Issue: Summer 2023
Making A Difference Where It Counts
MAKING A DIFFERENCE WHERE IT COUNTS
For most of the world, Hollywood is a legendary city of dreams that conjures up images of celebrities, wealth and glamour. Yet, many children who live here know an entirely different Hollywood. Hollywood is fortunate to have three outstanding non-profit organizations serving the youth of our community.
LACER Afterschool Program
Founded in 1995, L.A.C.E.R. provides programming at four middle schools and four high schools. Since all programming occurs at the school sites and is free of charge, it alleviates transportation or financial barriers. It provides free classes in the arts, athletics, and academics every day, after school, to almost 1,000 students, grades 6th-12th.
For over 28 years the award-winning L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Programs have given thousands of young people the opportunity to expand their learning, improve their skills and develop new ones in a safe, supportive setting. Thus L.A.C.E.R. fosters young people’s scholastic achievement, self-confidence, and good citizenship. All programs are offered at no cost to the students. The only requirement is participation.
L.A.C.E.R. staff are trained to help guide the students during each phase of their adolescent development. Its various programs help students gain social and emotional skills. The focus on acquiring transferable skills helps students thrive throughout middle school, high school and beyond.
At the helm of the organization, sustained by an active board of directors and dedicated staff, Will Seymour Frost provides fun, inspiration, and dedication. An actor by profession, Will’s heart may rest with the performing arts, but he knows that a solid education is what every artist needs. At the end of the school year, a wonderful performing arts program was presented at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, and the proof was on stage.
Hollywood Police Activities League
Founded in 1914, the Police Activities League (PAL) is a national program created to provide safe places for youth to play and to reduce tensions between them and law enforcement.
Today, the program is more relevant than ever as research validates the positive impact of role models and mentors and sports and enrichment programming. With police officers and volunteers involvement, PAL combines these strategies with values such as personal excellence, social awareness and civic engagement to help create a safe and nurturing environment for local youth and their families.
Every PAL is unique to the community it serves. For 25 years, businesses and residents have partnered with LAPD Hollywood to build the Hollywood PAL program. It now serves more than 600 school age youth, grades K-12, annually. Its activities include Martial Arts, Soccer, Basketball, Tutoring, Mentoring, and Community Service as well as marathon training, hiking, dance, and healthy living activities. Its Hollywood Arts Club does mural painting, photography, and other fine arts activities. Thanks to a generous grant from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood PAL has added a Girl Scout Troop to its roster of activities.
No entity knows more about the challenges that young people face in the community than Hollywood’s police division. LAPD Hollywood’s Gang Unit reports that there are more than twenty known active gangs, tagger (graffiti) crews, and party crews in the area. Sadly, without protective factors and positive adult role models to support, motivate, and lead by example, many youths may turn to gang involvement to create a sense of family.
Under the direction of its board and executive director Kitty Delgadillo, staff and LAPD officers, Hollywood PAL prides itself on being resourceful. Fundraising is important and events such as the Hollywood Car Show help the bottom line and also bring the community together.
Living Advantage Inc.
For 30 years, Living Advantage, Inc., has been helping at-risk youth, specifically foster youth in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Statistics show that this group of young people are at high risk for homelessness, incarceration, drug use, and other negative consequences from not having a stable family.
Living Advantage provides life skills workshops and links youth to resources and services in the community that will help them stay in school and graduate on time. It offers continuous support for their education, career, housing, and health needs, by providing them with financial and independent living skills necessary to have a better quality of life. LA, Inc. imparts basic life skills for self-sufficiency so that foster youth have reduced need for social services.
To address a serious situation, LA, Inc. offers services regarding vital life documents. On average, foster youth move seven times and will lose personal life documents along the way. These are essential when registering for school or receiving proper medical care. Later in life, the lack of vital life documents becomes even more problematic. Such necessities as a driver's license, employment, property rentals, etc. require verifiable documentation. To address this, LA, Inc., has developed eLockbox™, a means to electronically store vital life documentation. Then, even as adults, former foster youth can easily access their records.
Executive director Pamela R. Clay follows in the footsteps of her mother, who founded the organization. Her current focus is assisting those in foster care with a simple way to obtain and keep vital documents with eLockbox access is a priority. She wants to have a national impact on foster children across the country. That way, no child will have to suffer the impediment of lacking vital life records.
To donate: www.livingadvantageinc.org DH