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learn / 2018

Students Engaging Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Los Angeles Service Academy

How do LA’s youth experience LA and how do they imagine LA’s future? LASA invites them to consider how they are problem-solvers and visionaries of both the LA of today and of tomorrow.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

LASA proposes to expand its foundational skills training of student activists; create additional partnerships; foster greater cohesion amongst our students and ease transportation concerns. Further, LASA, continues to invest in the expansion of its database of current students and alumni to capture feedback after each session as well as feedback from alumni who can articulate how LASA changed their career or study trajectories.

Which of the learn metrics will your activation impact?​

  • College matriculation rates
  • District-wide graduation rates

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

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

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • Gateway Cities

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to learn?

LASA will make greater Los Angeles the best place to learn by providing an intensive introduction to the infrastructure and institutions of greater Los Angeles for high school juniors who have expressed an interest in public, civic, and civil service. As a supplement to their regular school year, LASA students learn from the very heart of the region’s history and culture, and, in so doing, learn how best they can contribute to the region and our collective problem-solving obligations. LASA engages curiosity and the desire to create change in a diverse landscape of spaces from the Metropolitan Water District, the Port of Los Angeles, the business community, to the local arms of the judicial system.

Participants gain the experience and knowledge necessary to better understand the intricacies — infrastructural, historical, political, economic, and otherwise — of the region in which they live, and build lasting bonds of friendship, camaraderie, and work experience with a diverse group of peers.

LASA speakers - in the dozens - including Jeff Kightlinger of the Metropolitan Water District, Raphael Sonenshein of the Pat Brown Institute at California State University-Los Angeles, and Belinda Waltman of Whole Person Care Los Angeles - help the students create a foundation of knowledge to inform their visions for the future.

LASA contributes to LA as a space to learn by encouraging the students to learn by sharing their diverse experiences with each other and with the speakers. They listen to each other and define the issues in LA they want to address moving forward.

New this year, LASA partnered with Pasadena’s Partnership for Success and Polytechnic School to launch the Mt. Wilson Project that engages student interest in STEAM and culminates in a nighttime trip to view the universe through the 60” telescope. Further, LASA launched a summer research essay competition to sponsor and mentor two students pursuing research on Los Angeles after their LASA year.

Our hope is that, over time, LASA will change the lives and career paths of hundreds of high school students in the region and will become an agent of change and community building throughout Los Angeles.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to learn

In the last five years, LASA students have come from Altadena, Baldwin Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Boyle Heights, Century City, Cheviot Hills, City Terrace, Commerce, Culver City, Eagle Rock, East Los Angeles, Hancock Park, Hawthorne, Highland Park, Hyde Park, Inglewood, Koreatown, Lawndale, Lennox, MacArthur Park, Montebello, North Hollywood, Pacific Palisades, Pacoima, Panorama City, Pasadena, Pomona, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake,Tarzana, and Venice and LASA hopes to expand. Students return to their communities with the skills and knowledge to mobilize Angelenos across the county. They share their new tools as well as their hopes for creating LA’s future.

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

LASA’s definition of success is twofold. First, LASA seeks to introduce youth to the complexities of LA infrastructure. Second, LASA seeks to empower youth to become problem-solvers and agents of change.

LASA measures success via:

  • Number of students participating and number applying;

  • Positive written feedback from students, teachers, and speakers.

  • Students’ knowledge of the aspects of LA infrastructure and ability to frame issues they plan to address moving forward;

  • Further, by completing the alumni database, LASA will be able to track, foster, and celebrate the change LASA graduates bring to LA in concrete terms.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

LASA hope that in five years it will be welcoming a new class of high school juniors to engage with Los Angeles as it grows and changes. And LASA believes it will be introducing those students to LASA-graduates as experts whose work is transforming learning, connecting, and creating in LA.