connect / 2015

Building a community of Big Citizens

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Big Citizen HUB

We are working with a diverse group of young people from across Los Angeles who have talents, ideas, and energy that are waiting to be activated. We empower these youth to take action on issues in their community that are important to them. This proposal supports the expansion of our reach and impact in 2016, as we increase the size of our middle school program from 75 to 100 youth and launch our high school program with 75 youth.


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

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Number of public transit riders
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections (Dream Metric)
  • Residential segregation (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

Big Citizen HUB, a project of Community Partners, brings together youth from different neighborhoods, providing a common culture with which to relate, common experience with which to connect, opportunity for dialogue that explores differences in experience and perspective – all while learning important life skills and leadership skills that are necessary for success in school and the workforce. This type of opportunity currently does not exist in our city, where young people can come together from all over and meet new people through positive experiences.

In addition, the success of our program is based on partnerships with organizations that serve and address our most pressing community issues. In our first program year we engaged with 32 external partners across Los Angeles. Aside from learning from, serving with, and connecting on the issues these organizations address, there is one very important outcome that we expect to see over time from this type of engagement: Adults begin to see youth as thoughtful, engaged, and valued participants in our communities. In turn, this change in perception allows youth to gain motivation to succeed in school, participate in their community, and feel optimistic about the future.

As Big Citizens grow and mature they’ll become voters, business leaders, social entrepreneurs, public officials, teachers, and parents. They’ll support public transportation, utilize social media in new and powerful ways, and will regularly connect with others outside of their neighborhood. Big Citizen HUB will be the best place for youth in Los Angeles to learn about issues that affect our local and global communities, to practice the skills needed to solve problems, and to connect with and feel comfortable with people of different backgrounds.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

In our first year of implementation we measured the experience of Big Citizens through mid-year and end-of-year surveys to identify participant assets and growth areas and program efficacy. We also used surveys to understand the experience of our team leaders, community partners, and parents. We’ve been fortunate to receive in-kind evaluation support from a team of graduate students of Positive Developmental Psychology at Claremont Graduate University School of Social Science, Policy and Evaluation. This team has chosen Big Citizen HUB to help focus our outcomes and evaluate our program in our second year of implementation. We are working with this team on recommended evaluation techniques, but expect some to remain consistent with our first year of evaluation. We expect our outcomes in 2016 to include increased ability to work on teams, increased ability to relate to peers of different backgrounds, increased self-confidence, and increased life-satisfaction and positive emotions.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support