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Community Leaders Open New Urban League Building
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published November 19, 2009

Community Leaders open new Urban League Building


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at New L.A. Urban League Facility

Urban League, State Farm, LAPD, and 50 Pound Challenge come together to support the community.


By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Urban League, State Farm Insurance, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, and Dr. Ian Smith of the 50 million Pound Challenge and the host of Celebrity Fit Club came out to support the community as the Urban League opened their new facility on Vernon Ave. and 8th Ave.

State Farm donated $1,250,000 to help the Urban League purchase the building, which will be used for the Neighborhoods@Work Initiative. This new building will house the educational piece of the initiative.

“This will be another hub for us to address the issues that are at play in our community, centering around education,” said Blair Taylor, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League.

The Urban League needed the extra space to support their programs, and they will be working with the LAPD at this site.

Neighborhoods@Work aids the community through employment, education, safety, health, and housing.

The Employment piece is getting people to work. The education piece is to get children to graduate from high school. The safety piece addresses the sources of when children start to go out of bounds and try to correct those things so that violent crime rate goes down in the community. The health piece is centered around obesity and getting the health services into our community. The housing piece is centered on stabilizing housing so that people do not lose their homes.

Police Chief Beck was on hand to show his support for the community.

“This demonstration is a commitment by a great community organizations like the Urban League, and a great corporate sponsor like State Farm, and the government entity represented by the Los Angeles Police Department,” Beck said. “And how those three things can come together to make a difference in people’s lives. It is important for each of us that we work together, because I do not succeed as law enforcement unless they succeed.”

As part of the health component of the initiative, the Urban League held a health fair at the Baldwin Hills Plaza, in which Dr. Smith was a part of.

Smith values the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and said that Blacks and Latinos lead almost every health disease category that is linked to obesity.

One issue is that many people do not understand proper diet and exercise.

“People want to lose weight, but they do not know how to lose weight,” Smith said. “What we try to teach is making small changes. So you do not try to radically change your diet or radically become an exerciser at once. You will add one new thing to your regimen every 10 days. That’s how you help people make lifestyle changes. Changing people’s lifestyle can be very intimidating for a lot of people. With the challenge we try to make it non-intimidating, friendly, and you can do it as a community.”

Smith’s 50 Million Pound Challenge is a program that everybody can do, young and old. On their website,, there are diet plans, activities trackers, message boards, and other tools that are helpful for a weight loss program. The website is free for everyone.

Categories: Local

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