Project Blue partners with outreach programs in South & East LA that enables kids to reach personal success through developing purpose, positive identities, resilience & character through safe after-school sports & STEM activities in areas with high gang activity. Each program is supported by LAPD officers who serve as coaches and positive mentors who inspire kids to envision a future they can strive for. This grant will support our current programs to provide enough resources for growth, and newly added programs we hope to support in 2020-21.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
Our mission is to enable kids to transcend obstacles by creating safe, supportive environments based on mutual trust and built on positive relationships between the community and the police officers who serve them. We support officer-led holistic youth outreach programs that mentor and uplift kids.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- East LA
- South LA
In what stage of innovation is this project?Pilot project or new program
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- Los Angeles Police Department (Community Safety Partnership Division)
If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.
We’re grateful to partner with the LAPD CSP division on our program model. As part of their mandate, officers assigned to the CSP are encouraged to work with existing local youth outreach programs or create their own, where there is a need or interest. Through these programs, officers can actively and directly build relationships with youth, and the community as a whole, through coaching and mentorship. However, due to funding constraints, CSP programs often struggle to provide enough resources for all participating youth, such as equipment, registration costs and academic supplies, which creates challenges for officers to focus on running the actual program. Through our partnership, we ensure each program receives the resources they need so they can create the biggest possible impact.
What is the need you’re responding to?
Project Blue recognizes that in order for communities to feel safe and secure, residents need to trust the officers that serve them. Identifying this strained relationship, the LAPD launched the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) division in 2011, with a mission to foster relationships with residents in housing developments and to support community/youth programs that address and reduce violent crimes. Focusing on Watts and the East LA neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno, areas where gang activity/occurences of violent crime are some of the highest in LA County, our approach for positively transforming communities is based on involving youth as a conduit to inspire intergenerational and systemic change. Due to the lack of safe, organized after-school activities for kids residing in these communities, Project Blue supports officer-led outreach programs where officers and kids can engage together and actively forge relationships through coaching and mentoring.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Project Blue believes that police officers have unique skills and experience to partner with kids and communities to create positive and transformative relationships. By providing financial and organizational support, we actively facilitate the good work that police officers do in their communities to create and ensure safety and opportunity for children and their families in inner cities. Project Blue was created by LAPD officer Steve Robinson and entrepreneur Janet Crown, founders of Crown Robinson Family Philanthropy, who seek to create private-public partnerships that enable creative solutions to complex social issues. By creating program models like Project Blue, and with symbiotic partnerships like with the LAPD CSP division, officer-led programs can strive to develop the “whole child” and achieve the highest possible positive impact. We believe our approach will guide at-risk children through developmental challenges and build resilience, academic and athletic confidence.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
According to the CDC, there are several approaches that can support communities in reducing youth violence, two of which are mentoring and after-school programs. Project Blue believes that utilizing these strategies as part of implementing our pillars with a “whole child” approach will positively impact communities and lower violent crime rates and gang activity throughout the city, particularly in Watts and East LA where we currently focus our efforts. Our experience with both the public and private sectors has guided our approach to investing in what we believe is most effective: long-term engagement in young people’s lives with partnerships that can create consistent and safe environments where kids can develop purpose and resilience.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
We emphasize continuous and measurable growth. We believe that by identifying goals, creating trackable metrics and collecting data, program leaders can identify areas where they are succeeding in achieving their goals and where they need to improve. We measure our success based on how each program implements and meets our goal to impact the “whole child” through our five pillars: (1) promoting resilience and understanding the ability to adapt to adversity, trauma and significant sources of stress; (2) encouraging academic achievement and emphasizing the importance of education and setting/maintaining goals; (3) facilitating parent/guardian engagement so that adults remain committed not only to the children in their care, but also to our holistic community-building approach; (4) positively engaging police officers in the community to make a deeper impact on all residents; and (5) educating both youth and parents/guardians on health, wellness and nutrition to promote a lifetime appreciation for making healthy choices and prioritizing their physical and mental well-being. We ensure that programs have the resources and tools to implement/measure each pillar, such as research-based resilience curricula, access to shared best practices, and more. We also collect and analyze data on positive police-community interactions, which demonstrates occurrences in the community that capture how residents measure their safety as a result of their interactions with officers in the program.
Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?
- Youth sports participation
- Crime rates
- Perceived neighborhood safety
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Host public events or gatherings
- Communications support
- Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
- Capacity, including staff
- Strategy assistance and implementation
University Park Slow Jams
Every year LA’s streets are becoming less safe for people who walk, especially children. University Park Slow Jams is a creative call to action for safer streets. The project builds a network of local advocates—groups, schools, parents, youth—to draw attention to traffic violence, build capacity, and propose solutions. Slow Jams are a multifaceted education, engagement, and leadership development strategy that enable local stakeholders to participate in creative public acts; document safety conditions; and take action to achieve street safety.
POPS the Club
POPS the Club
POPS the Club provide arts-based healing for underserved Los Angeles youth with justice-involved loved ones. Students will have the opportunity during lunchtime meetings to gain the skills and tools to heal the stigma and pain of the prison system while building the foundation for a productive and positive future. Students will create artwork and writing for publication and performance as well as a video documenting the project and performances to spread awareness about the effects of incarceration on young people.