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

Launched in L.A.

Idea by Seen&Heard

System-impacted youth are empowered and equipped for their future through our program, but how can we ensure that our graduates are connected to safe and supportive avenues for continued learning or employment? Our pilot program, "Launched in L.A." is seeking to develop this pathway for the youth who graduate from our program. Through vetted community and county connections, as well as scholarship opportunities, we walk alongside youth as they transition from our program into independence, providing support every step of the way.


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

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?

After working directly with TAY and system-impacted youth for the past 4 years, Seen&Heard has had a front row seat to nearly 100 young people who leave our program with a newfound knowledge and self-confidence. What we don't always get to see is where these young people land. We are aware that the odds are against them, despite the very best efforts of the collective "village" of non-profits standing by to support. We occasionally hear back from alumni who have suddenly found themselves living in their cars, out of work, or not able to balance parenting and school. We are an organization which prides itself on the personal attention we provide youth. We recognize that with little or no family support, youth exiting systems need focused support longer than many estimate, and guided pathways forward. Without this customized connection, many young people enter the workforce or higher education and an unacceptable number experience hardships too difficult to surmount alone.

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

"Launched in L.A." is an expansion of Seen&Heard's current "phase 3" optional program open to all graduates. Phase 3 is a 10 week, one-on-one multi-modal coaching program. At this time, Phase 3 has little infrastructure to track outcomes besides a detailed intake form and exit survey. Connections to work opportunities or continuing education are made on a case by case basis. We propose a more formalized pathway to opportunities with customizable options that meet a young person at their appropriate stage. With a dedicated case manager and coach for each "Launched" client, youth are guided into one of three areas of their choosing: 1. Continued Professional Development (referrals out to other programs) 2. Work Ready (referrals out to county work projects and private sector jobs) 3. Educational (community college and scholarship connections). Leveraging existing county connections for work and school, as well as small business, "Launched" is a program with the economic interest of LA and our youth at it's heart. We have a wide range of needs and developmental stages, as such, we want to build a program that is customizable so everyone from a high school junior to a 21 year old single parent has potential to launch in ways that are appropriate for them. Our goal in "Launched" is to see that every program participant is set up for success in ways that ensure future economic stability and educational achievement through the added advantage of personal support from a known guide.

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

Seen&Heard believes youth in our program are capable of setting a fulfilling trajectory in work and life; one that also positively impacts their families and communities. One young person equipped to thrive is a model for others around them. Change doesn't only happen through mass solutions, it also comes slowly though intentional individual work. We've found large-scale programs can sometimes feel impersonal and hard to navigate for our students. With program graduates given the opportunity to continue in stable connection with Seen&Heard, participants in this pilot are confident in our support and more likely to "launch" successfully. Positive outcomes ripple out from individuals into families and communities. We may not be able to change systems, but we can give youth we serve the tools and opportunities to change their own life. Through "Launched in LA" change will begin on a micro level in our city, with the potential to ripple out to the larger communities they touch.

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

Seen&Heard will measure success in Launch participants through both observational and self-reported methods including focus groups at entry and exit points. In our current 18 week program we survey youth every 2 weeks during the program by taking a 15 question survey that assesses their symptoms of anxiety and depression, their progress in healthy communication, ability to tolerate difficult emotions, and job interest. Results are calculated by comparing beginning and end surveys, and the rate of change throughout. We will be using similar tools for our Launched pilot, with a directed focus on occupational and educational metrics. In addition to this, Launched data will include tracking job retention and educational attainment with program participants. Success will be defined as both the confidence and determination as reported by participants, as well as length of time in stable employment or educational enrollment.

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

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: 100