Corporation, ARUP, Bank of America, EY, Cisco, JPMorgan Chase, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, Woodbury University, and Mount Saint Mary's University. These events allow our mentees to discover opportunities that lie beyond their neighborhood and strengthen the bond between peers and mentors: (a) e-Works University - a college awareness field trip to a local university; students tour the campus, learn about the admissions process/financial aid, and discuss the benefits of higher education. (b) Career Exploration - a career readiness field trip to a local corporation; students learn about the various career paths available within that industry and how they might pursue it. (c) End of Year Celebration - a fun team building field trip where students acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments.

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

LATM was created to build a bridge of hope and future success for children in LA's most under-resourced communities. Here's how LA County would be different if just ONE element of our work is successful. A new partnership with regional offices of DCFS would allow foster youth direct access to LATM's caring mentors and services. Because ERC's program evaluation revealed that LATM mentees graduated at a 22% higher rate than their peers, it's conceivable that foster youth with access to e-Works increase their likelihood of graduating to 83%! This is astounding, as: 1) this levels the playing field since the graduation rate for non-foster youth is similar at 87%, and 2) since LATM does not provide tutoring, this underscores the value of developing a child's social-emotional skills. By 2050, LA's youth will have access to a caring mentor, greater opportunities for economic mobility, and will continue to impart their knowledge on the next generation. "We rise by lifting others."

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

LATM has partnered with a third-party data firm (ERC) to track success. They found that, in comparison to their peers, LATM mentees: (a) achieved a mean grade point average that was .41 points higher; (b) scored 34 points higher in math and 26 points higher in English on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP); (c) had school attendance that was 2% better than the district average; and (d) sustained a higher rate of on-time grade promotion from 8th to 12th grade. In fact, the LATM mentees' rate of on-time grade promotion was 4% higher than the district average in their freshman year...that gap had widened to 14% by their senior year! Another study found that LATM mentees were graduating high school at a 22% higher rate than their peers. There was no significant statistical variation in the data with regard to race/ethnicity, gender, or service area, indicating that youth were benefitting in an equitable and consistent manner.

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

Direct Impact: 998

Indirect Impact: