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

Re-Imagine LA Public Education for Formerly Incarcerated and BIPOC Youth

The Imagine Futures (IF) Mobile Classroom is a project of the Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) a non-profit organization that started in 1998 as a grassroots movement to address gang violence, specifically 64 gang-related youth homicides in Santa Monica's Pico Neighborhood. The IF initiative proposes the question: What happens IF we reimagine educational access and opportunities to meet the needs of the most marginalized groups of people? We use the latest technology and educational tools to disrupt the school to prison pipeline.


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

Opportunities for People Who Have Been Incarcerated

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

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

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?

The tech industry overall has a major issue, lack of diversity and inclusion. According to Business Insider, the percentage of Black and Brown employees at major tech companies is very low at one to three percent of the tech workforce. 83% of all tech execs are white. Women are also underrepresented, underpaid, and often discriminated against in the tech industry. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, of the 25% of women working in tech, Asian women make up just 5% of that number, while Black and Brown women accounted for 3% and 1%, respectively. Tech companies need to keep investing in people of color hiring programs such as ours, build better retention initiatives, and get everyone, at every level of the company, to value and prioritize diverse and inclusive workforces.

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

The Imagine Futures (IF) Mobile Classroom aims to build a pipeline that enhances the life experiences, life chances, and life outcomes of formerly incarcerated people and BIPOC youth through our digital training, professionalism, and job readiness program that allows them to advance from student to teacher and facilitator of our broader educational curriculum. There is ample research that reveals how classrooms and schools with access to advanced technologies have had a dramatic impact on enrichment and learning outcomes. Based on current research, mixed reality classrooms are needed because the gamification of AR/VR leaves a positive attitude with students and makes learning exciting, collaborative, and interactive. This grant will support a three-pronged multimedia approach to consciously reimagine public education: 1) IF Mobile Classroom uses technology & educational tools to disrupt the school to prison pipeline while providing access & opportunities in schools & communities most directly impacted by the criminal legal system and lack of resources. 2) PYFC recently developed Pico Digital, a cutting-edge career program providing aspiring musicians & filmmakers with resources to succeed in their chosen careers. 3) The PYFC Mobile Lab will hire PYFC students to lead its design & on-the-road programming to provide tech and multimedia resources to help bridge the Digital Gap in underserved BIPOC communities throughout Los Angeles County

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

Our intended impact is to apply the lessons we have learned over the last 20 years and work with our current industry partners to systemize a tech-based pipeline for BIPOC youth and formerly incarcerated people. PYFC's culturally relevant and technologically advanced youth programming is credited with reducing youth violence and increasing college graduation rates in the communities of Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City and West Los Angeles. Since 2002, PYFC has evolved into a premier youth program focused on Music, Film, Entertainment & Technology. PYFC has engaged thousands of youth and young adults (ages 8-24) throughout Los Angeles County, providing daily access to state-of-the-art technology and training for youth to learn marketable skills. PYFC works with committed partners such as the Underground Scholars Initiative (USI), a University of California system to provide a pathway for incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and system-impacted youth into higher education.

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

Our model is developing an onsite and satellite learning spaces that are interactive, transformative and easy to duplicate with a supportive pilot program for equipment and training. With the latest technologies, the innovative classroom can be stationary and mobile, enabling us to expand this model locally, statewide, and to school districts in other regions via the purchase of Hololens and Oculus VR headsets for mobile classrooms. Types of Impact Measures: # of Schools & Classrooms engaged # of Students Actively Participating Consistency & Longevity of Student Participation Competencies in New Apps and Programs (LogicPro, GarageBand, BandLab, Voloco & FLStudio) Competencies in Equipment Use (Hololens, Oculus) # of Tech Industry Active Mentors and Donors # of Tech Industry Internships # of Tech Industry Employment Interviews and Hires # of Students with full Pico Digital Curriculum Completion Purchase of Mobile Lab Van + Retrofit # of Mobile Lab Community Pitstop Partners in LA

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

Direct Impact: 350

Indirect Impact: 4,000