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

Uplifting youth and building community through storytelling and skill building.

For more than a decade, Boyle Heights Beat has been training high school youth as community journalists. Through mentorship by professional journalists and youth advocates, this program gives young people a special sense of purpose within their community. Boyle Heights Beat helps to equip young people to shed light on social and racial injustices in their communities through writing and storytelling, to acquire and apply valuable career skills, and to cultivate new relationships with community members, peers, and mentors.


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

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

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

East LA

City 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?

Boyle Heights Beat provides a pathway to creative careers by offering training and mentorship opportunities to help underserved youth of color develop the skills and experience they need to pursue careers in journalism, media, and related fields. The program offers a space that encourages youth to explore opportunities as next-generation storytellers through a community news project. The project includes training in reporting, writing, photojournalism and podcasting. Youth create and publish work, acquiring skills that are a foundation for professional pathways. Youth reporters gain hands-on experience and develop a portfolio of work to showcase their skills and experience to potential employers. Boyle Heights Beat also provides opportunities for its youth to network and collaborate with other individuals and organizations in the community, which is valuable for building professional networks and employment opportunities.

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

With weekly news meetings, reporting, guest speakers, leadership opportunities, and one-on-one mentoring, Boyle Heights Beat empowers young reporters of color with valuable skills that will serve them in their future educational and professional lives. The community news project helps provide youth with a sense of belonging and a platform to uplift their voices and the voices of local community members. Students develop leadership skills and the confidence to raise awareness about social and racial inequalities in their neighborhood. With mentoring and training by professional journalists, students acquire a range of marketable skills, including analytical, research, writing, leadership, community engagement, radio broadcasting and technical skills, while giving voice to a vibrant immigrant community.

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

By providing underrepresented youth with professional training and mentorship, Boyle Heights Beat's goals are to help cultivate a new generation of storytellers with the skills and experience needed to succeed in the media industry. By empowering a new generation of diverse voices, the long-term goal is help dispel racial stereotypes and the poor representation in media that affects self-esteem, sense of belonging and opportunities. Through partnerships with media outlets, the project aims to create pathways for a diverse team of storytellers, celebrating differences and elevating important issues which are often ignored in mainstream media. As a bilingual news outlet, BHB also provides a space where residents can access news and information in their preferred language, Spanish or English, helping to bridge the language barrier which can often prevent people from engaging with the news or staying informed.

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

At Boyle Heights Beat, we survey our youth using multiple evaluation tools and evaluate students at the start and end of the year-long programming. Our past surveys have demonstrated that 90-percent of respondents have said their self-confidence improved and their career ambitions were heightened as a result of the program. Last year we implemented the Development Assets Profile (DAP) survey to collect more quantitative data and measure the social-emotional strengths and supports of young people. One current reporter said, "I have learned a lot from participating in Boyle Heights Beat, but I think the most important thing was learning to feel more confident in my communication skills and a greater sense of belonging in my community." We also have established an alumni network, where former students return and talk to high school students about college and careers as well as provide us feedback on skills they learned in the program and input on areas we could focus on in the future.

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

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 100,000