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create / 2021

SJL Seeking Spotlights Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Social Justice League

LA’s bright stars inspire Hollywood dreams in kids all across the globe. Yet, given limited resources and opportunity, LA's underserved communities are often left in the dark. SJL's Seeking Spotlights Program aims to help at-risk LA youth explore opportunities, discover passions, and align career paths in music and entertainment. Equipped with outlets, skills, tools, and connections, each student will be uniquely positioned for success. SJL's innovative approach unlocks talent by building a stage for LA youth to create their own spotlight.

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

  • Central LA
  • South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Across LA’s underserved neighborhoods, children growing up in poverty are often exposed to extreme adversity, stress, and danger, causing early disadvantages compared to more privileged peers. Struggling to catch up or keep up, dropout rates rise and opportunities for further education and paid work decline. In addition, minority youth fall victim to systemic inequality, prejudice, and discrimination. Facing an unrelenting environment, unforgiving system, and unaccepting society, art and music offer at-risk youth rare and powerful outlets for creating positive change. These industries offer a variety of career options and provide tools for self-exploration and expression. Studies show that kids engaged in the arts are more likely to stay in school, report higher grades, be civically engaged, and overall achieve more. SJL’s art and music programs will empower at-risk youth with tools for creating their identity, on platforms to amplify local talent contributing to LA’s creative culture.

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

Corporate, industry professional (instructors & mentors), artist/entertainer stakeholder alignment, planning and mobilization identify 50 - 60 kids who have a passion for subjects such as photography, graphic design, producing, etc. We will co-create targeted art skills and career programs aligning interests and connecting youth across our non-profit partners through classes, activities, virtual career showcases, and live art shows. Bringing in our social impact network, our content will be critically curated and engaging. Great care will be taken in our research, selection, and preparation stage. Once finalized, spanning over 3 months, the kids will attend virtual group classes once a week. Between classes there will be additional activities. Each course will include a final art project, where SJL will host both in-person LA art showcases and amplify young talent via virtual platforms and social media. At the end of the program, if completed, the youth will have one of two options: be paid for their time or continue forward in the program, keeping the tools we’ve provided for them and seeking employment, internships, or formal education within the industry. If they choose to continue, we will support them through access to our network, their mentors, and industry professionals. All attendees will be given a chance to publicize their work and use our website to sell, showcase, or market to a global network of buyers and supporters.

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

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

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

Direct impact
Indirect impact

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

In everything SJL does, we aim to create a culture of impact. Exposing youth to arts, music, and entertainment on a personal level has potential to turn dreams into reality and create long-term, tangible impact. The resources, support, and the skill set they’ll be given will open countless doors, both in the form of careers and cultural influence. Connections formed with industry experts, mentors, and fellow attendees builds a positive support system. Given an outlet to express themselves, they will add diversity not only to the industry itself, but to the world around them. The work they create will bridge cultural differences. A path to economic and financial success will be forged. By showcasing these industries to the kids, we are showcasing their talent on a global stage, changing the narrative that has been written of low income youth. The fastest way to change lives is to change minds.

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

Having already achieved this program’s success on an individual level, SJL is prepared to implement this on a grander scale. With a network consisting of the world’s leading music company, industry professionals, youth organizations, corporate sponsors, and high-profile artists, musicians, and entertainers, the foundation has already been built. By utilizing beginning and end of program surveys among the kids, youth organizations, and industry mentors, we will constantly be on the pulse of how the program is doing, adjusting as needed. Success will be achieved by: number of signups; number of graduates who choose to continue; number of 17/18 year old’s who obtain internships or jobs, start their own business, or sell their work; engagement of additional corporate sponsors; engagement from industry experts involved in the program; and press and media reach. As we see all these numbers grow, surveys returned positively, and students thriving, success will be achieved.

Which of the create metrics will you impact?​

  • Arts establishments
  • instillations
  • and exhibitions
  • Employment in the creative industries

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT