Virtual Assistant Living and Education Program - V.A.L.E.
V.A.L.E. supports foster & system-impacted youth (F&SIY) with resources, tutoring, mentoring, & case management services. Included is our amazing patent-pending technology, eLockBox, a highly secured platform protection system for enabling authorized access to vital life records (VLR) (social sec cards, birth certs, photo IDs, medical records, & school transcripts). Without these documents, youth become disenfranchised & unable to succeed in basic living situations like accessing school, retaining employment, housing, & medical services.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
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?
There is a drastically low number of F&SIY that graduate high school. As this is a compelling issue, studies show the national average that completes high school is 49%, 3% enroll in college & 1% graduate from college. A disproportionately low number enter careers and/or entrepreneurial opportunities after they leave the system upon becoming adults. In LA, Inc.'s 30 years of experience, while having contracts with the child welfare & juvenile justice systems, we found the negative statistics are largely due to the transient nature of these youth & their VLR are often misplaced, stolen or lost. They lack the basic tools to navigate within society which prevents them access to benefits in which they have been awarded such as education, medical care, social services, employment, housing & other essential means of becoming productive citizens. This increases the cycle of homelessness, incarceration, & dependence on the welfare system, ultimately affecting their success.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
V.A.L.E. program is designed to help youth with their academic achievement while receiving resources & services that will give them a solid foundation. Implemented in 2005, V.A.L.E. assists in increasing the number of F&SIY to advance grade levels & graduate from high school on time. We offer hybrid tutoring (in person and virtual), mentoring, case management & after-school activities such as Life Skills workshops, STEM/Robotics exposure, financial literacy, career development & on the job training. Our youth receive quality tutoring & mentoring through our partnership with USC Viterbi STEM Center and USC Rossier School of Ed masters program. LA, Inc. serves youth throughout LA County, including all areas with low educational attainment, limited resources, high crime, and gang activity. We have service provider contracts with LA County Probation Dept, CalFresh & are vendors for Dept of Children & Family Services. One unique aspect of our program is that in tandem with V.A.L.E., our proprietary high-tech patent-pending software, eLockbox, supports electronically maintaining VLR. As it is integrated with Salesforce.com, worlds #1 CRM tool, it allows seamless data input for demographics & assessment reports, case management duties with easier communication for referrals to needed resources and services. With eLockbox, the odds of losing VLR & school documents are significantly reduced, even after youth transition out of the system.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Through our current collaborations with USC, US Bank, Children's Hospital of LA, Woodcraft Rangers, Omni Micro Systems just to name a few & rallying the aid from our individual supporters, together, we will reduce the plight of F&SIY from falling through the cracks. Our short-term goal is to reach a min of 300 youth in 2023-2024: participants have access to their VLR records, graduate from high school on time, can enroll in college, retain jobs, start their own business, procure housing & create a personal history for a stronger foundation upon aging out of the system. We are currently contracted with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) which gives LA, Inc. access to over 725,000 students. Our long-term goal is to hire more staff to increase the number of schools to provide V.A.L.E. to an unduplicated min of 300 F&SIY annually for the next 3 years. Then program has a solid foundation, utilizes its data to become an "evidence-based service program" that goes nationwide.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We use several approaches to measure & quantify outcomes. We administer pre & post-assessments 3x over the year: immediately after youth are enrolled, in the middle & at the end of the academic year. Youth receive questionnaires that ask about their attitudes/beliefs & increase/decrease in services, outcomes & behavioral problems. Data is analyzed for outcomes. Other data collection includes a review of report cards, transcripts, attendance records, service contact logs & referrals for disciplinary problems. Our data shows evidence that 87% of our youth graduate from high school on time, 10% enroll in college & 7% graduate from college compared to the national average stated above. Our goal is sustainable funding for youth to commit for 8 years. This enables us to track specific data relating to the outcomes of youth after they age out of the child welfare system, have an education & have access to their VLR. It is proven that V.A.L.E. reduces the disconnect of services.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 300
Indirect Impact: 1,200