Building a Healthier Community
In neighborhoods often overrun by poverty, crime and a feeling of hopelessness, Heart of Los Angeles invests in youth to build stronger and healthier communities. Heart of Los Angeles gives some of the city’s most vulnerable youth a chance to succeed in life. From what started with just a handful of kids in an old gym, 25 years later Heart of Los Angeles now serves over 2,300 youth, ages 6-24, in a safe and supportive environment. HOLA’s mission is to provide underserved youth with free, exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.
HOLA is located in the culturally rich, but economically struggling Rampart District, the second most densely populated area in the country with over 75,000 residents within a 1.75-mile radius, 28% of whom are under the age of 18. HOLA’s students are approximately 86% Latino, 6% Asian American, 5% African American, and 3% other ethnicities. Of the families that HOLA serves, 97% are living in poverty and are highly susceptible to violence, drug pressures and 30 active gangs that begin recruiting youth as young as 10 years of age. Over the last year, HOLA has seen a tremendous increase in the demand for youth programs and resources by the community. Severe school budget cuts have resulted in fewer critical services being offered to families in dire need and fewer than 50% of high school students in the area graduate on time.
To address these staggering conditions, HOLA provides structured and rigorous out of school elementary, middle and high school education programs, led by credentialed teachers, as well as hundreds of enrichment activities, including a comprehensive music department, a robust visual arts program, premiere sports leagues and activities, leadership and healthy living classes and a cutting edge scientific arts program. These programs are supplemented by HOLA’s community support services, which offer resources, workshops, counseling and crisis intervention to over 600 families a year. All programs are free, an essential feature for the area’s impoverished families. Education is the key to breaking the generational cycle of poverty. Heart of Los Angeles puts back in what’s been stripped out of the school day, guiding its students on the path to college and productive futures. The vast majority of HOLA graduates are the first in their families to attend college. They are “locomotive kids,” the engines that pull their entire families out of poverty.
Each year, HOLA spends approximately $1,600 per student to provide exceptional programs to a growing population of underserved youth. With your support, we can continue to provide the breadth and depth of programs that give kids a chance succeed. Your donation, no matter the size, will make a difference in the lives of thousands of at-risk youth. Click here to donate.