learn / 2020

Towards a Student-Led Future for Los Angeles

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by LASA - The Los Angeles Service Academy

LASA has a proven history and seeks support to continue this work to expand its foundational skills training of student activists; create additional partnerships - specifically with foster care students and new schools; ease transportation concerns; and introduce new modules on fire, the county-wide opportunities and infrastructural work involved in the 2028 Olympics, and responses to COVID-19.

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

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

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • University of Southern California
  • The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
  • Los Angeles Public Library

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

USC, the Huntington Library, and LAPL are essential institutional partners. They act as home bases, as well as archival and personnel sources.

Through our ties to USC, we draw academic and other partners into LASA’s programs; we also bring collegiate and admissions counselors into direct dialogue with our students.

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is our downtown home base, and students are made aware of that institution’s young adult and tutoring programs - as well as their critical work in serving those experiencing homelessness.

The Huntington is LASA’s primary base of operations; we introduce students to that institution’s mission, curatorial personnel and collections, and Huntington education/outreach programs are brought to LASA attention throughout any given year’s work.

What is the need you’re responding to?

LA’s students are experts in the realities their neighborhoods and families face. They have ideas for civic improvement and the future. LASA responds to the need to provide foundational understandings of how the county works now and the need to have a county-wide discussion about the differences in lived experiences. LASA addresses both: by providing access to experts on LA’s infrastructure from water to health and housing to politics and justice and by providing a space where high school juniors from across the county who would not otherwise meet each other discuss a collective future.

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

This project is the central mission of LASA. LASA is uniquely suited to take this on because LASA has been doing this work since 2012. We build and evolve. The groups of high school juniors change year to year and graduate into a growing group of LASA alums. Yearly, we add new schools and cover new neighborhoods. We have a community of experts who work with us to guide the students. The issues we address and the experts we invite are constantly evaluated to be responsive to the moment while still addressing longer range infrastructural concerns. LASA is suited to build on this foundation and expand its impact.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

The broader impact of LASA is inseparable from the specific aspects of the future our students choose to address. They have become environmental engineers and architects. They have decided to study environmental studies and engineering based on their experiences in LASA. With each class, we hear of those drawn to law enforcement, public health, and history. Our impact numbers described above are conservative. We have estimated each student impacts three others and our teacher partners impact their classrooms. The realities, we believe, are exponentially larger. While our mission is to serve LASA students, we also see their impact on the experts and institutions they visit based on their questions and concerns.

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

LASA’s successes are measured in both short and longer term gains. Yearly successes are measured via student feedback. We look for reports on realizations and discoveries based on LASA participation, increased engagement in the areas they individually are most drawn to, and reflections on both the state of their neighborhoods and possibilities for the future. Longer term gains are measured in alumni feedback on choices for majors based on LASA experiences and career developments. Our vision for success is to see LASA graduates use the information they gained and the connections they forged to create a more equal, environmentally sustainable, and just LA.

Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?​

  • College matriculation
  • High school graduation rates

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
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

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

  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation
  • Access to the LA2050 community for topic-specific experts