live / 2016

NDY Health & Recreation Center: Creating a Healthier and Resilient Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by New Directions for Youth, Inc

The NDY Health & Recreation Center will provide health and fitness programs for high-risk youth and families while providing job training and employment for underserved youth in the community.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Kaiser Permanente, LAUSD schools, LAPD, Los Angeles Probation Department, Department of Children and Family Services, WorkSource Centers, and the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction, Youth Development.

Please describe your project proposal.

The NDY Fitness and Recreation Center provide a fitness and creative space for high-risk youth and struggling parents who do not have access to expensive, traditional fitness centers. The Center will also create an opportunity for under-served youth (ages 14-24) to receive job training, employment, and the critical skills to succeed.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Self-sufficiency
  • Obesity
  • Resilient communities

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

  • San Fernando Valley

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

The NDY Health and Recreation Center will make LA the best place to live by providing the most underserved communities with a place to learn, work, and exercise.

OUR NEED

Youth referred to New Directions for Youth (NDY) are at high-risk of, or already involved with, gangs, criminal behavior, substance abuse, victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, school failure, early pregnancy, or juvenile delinquency. NDY’s programs provide a secure, welcoming environment for youth who are involved with the juvenile justice system, are in foster care, or who are experiencing poverty and hardship. Parents and guardians referred to NDY are challenged by issues of violence, economic hardship and lack of basic services.

In addition to the challenges these families face, there is a lack of nutrition education and physical fitness activities for underserved low-income youth and families. Traditional fitness centers are not available or are outside their financial reach.

The 2015 Obesity in California report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research notes that obesity has a greater impact on vulnerable Californians.

  • “Thirty-one percent of adult Californians below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) were obese compared to 20% percent with incomes at or above 400% FPL.”

  • “The prevalence of obesity was higher among African-American, American Indians, and Latinos than among whites.”

  • “Neighborhood safety is linked with obesity and physical activity… (The) lack of safety can hinder physical activity and increase stress.”

OUR SOLUTION

The NDY Health and Recreation Center will have weights, a dance studio, and cardio equipment that youth and their family will be able to use. These fitness activities and workshops will be available to help reduce obesity and the onset of chronic conditions in disproportionate rates for high-risk and underserved minority populations in Los Angeles. (NDY clients currently served are 70% Latino/Hispanic; 10% African American; 10% Caucasian; and 10% from other ethnic backgrounds.) The Center will also provide healthy opportunities for stress relief to individuals facing life’s most difficult challenges.

To further help the community, the NDY Health and Recreation Center will also provide job training and employment to local youth. The Center will be led by youth employees (ages 16 – 24) who will oversee day-to-day management. For many, this will provide a first time job experience that will give them an opportunity to build their résumé and provide them the necessary hard and soft skills to gain employment.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

The NDY Health and Recreation Center will teach youth and parents about the connection between obesity and other health risks, empowering families to make better health decisions, giving youth and local community members an opportunity to have structured physical activity in a safe environment, and job training and employment for youth.

Success will be defined by the number of participants in programs in activities, fitness assessments to track progress and growth toward personal goals, and the number of youth that obtain employment and a “living wage.”

During the first year, the NDY Health and Recreation Center will

  • provide fitness and nutrition education workshops to youth and family members to increase their understanding of the connection between obesity and the related health concerns and risks.

  • provide physical fitness activities to youth and family members that include weight training, sports clinics, dance, aerobics and yoga classes to help them to become more physically fit.

  • provide unemployed and/or underemployed youth with job, operations management, and soft skills training.

At the end of the year,

  • youth and parents will increase their understanding of the connection between obesity and health concerns and risks as measured by pre and post-tests.

  • youth and family members who participate in the program will become more physically fit by reducing their BMI score.

  • employed youth will be placed in new job opportunities.

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

  • Money
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support