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HOLA empowers young people to make a difference in their community and their world. We regularly engage our youth with opportunities to make a positive impact. From tree planting to visiting the elderly, from mural painting in high graffiti areas to leading art activities with patients at the local Shriners Hospitals for Children or volunteering with a local food bank, HOLA students are seeing themselves as agents of change and making their community a better place.

Projects such as an LA River clean-up take on an educational aspect as well. Students learn about their city’s history, ecology and science, while having a positive impact on the environment. Bolstered by curriculum and visits to Tree People, HOLA youth gain an understanding of how what happens in their community has global significance.

Students often take the lead on planning and implementing projects. Recently, after a presentation on domestic violence, a group of middle school students took it upon themselves to raise money for a local non-profit which supports victims of domestic violence. Through our Leadership Program students gain skills to research and implement projects like this on a regular basis.

Community Outreach Projects:

  • Art activities with patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children
  • Read to and perform for seniors at a local senior center
  • Dance with seniors on Valentine’s Day
  • Volunteer at a local food bank
  • Neighborhood park cleanup projects


A New Reality Settles in for Teachers in Central Los Angeles

Yesterday, Bard MAT faculty and graduate students joined two different emergency meetings called by educators at Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), our community partner where we mentor college-bound high school students. The teachers, students, and families that gathered are primarily first and second generation Central American immigrants, the refugee legacy of several brutal wars and the economic backbone of our city, with varying levels of documentation, deferred action childhood arrival statutes, and most concerning, citizenship designations that distinguish children from their mothers and fathers. These […]

HOLA’s Holiday Toy Drive 2016

On December 14th Heart of Los Angeles will celebrate the holidays with our students and their families as we’ve done for the past 26 years. Please help us provide a holiday gift to our HOLA students this season by donating a gift in one of the following ways: 1. Mailing or dropping of a gift directly to: Heart of Los Angeles 2701 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90057 2. Visiting Amazon.com and purchasing an item from our wish list to be shipped directly to […]

Toy Drive 2015: Making Wishes Come True!

Every year, we ask our students, from elementary to high school, to write letters to Santa and every year, we (and Santa) are faced with the uncomfortable fact that many of our students view basic needs as luxuries. “My dad doesn’t have a pillow to lay his head on, after working 3 jobs to put food on the table.” “I sleep on the floor, and 3am gets really cold, so I would like a bed for Christmas.” “It would be great to receive some extra money to […]

Blending Cultures via Dia De Los Muertos

In some American families, it’s common to want to shield our young ones from the bleakness of death and grief. In an attempt to soften pain and fear, children are told privately and delicately when unavoidable tragedies occur. But in varying Latin American cultures, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), brings light and a sense of comfort to the realities of mortality — and an opportunity to celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve died. This holiday’s history is not limited to one particular nation or […]

PAT Students Organize to Make a Difference

The LA Rakers was founded in the same way most social movements are formed: as an informal collective of young people determined to address social problems. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” HOLA senior, Emanuel Honorato, is one such individual — thoughtful, committed, and determined to change the world. Currently interning at City Council where he is working to address local homelessness, Emanuel attributes the conversations he’s had […]

Honoring The Junior League of Los Angeles

On their 90th anniversary, we will honor the extraordinary women of The Junior League of Los Angeles, Inc. (JLLA) at HOLA’s annual Holiday of the Heart in November. The JLLA has understood the barriers preventing neighborhood youth from attending college, thus they provided esteemed volunteers to serve as mentors and offered a series of workshops called “College 101” for HOLA’s high school seniors. These workshops included sessions on the college and financial aid application processes. Reflecting HOLA’s mission to support our students through college, the JLLA took the discussions a step further by discussing […]


HOLA provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts and athletics within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their communities.


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