CNS – Legacy L.A., a nonprofit organization that provides youth development services in the Boyle Heights community, received $200,000 in funding from the California Endowment, a Los Angeles city councilman recently announced. Legacy L.A. is in the process of signing a lease with the city Department of Recreation and Parks to use a former federal armory at Hazard Park as an arts and nature center for at-risk teenagers.
“Gang life and violence is like an illness in our community, and unless we treat it immediately and aggressively, our kids are in serious jeopardy,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the area.
“I’m absolutely dedicated to supporting programs like Legacy L.A., whose aim is to not only steer our children away from trouble, but to elevate them to the highest plateaus possible where they can realize their dreams.”
Huizar also announced the winners of Legacy L.A.’s Dream Big fellowships. The 10 high school students, who live in Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights, will spend the next year studying what programs are needed in their communities to address gangs, poverty and opportunities for young people.
“It is much easier for youth in this community to be recruited into leadership positions in the neighborhood gang,” said Lou Calanche, co-director of Legacy L.A.
“To end the cycle of gang affiliation and sense of hopelessness in this community, we have to take the time to develop and foster positive leadership that gives youth an opportunity to develop personally, academically and lead change in their own communities,” he said.
The Dream Big fellowship winners are:
and —Jesus Valdez.