I think that youth development is one of the best investments a community can make for its future. I’ve personally been drawn to it in my own life, so it was a great to learn that LPV has a culture of youth service.
Art + Practice is a nonprofit based in LPV that aims to use art as a conduit for foster care youth mental health and professional development. The organization partners with UCLA’s Hammer Museum and the RightWay Foundation, which provides mental health and career development services. The building contains headquarters for RightWay Foundation and Eso Won Books, an LPV anchor business.
Kaos Network is a historic node of youth empowerment in the LPV community driven by Ben Caldwell. KAOS Network is a hub of media production education as well as an artistic outlet. The organization’s thursday evening open mics are legendary and have helped cultivate young artists, such as Jurassic 5 and Abstract Rude.
LPV is also home to ReCharge, a youth led annual three day event dedicated to creating a safe space for South LA teens to create art, be entrepreneurs, and discuss issues important to them.
In creating our vision statement, we want to ensure that youth development and involvement is an important part of the process. The public lots and Botach spaces provide opportunities to develop campuses similar to Art + Practice’s that combine arts with local business development AND youth services. Makerspaces can create opportunities for youth and adults to work in the same spaces, creating opportunities for mentorships, apprenticeships, and simply inspiration. In this kind of space, regular programs like Urban League’s youth BizCamp (a two week entrepreneurship intensive camp) may exist throughout the year, not only encouraging youth empowerment, but also perpetuating a local entrepreneurial spirit that strengthens for the long term the small, locally owned business spirit of LPV.