connect / 2016
Help Open A Youth Center for LGBT Homeless Youth Like No Other!
Please describe your project proposal.
To open a unique Youth Center for LGBT Homeless & at-risk youth (ages 14-24) that offers fun, educational, and resourceful activities on a regular basis. At our signature dances, youth attendees would get an opportunity to escape their day-to-day challenges while at the same time gaining access to services available to them locally via our community partners & agencies (i.e. transitional living, GED programs, emotional support, & other social services).
Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?
- Social & emotional support
- Cultural events
- Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
- Participation in neighborhood councils
- Rates of volunteerism
- Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have
In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- City of Los Angeles
Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to connect?
This new and unique Youth Center would serve as a hybrid of activities that are both fun and resourceful. We feel that the best way possible to make L.A. the best place to CONNECT is by using the same formula we have used for over 10 years: DIVERSITY. Diversity in safe place where individuals from different cultures, backgrounds, faiths, identities, and cities can all come together to lift the next generation and get them off the streets.
57% of homeless teens spend at least one day every month without food and a large percentage of LGBT homeless youth are at high risk for HIV infection & substance abuse. Reaching out to them and encouraging them to seek services can be a challenge through traditional means currently available. A Youth Center that offers regularly scheduled (fun) activities like dances, movie screenings, and social mixers, is more likely to attract the attention of these teens and serve as a ‘first-step’ in their rehabilitation process. As we like to say, ‘The fun gets them in the door, but the resources inside can save their lives!’.
We anticipate servicing as many as 2,000 youth via our signature dances alone in the Center’s first year. An additional 1,000 (or more) can be serviced through workshops, incentives, and special activities. These numbers are a significant increase of our current reach and LA2050 would allow us to have a greater impact in solving the issue of homeless LGBT teens in Hollywood.
All major events & activities at the Youth Center would partner with local service providers as a way to link youth to valuable services like transitional living, GED programs, HIV & STD Testing, emotional support, & other social services. As we have done for over 10 years at our events, we would engage existing youth organizations in the area by offering them outreach tables, the opportunity to present workshops, distribute informational materials, and interact directly with our attendees. These partnerships are key and would serve as a centerpiece for both our work and our on-going effort to help get kids off the streets. While some organizations may already have their own youth center, ours would serve as a crossroads for all agencies and a neutral ground where we can all come together and service these teens.
In an effort to involve the surrounding community, this Youth Center would regularly reach out to local residents, schools, neighborhood councils, and community leaders. Increasing our current volunteer base from 50 to 200 affords more people the opportunity to have a stake in the overall mission and to bring something different to the table. Activities such as Open Houses and Community Fairs would give us a golden opportunity to educate residents on homelessness and what they can do to help solve the problem.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
We believe that listening to our Clients is always the best way to judge our success, or lack thereof.
Methods such as surveys and feedback forms will be used as a way to evaluate our work. Through a series of thorough questions about our events and activities, we will give both our youth and adults the opportunity to freely express themselves on the use of this Youth Center. Surveys will be made available on-site and online as well. These can be submitted anonymously as a way to comfort the author and not let them feel pressured.
The tracking of case progress would also be a key component of our success, as we would follow up with local service providers to ensure that youth are taking the next step in the rehabilitation process and reaching out for help.
Leaders of the Youth Center will also have to hold themselves accountable for the goals they have collectively outlined for the facility. By meeting regularly, giving each other feedback, and identifying any potential issues, Staff can increase their chances of providing the best possible service for all of its Clients. A majority satisfaction rate in performance would be the target for both statistics and client satisfaction. A database of these evaluations would be maintained regularly as a way to document the progress of the Youth Center.
We would also solicit feedback from our local community as a way to maximize the use of the Youth Center by discussing both its strengths and areas for improvement.
How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?
- Advisors/board members
- Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
- Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
- Community outreach
- Network/relationship support