Community Coalition

www.cocosouthla.org

Community Coalition and Women Helping Youth hold a similar belief that acting together has a greater impact than acting alone. At its core, Community Coalition puts a premium on African American and Latino unity as a vehicle to strengthen families and the overall community. Founded in 1990 by U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, they provide preventative community-centered solutions to address the root causes that fuel crime, addiction, and violence in South LA. Serving youth at four underperforming high schools which are predominantly segregated by race, Community Coalition is set to use their WHY grant of $24,064.00 to establish a Youth Center. Strategically adjacent to the entrance of their new building and outfitted with desktop computers, laptop computers, tables, chairs and telephones, this will be a safe, high-tech, vibrant and versatile space. As 400 unduplicated youth per year enter Community Coalition's building, they will immediately see an energetic and inspiring space created just for them, and they will feel welcomed and valued. Youth will, often for the first time, be given a dedicated safe space to relate to other students who may be associated with a rival gang, in order to bond and connect to one another in the midst of racial animosity and violence. After collaboratively decorating the room, the youth will take ownership of a space that contrasts with the drab and depressing environment of their streets. Instead of sharing space for activities with staff and other adults, and subsequently dividing themselves into social groups they have formed in their school, which only perpetuates racial barriers, the new Youth Center will bring all the kids together. Their activities will be better organized, and they will have the time, space and resources to complete homework, submit college applications, participate in leadership development & wellness workshops, as well as advocate for policy change. Often pitted against each other in their school environments and conditioned to be enemies, these youth will now share a place of hope and compassion, as they learn to advocate for positive change in their schools and community.