So. Cal. Joins South Central Youth Effort

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by Lynn James

The Salvation Army’s Southern California Division has joined a unique collaborative with five other agencies to address the needs of youth in the South Central neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Created in 1997 by the Weingart Foundation, the Fremont Youth Collab-orative seeks to bring services to a section of Los Angeles devoid of social programs. Its goal is to provide positive, beneficial and constructive use of leisure time for the young people living in these neighborhoods.

Funded by the Weingart Foundation for five years, the collaborative joins The Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America, Challengers Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department’s “Jeopardy Program” and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Throughout this designated area of South Central Los Angeles, the four non-profit agencies and the LAPD Jeopardy Program offer tutoring, computer training, sports activities, and art and dance to hundreds of students who sign up at their respective schools. The Army’s program also provides a mobile computer lab with 10 computer stations and educational software for teaching and tutoring students at its nine schools.

The collaborative serves 19 schools: 15 elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school. The classes meet in auditoriums, playgrounds and unused school rooms during the day and after school. The collaborative staff work with students’ public school teachers and principals in an effort to target the children most in need, and to make the greatest possible impact on the lives of these youth.

The Army program includes a Family Service worker who teaches parenting classes and provides referrals to other service providers for families with special needs.

During the second year of the collaborative, Lt. Colonel Alfred R. Van Cleef, divisional commander, assumes the Chair of the Management Committee that directs the Fremont Youth Collaborative. A special community service event was held recently to kick off the second year, which brought together all the agencies–and a large number of the youth participating in the program–to clean up schools in South Central and plant flowers in each location.

The morning of work culminated at the University of Southern California with a barbeque and music. More than 300 students, parents and teachers took part in this first-of-its-kind event.

Juana Lambert, coordinator for the collaborative, said: “This event allowed all agencies to come together to feel the impact and strength of the total collaborative.”

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