play Winner / 2020
Our program is tailored to provide alternatives to vulnerable inner-city youth in East LA. Many of our participants come from low-income families or children in the foster system with minimum guidance. The Skate-4-Education after school program offers skateboarding as an academic incentive by exchanging skateboarding gear & skate ramp time when they meet specific education goals (i.e., 3.0+ GPAs). By keeping them off the streets & engaged in developing their educational goals, they can redirect their energy towards more positive endeavors.
Has your proposal changed due to COVID-19?
- Switched to an on-line Game of Skate zoom program. Each session is made up of a group of 10-15 participants including mentors. It is an on-line competition, where participants perform a skateboarding trick. Tricks are voted on & the participant with the highest score wins the challenge & earns free skateboarding gear.
- Change to the homework challenge. We’re unable to have them come to the shop for their daily homework/tutoring sessions so we are now holding these sessions on-line. Each participant is required to complete a minimum amount of homework before they can participate in the points program.
- Modified bonus points program from 20 minutes of reading per day & a 3 paragraph essay summarizing what they read to 1 book per week & 6 paragraph essay summarizing what they read.
- Change to 1-on-1 tutoring sessions. Each participant submits a question in advance to our tutors, who follows up with them to help them work through their question. We established a daily 3 hour window in which to provide 1-on-1 tutoring.
- Holding entrepreneurial workshops on-line instead of in-person. COVID-19 experience has provided a real life example of how an entrepreneur must be flexible to unforeseen challenges & new business opportunities.
- We have an increased need during Food Bank Fridays. Our average number of food boxes was 200 pre-COVID-19; it is now 400 30 - 50 lb boxes. Our challenge has proven to be accessing enough food from the food bank to provide at our Food Bank Fridays.
We re-engaged the majority of our participants by keeping them active, reducing the amount of time they spend on video games & assisting them in improving their grades.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- East LA
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
What is the need you’re responding to?
Our immediate goal is to provide an after school program that is an alternative to being on the streets. The long-term goal is to place an emphasis on the importance of focusing on their education by providing them with mentors, who are currently enrolled in college, and exchanging skateboarding gear and activities for reaching their academic goals (i.e, A’s on test scores). The extracurricular activities also include an indoor skate park, DJ room, and silk screening studio at no cost. In addition to focusing on their education, we provide them with an entrepreneurial program that teaches them how to develop a brand, create the merchandise via the silk screening studio and marketing the sale of the items they create. Because so many of these kids come from an underserved community, we also expect them to give back by taking part in graffiti clean-ups, food drives and community clean-up projects. Our goal is to develop well-rounded individuals.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
The majority of the boys go from failing grades to straight As, with many of them pursuing college educations after completing our program. Our goal of “breaking the cycle” is realized when they return to the program to help mentor the younger boys. We are providing them with the opportunity to remove themselves from negative influences and, instead channel their energy towards more productive activities and their education. We create a family environment, where there has been none before. Over the last 13 years, we have provided the guidance and inspiration for our youth to see an alternative to the cycle of poverty and hopelessness in which many of them live.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Many of our participants’ sibling and schoolmates join our program once they see the improvement in grades and reading level proficiency. The participants host different educational events at the local grammar and middle schools in the community to share their personal experiences and present skateboard safety training. We work with different organizations including the Rotary Club of East LA and job development programs to help promote our program benefits.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
We developed a point system that we have employed at the shop since the beginning of the program. They are rewarded for completed homework and reading assignments, scoring A’s on their tests and report cards with 3.0+ GPAs. There are no limits to the number of rewards they can earn. When they initially join our program, they have failing grades and lower level reading proficiency. Measuring their success is at the base of our program. Over the last 3 years, the program has reached over 2,000 registered students. 72% of our participants achieve GPAs of 3.0 or better. Of those that complete the program through high school, 60% move on to a community college or four-year college. We have had participants that have earned engineering, graphic design, social work and law degrees to just name a few.
Ideally, we would like to expand the program to other underserved communities in the Los Angeles area. We have a program that has proven effective and we can help replicate it in other areas.
Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?
- Youth sports participation
- Easy access to a safe park
- Students' sense of safety at and on the way to school
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Capacity, including staff