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Sail Away Weekends

Sail Away Weekends

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Los Angeles Maritime Institute

LAMI’s Sail Away Weekends provide at no charge an extraordinary adventure to heal and bond families of Los Angeles homicide victims through a partnership with Justice For Murdered Children. Inaccessible to many due to cost and lack of familiarity, families set off on a one-night, two-day weekend voyage of excitement and respite. They sail a tall ship, participate in safe water activities, and overnight at Catalina Island. Sharing this new and challenging recreational experience in a safe and supported environment is the essence of healing PLAY.


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

  • County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

There have been more than 400 murders in Los Angeles County in the last twelve months alone. The death of a loved one is traumatic, but experiencing a family member murdered results in debilitating and lasting trauma and grief significantly unique to families of homicide victims. The circumstances surrounding a murder and the sudden loss to murder create a complexity of traumas that disrupt the grieving process for family members. While homicides occur across socio-economic groupings, murders are disproportionately higher in low and middle-income brackets. Many families of murdered victims find coping and healing in building relationships and community with other co-victims who share the same experience. In addition to these communities of families’ search for legal and medical resources to assist with their recovery, they also need to feel like husbands, wives, daughters, sons, and families and the joyful parts of living again through affordable, safe, supportive experiences.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Sail Away Weekends Program invites families of murdered victims at no cost to experience the life-affirming healing properties of shared excitement, laughter, physical activity, problem-solving, teamwork, creativity, appreciation, reflection, and imagination that exist on a weekend expedition to Catalina Island. The following program meets the LA County COVID-19 guidelines at this time and is flexible to adjust as restrictions are tightened or eased. Five to six families (20 individuals total) will undergo a health screening and, if no indications of infection, will join the LAMI tall ships on a Saturday morning in San Pedro, CA. The ship has been zoned for safely-distanced activities, and households will move from between zones. Rigorous hygiene and PPE protocols are enforced. Participants will learn and perform all sailing and live-aboard responsibilities, including sail handling, navigation, meal-preparations, and ship-shape upkeep. The ship will arrive at Catalina Island early Saturday afternoon. The time at Catalina will include and inspire opportunities to climb the rigging, swim, snorkel, kayak, island hikes, play maritime team-building games, participate in storytelling, and downtime. Participants will sleep at comfortable island-based facilities LAMI regularly utilizes. If guidelines allow it, participants will sleep aboard the ship. The ship will return to San Pedro on Sunday afternoon. The program is proven to be a transformational and joyful experience.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

160
Direct impact
960
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The trauma felt by family members of murder victims is deep, lasting, and unique. If untreated, these co-victims can often suffer from mental illness, depression, self-harm, lower quality of life and have a higher propensity to even violence themselves. Giving these families an opportunity to share together moments of joy and discovery is a transformative experience that adds to the many elements necessary for a positive outcome in their lives.The greater community of LA County will benefit if the negative cycle of impact from a homicide does not extend outward from the future actions and choices of these co-victims.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

LAMI’s Sail Away Weekends Program and its goals are identical to past experiential at-sea programs we have conducted. Success will be met if participants show positive changes in attitudes toward the activities and their outlook on the world and themselves. Pre-and post surveys will be conducted to assess these metrics. Our partner Justice For Murdered Children also has a long standing relationship with these families and will report back on longitudinal changes exhibited by the individuals.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Justice For Murdered Children has more than 30 years experience in the homicide victim’s family community, building relationships and providing resources.

Which of the play metrics will you impact?​

  • Prevalence of trauma and adverse childhood experiences
  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Parks with intergenerational play opportunities

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to LEARN