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Building Blocks for Kids

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BBFK: MORE Program

Nonprofit

Building Blocks for Kids’ goal is eliminating poverty in underrepresented LA communities by giving high school students the chance to be financially literate and career ready. We’re motivated to lower student loan debt, shrink the wealth & opportunity gap, reduce the number of homeless, decrease the number of youth entering the juvenile system, and increase the use of undergraduate degrees. BBFK believes that by educating our youth at the right time, we can give them the mindset to achieve a path for success in the future.



Describe the mission of your organization.

Building Blocks for Kids, we empower underrepresented students of ages 13-24 by providing a progressive financial literacy curriculum, career-based education, and mentorship program. This provides students the essential tools and knowledge to maximize financial independence and social mobility as adults.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

BBFK is seeking to eliminate generational poverty within underrepresented communities. People living within these communities are affected by certain determinant factors: Socioeconomic status, environment, and race. Having financial issues, lacking access to resources, and facing discrimination, plays a part in pre-determining the type of future the younger generation will have. These are roadblocks that hinder the true potential of high school students who easily become dropouts, criminals, unemployed, and impoverished. Although students are given the opportunity to go to school, they are not properly advised on what resources they can take advantage of to improve and excel both academically and socially. Essentially, high school students are not presented with enough options to succeed in life and we know this when around 70% of college graduates are not using their bachelor degree when they enter the workforce.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

High school students are not effectively prepared to face the financial and career-ready obstacles that come with becoming a successful college attendee/graduate. It’s critical to give our students the right information at the right time. That’s why the MORE Program empowers underrepresented students and schools by providing financial literacy and career based education during school hours. The MORE Program works directly with high school students for 40 minute per lesson, once a week for 12 weeks each semester. The timeline for our MORE Program is based on the LAUSD calendar. We implement our first semester of financial literacy where we cover important topics such as taxes, loans, budgeting, insurance, etc. In the second semester, we dive into career development and expose the students to a plethora of careers in diverse sectors. Expert speakers or incredible individual volunteers come into the classroom to discuss these topics in further detail. Individuals go over real world experiences and scenarios to help bring the information to life so that students have a better understanding of what they are going to face once they graduate. During the presentation, students engage in team-based critical thinking activities to connect their own environment. The last five years we’ve run our program in after school programs and realized our program is more impactful inside the high school. Therefore, we emphasize working directly with students during school hours.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

152
Direct impact
160,000
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

We see Los Angeles County looking like a place that all students would want to stay, grow their lives, and be proud to call themselves Angelenos. Students who once were in our program will leave with an abundance of knowledge to make better financial decisions not only for their lives, yet for everyone around them. We see our former students returning and becoming helpful interns or volunteers for our programs’ younger generations. Our program will also result in more Los Angeles students giving back to their communities, pursuing the proper degrees so they can enter the workforce right after college, less student loan debt, less individuals falling into homelessness, and lastly, but most importantly, ending the cycle of poverty which has plagued our great city. Our program will also make LA County a safer place because the students will gravitate towards legal activities because they will have the help, resources, and the incentives they need to stay away from illegal activities.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

In running our program, we will be evaluating the short-term success of students based on their performance through their quizzes and test scores. We can also keep track of attendance and record participation to gather data to analyze the effectiveness of our program. Our underlying goal for these students is to ensure that they have a better understanding of the weight of their financial decisions as they leave high school and become adults. In the long-term, we will evaluate long term success with our students executing a better blueprint for their future financial and career decisions. This means that students are going to the right schools rather than to the ones that are more prestigious, accessing scholarships/grants to graduate debt-free, using their degrees when they enter the workforce, and not falling into financial distress as adults. Our city and state will prosper if students are given the chance to grow as the wealth and opportunity gaps drop.

Which of the learn metrics will you impact?​

  • College graduates
  • College matriculation
  • Proficiency in STEM

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

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