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

Promotorx in the Park

Vision y Compromiso will collaborate with Los Angeles State Historic Park, the heart of the California State Parks system in Los Angeles, to meaningfully and powerfully promote park access and advance equity in underserved communities nearby in this pilot project "Promotorx in the Parks." This park outreach and engagement model for youth and young adults will offer a rich array of training, workforce development, and volunteer opportunities to promote park programs and environmental stewardship, build job skills and engage local residents.


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?

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?

Los Angeles State Historic Park is the heart of the California State Parks system in Los Angeles. Dedicated to meaningful engagement with underserved and park-poor communities, California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) and Vision y Compromiso first collaborated in 2018 to train local residents and Promotoras in the Parks was born. Primarily Latina women, these trusted leaders who live in the communities they serve, skilled at increasing access to health, education and social services, were now empowered to use the promotor model to increase park access at LASHP for all families. Today, CDPR is providing culturally competent training, partnering with community organizations, and hiring Community Engagement staff to pilot Promotorx in the Parks, a park outreach and engagement model for youth and young adults to promote park programs and environmental stewardship, address the needs/interests of local communities, offer a rich array of workshops, and volunteer opportunities.

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

During 6/24-8/31/23, Vision y Compromiso (VyC) is collaborating with LASHP to train 16 youth and young adult volunteers (age 18-28) who have already been accepted in the 2023 Promotorx program. VyC's expert Trainers will deliver a 40-hour core skills training, Promotores Transforming Families and Communities and Advanced Leadership Training. Participants will practice techniques to improve listening and speaking skills; engage in dialogue about community strengths, opportunities and challenges; understand group formation and strengthen their relationship building skills; and increase their knowledge about health and wellness, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and community transformation. VyC's transformative approach uses participatory activities rooted in the principles of popular education (Paolo Freire). Participants will identify community needs (food and housing insecurity, after school activities, mental health and wellness) and take steps to address these needs through individual and collective action. A grant from LA2050 will enable VyC staff to provide Promotorx support and training on topics such as: advocacy training, workforce readiness, mental health first aid, or bailoterapia circles to promote wellness by building social connections and promoting movement and physical activity (i.e. Zumba, walking groups, yoga). Young adult participants will receive stipends for training completion and one-on-one job coaching.

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

The Promotorx cohort will serve as local advocates who assist LASHP staff with existing programs and develop and implement new programs and events in response to the needs and interests of low-income communities surrounding the park. Promotorx will meet monthly with the LASHP Community Engagement Coordinator, identify strategies to increase park access, identify local resources, and gain valuable volunteer experience as they support food distribution programs, environmental programming, art exhibitions, farmers markets and cultural events that take place in the park. VyC will provide Promotorx with additional workforce development training (workforce readiness, digital skills, job search skills, job coaching) to help Promotorx turn their training and volunteer experience into rich opportunities for employment as promotores, peer support specialists, or jobs in the California State Parks system. VyC will also provide training to a second cohort of Promotorx during June to August 2024.

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 project. VyC and LASHP collaborated 5 years ago to pilot the Promotoras in the Parks program. This pilot project is now one of the cornerstones of the CDPR's long-term community engagement strategy to transform California State Parks by building the capacity and infrastructure to bring more low-income residents and communities of color to the parks and build a workforce pipeline that will contribute ensure CDPR staff reflect the diversity of California. Success will include training retention rates, projects identified and implemented by the Promotorx, increased stewardship and interest among Promotorx as a new generation of environmental leaders, repeat visitation of community residents to LASHP, increased # of community partners who support LASHP, expansion of the promotor model to help residents link to local resources and navigate the State Park system, standards/metrics identified to support scaling the Promotoras/x in the Parks program to other parks.

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

Direct Impact: 25

Indirect Impact: 2,500

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

LASHP and VyC collaborated 5 years ago to implement the first Promotoras in the Parks program. In follow up interviews conducted by VyC, Park staff raved about the promotoras who were bringing community residents to the park for the first time, engage with them, leading classes, and creating a welcoming space for all. This model is highlighted in the Community Liaison Pilot Project document "Transforming California State Parks" prepared by Implementing Positive Change. VyC is already contracted by LAHSP to train the Promotorx (16 volunteers) beginning 6/24/23. VyC and the LASHP Community Engagement Coordinator will continue to collaborate to support the Promotorx to engage in volunteer opportunities, access workforce development supports and identify and carry out community projects.