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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


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 […]

Whole Foods Makes Generation Donation

As part of the Feed Four More program, Whole Foods 3rd & Fairfax, made a generous cash donation in addition to providing HOLA with $9,000 worth of pantry staples for distribution to our families. Every HOLA family was encouraged to fill a bag with the staples that included 365 Spaghetti, 365 Marina Pasta Sauce, 365 Organic Apple Sauce Unsweetened, 365 Organic Rustic Vegetable Soup, 365 Organic Long Grain White Rice, 365 Diced Tomatoes, 365 Sliced Beets No Salt Added, 365 NSA Black Beans and 365 […]

HOLA Participates in MacArthur Park Festival de Otoño

HOLA kids, parents and staff had a wonderful time participating in the MacArthur Park Festival de Otoño, a festival that included art, live music, food, Day of the Dead Activities and a Soccer Tournament for the kids. Over the past several weeks, moms participating in the art class taught by Marialice Jacob have been building a Day of the Dead altar that was on display at the festival. Councilmember Gil Cedillo presented HOLA with a Certificate of Recognition that was graciously received by several HOLA […]

HOLA Parents Get to Learn Too

It’s not just the kids participating in all sorts of great activities at HOLA. Parents of HOLA students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of classes each session led by HOLA staff and volunteers. HOLA’s Parent and Community Resource Director, Vero Matos, leads a Book Club throughout the year, with books and discussions held primarily in Spanish. The group is currently reading Cuando Era Puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago. Recently, an art class for the parents was revived with the help of local artist […]

Middle School Cupids

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and spread a little holiday love in the community, students from the Bridges Middle School program, led by Coordinator Carlos Duarte, spent the past few Fridays creating handmade cards to distribute to the residents at nearby St. Barnabas Senior Center. Heart of Los Angeles has a long relationship with St. Barnabas and the students were able to personalize many of the cards. On the day before Valentine’s Day, a group of HOLA ambassadors visited St. Barnabas to hand deliver the cards […]

HOLA Hosts Cash for College Event

On the first Saturday in February, Heart of Los Angeles hosted a Cash for College event to provide one-on-one support to students and families completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application. These applications are required to be completed in order to qualify for state and federal financial aid. Sixty-seven students completed their applications: 55 completed the FAFSA and 12 completed the Dream Act Application. The students and their parents started arriving before the doors opened at 9:00 […]


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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