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connect / 2016

Setting the Stage: Developing Young Angelenos as Community Volunteers for a Lifetime

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by the Jane Goodall Institute

Partnering with key LA schools, Roots & Shoots will connect youth to their communities, build awareness of local issues, empower them through volunteerism, and develop them as compassionate leaders.

Please describe your project proposal.

Partnering with 25 schools, Roots & Shoots will connect 750 diverse Los Angeles youth to communities using the R&S model and empower them to map their communities, identify local issues, implement a service campaign, and collaboratively celebrate successes. R&S will additionally recruit and train five youth leaders to model and inspire civic responsibility through outreach and community engagement. Finally, R&S will hold local community service events and a citywide celebration of service.

Which of the connect metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Social & emotional support
  • Cultural events
  • Public/open streets gatherings
  • Rates of volunteerism

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 connect?

R&S will build upon its existing network in LA to connect young people to their communities by establishing strong networks that provide social and emotional support, implementing cultural community events, and increasing rates of volunteerism. The stage will be set for youth participants to serve as volunteers and leaders in their communities over the course of a lifetime.

Fostering strong communities is vital to making LA one of the best places to live, work, and play by 2050 and rates of volunteerism are key to measure local investment in communities. R&S will engage school administrators, educators, and youth during and after school hours to develop a culture of service. Peer groups will be established that serve as strong social networks and result in increased social and emotional support from peers and community members. Projects will culminate in celebration of service events that convene the community to honor the volunteers and create an increased “sense of place” for young Angelenos.

LA educators will have access to an online professional development course in the R&S methodology. The course empowers educators to guide a youth group through the process of mapping communities using pen and paper or high tech mapping tools (e.g., Esri ArcGIS and Google MyMaps), identifying local issues through the mapping process, strategizing a plan of action, and implementing a service campaign. The curriculum, developed in collaboration with the Pearson Foundation, a global leader learning company, supports academic learning and development of critical thinking and interpersonal skills. It is Common Core compliant and fulfills 21st Century Learning Skills. It is expected that educators from at least 25 schools will complete the course and guide 750 students through service campaigns.

On campaign completion, each school will hold a celebration of service to convene participants with peers, families, educators, and community members to honor their hard work. At year end, R&S will hold a citywide celebration of service event to convene youth and their educators as well as representatives from community organizations and local government.

In the first quarter, R&S will work with educators to identify and recruit five students to serve on the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). These students, who model and inspire civic responsibility in their peers, will receive access to a national network of peers, benefit from training in topics such as community mapping, campaign planning, and fundraising, and attend a national summit of their peers. They will lead the process of implementing the citywide celebration of service and engage their peers via school visits and webinars year round.

Dr. Jane Goodall, a visionary scientist and legendary conservation hero, travels twice each year through the United States. If she holds a public lecture in LA, every effort will be made to extend an invitation to participating students and educators.

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

R&S measures impact by: • Surveying educators on their Roots & Shoots training and integration of Roots & Shoots in their curriculum • Surveying educators on their observations of the impact of Roots & Shoots on their students • Monitoring the number of educators completing the course and the number receiving CEUs for course completion • Monitoring the number of educators incorporating Roots & Shoots in their curriculum; the number of students mapping communities and the number completing service campaigns; and the number of service campaigns completed. • Surveying NYLC members on a monthly basis to monitor the number of webinars completed with peer groups, the number of training sessions led, and the number of personal service campaigns completed.

Quantitative outcomes: • 750 students will volunteer in their community through local service campaigns; • 5 R&S peer groups will be established with the support of LA-based NYLC members; • 25 cultural events will be held in schools and in the communities; and • 5 exemplary youth will complete a one year term on the NYLC.

Qualitative outcomes for youth: • Engage with their community • Have an increase in concern for their community • Increase leadership skills and feelings of personal and civic responsibility • Demonstrate compassion for people, animals and the environment • Demonstrate initiative and propensity for future responsible action • Demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills

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

  • Volunteers
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support