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learn / 2020

RYC After School & STEAM Summer Youth Development & Community Arts Programs for L.A.

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Refresh Youth Center

We’re seeking to serve 500 underprivileged students year-round, promoting self-efficacy & team work through 1) cooking classes, 2) Girls Book Club guided through Sean Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens”, 3) “Shady Lashes” entrepreneur classes, 4) HS internship program, and 5) Color Run & 5K Fundraiser Walk community events for 2,000 attendees. With our “Artisans in Motion” mobile arts stage, we give our kids an opportunity to penetrate the workforce, express themselves creatively, and engage with various communities throughout LA.

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

  • South LA
  • City of Los Angeles
  • Long Beach Unified School District

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • Remix Music Combine Green Dot Public Schools youth program and mobile arts provider (through the production of Dream North Entertainment)

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Dream North Entertainment is in the business of strategy consulting and bringing an eclectic group of versatile artists together with the common focus to share pop-up cultural art experiences with underrepresented youth and communities. Remix Music Combine (RMC) Mobile Stage Trailer provides entertainment and arts production (audio, visual, lighting, and music entertainment). Our ultimate goal is to prepare young minds for a better future, so students can gain skills and confidence as they gradually traverse from each grade and educational institution.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Our programs are designed for students seeking to develop self-efficacy and trade skills, and engage with various L.A. demographics. Experts state that children exposed to poverty and single-parent homes are most often surrounded by violence/drugs and more likely to face increased risk of academic failure, gang involvement, teenage pregnancy, or be susceptible to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, heightening the risks of suicidal ideation or committing a crime risking exposure to juvenile courts. The mission of Refresh Youth Center is committed to minimizing unfortunate events and advancing social and economic equity in under-resourced communities as we are focused on underprivileged youth and minority demographics. Through RYC, we cohesively mesh arts, education, career development, and mentorship to support and offer resources to at-risk youth. Our programs are effective because we establish platforms that allow our staff to relate to versatile youth and communities.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Founder La Ronda Smith is a Certified Life Coach sitting on multiple school boards, with a BS in Human Services (concentration in Children and Family Services). RYC’s Executive Director possesses 10+ years of community outreach and non-profit development (working with HeadStart and LAUSD) and obtaining a BS, MBA, and Masters in International Business. Refresh Youth Center “prepares young minds for a better future” by promoting collaboration and enhancing social programs while paving the way for underprivileged youth to overcome personal tragedies and gain real-life skills that can be used through their young adulthood transitioning. Comprised of diverse individuals across a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, our team are positioned to make a dynamic and lasting impact within our L.A. communities through our programs.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Through our year-round programs we will offer developmental workshops to 800 youth, who will then participate in our special events, exhibiting their self-efficacy, team work, entrepreneurial, and STEAM capabilities as they host and engage with various community members throughout Los Angeles.

The end goal is for Artisans in Motion to promote collaboration and collective impact by strengthening the bonds of Los Angeles entities (such as educational institutions, recreation centers, special public community events) and enhance art and social programs through unique pop-up experiences to meet the needs of at-risk youth and communities (or those not often exposed to artistic cultural experiences), creating a deep sense of community.

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

Through our programming we seek to achieve the following results: *See an improvement in grades and group participation. The majority of the youth that enroll in our programs are dealing with neglect, suffering from abandonment, peer pressure (sexual activity, drug use, alcohol use, gang exposure, and bullying), single-parent homes being maintained by grandparents (65 years of age or older), lack of support and participation from family members, exposure to juvenile courts, frequent truancy and expulsion from school, poverty/homelessness/hunger, and poor communication and acting in aggression towards others.

  • Based on surveys distributed to students, parents, teachers and administrators we want our students exiting our program to traverse into high school to have gained “essential life skills, an helpful ear to express themselves, self- confidence and self-efficacy, and feelings of safety and belongingness”.
  • We obtain tangible results and find an increase in group sharing, leadership skills, self-accountability, and team support.
  • Los Angeles community members wanting to attend our special events which promote ‘Life, Love, Hope, Beauty, Strength, Diversification and Unification’ through “Artisans in Motion”.

Though our productions are catered towards families and groups of all ages and backgrounds, our focus is inspiring our underprivileged youth to believe in something greater than them. The predominant racial or ethnic distribution in the public schools is as follows: Hispanic-Latino 56%; White 21%; African-American 12% and Asian 11%. Although English is the predominant language, Spanish and other languages are increasing, with 61 percent (61%) of the population being non-English speaking, encouraging “Artisans in Motion” to incorporate versatile languages into our pop-up experiences. Approximately 34 percent (34%) of the children in Los Angeles are poor, live in female-headed households and/or are Hispanic. Los Angeles County has been surveyed and found to have the highest density of poverty in the State of California.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Arts education
  • Enrollment in afterschool programs
  • Proficiency in STEM

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

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

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Strategy assistance and implementation