2020 Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Long Beach BLAST
Address: 4201 Long Beach Boulevard, Suite 201
City: Long Beach
Officer-title: Interim Executive Director
Mission: Long Beach BLAST’s mission is to improve academic and personal success for at-risk youth, with and without disabilities, through collaboration and innovative approaches to mentoring and learning. Our vision is that one day, each at-risk child living in Long Beach will have the opportunity to succeed in school, post-secondary education, and employment with a quality adult life. The agency does all it can to modify the downhill trajectory for as many youths as possible.
ContactTitle: Operations Manager
Primary-phone: (562) 437-7766
Grant-purpose: Long Beach BLAST set forth to bridge the gap for students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, giving them the opportunity to engage in productive activities, meet state and national academic standards, and become a future-thinking, college and career ready individual. Long Beach BLAST created two programs to meet these city-wide needs: The Academic Mentoring Program and Bridge to Success.
What-is-project: Central and downtown Long Beach has the highest concentration of poor children in Los Angeles County, which has the highest estimated poverty rates among young children in the state of California—68 percent. In Long Beach alone, nearly 8,000 children are living in poverty, and close to 1,600 are living in deep poverty. Poorer children and teens are at a greater risk for negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays. Students from low-income families are more than twice as likely to drop out of school as middle-income kids, and over ten times more likely than their high-income peers to drop out. Dropping out of school is detrimental to students’ futures – it increases the likelihood of committing a crime and imprisonment, being unemployed, and living below the poverty line.
Because disadvantaged youth are prone to repeat the behavior they see in their neighborhoods, they are much more likely to lapse into truancy as well as experience academic failure, gang involvement, commit crimes, teen pregnancies, and/or substance abuse. In 2014, there were 439 juvenile felony arrests and 2,356 juvenile misdemeanor arrests in Long Beach. Intervention by caring adults/mentors is critical to preventing these children from following the life-altering, destructive patterns that will create their doomed future – a future that will offer little to no hope from escaping.
Homelessness has a profound effect on the children served in Long Beach BLAST, but it often goes undocumented within the district. When students join either of our programs, it is because they are desperately in need of academic and personal support – they are displaying chronic absenteeism, high suspension rates, or failing grades. The information received about any student’s living situation is from word of mouth. Many students do not reveal their living situation, if it is dire, because they are afraid of consequences such as removal from the area or foster care. However, many students confide this information to their BLAST Team Leader and/or mentors.
We have kids who have been and/or are homeless. We have kids who live with extended family because they can’t afford to live as a single family. We have kids who are even leaving the city because their parents can no longer afford to live in Long Beach. When kids have such an unstable home environment, it becomes detrimental to their ability to succeed in school and life. BLAST seeks to confront these issues and provide more support for those who need it most.
How-will-you-succeed: Currently, all BLAST programs utilize a multi-faceted evaluation which includes both qualitative and quantitative methods of evaluation. This assessment tool was redeveloped in 2015 in consultation with Dr. Beth Manke of CSU Long Beach. Qualitative data measures changes in knowledge, attitude, and behavior, as well as program impact. Quantitative data reflects the number of youth served from start to finish and academic gains reported by teachers. Sign-in sheets and attendance records help us to verify our quantitative data. Pre- and post-test surveys are administered, collected, analyzed, and computed to identify our level of program impact and success.
The collection of both sets of data are used to assist the Interim Executive Director and the Program Manager in documenting the program challenges and successes resulting from the implementation of BLAST’s programs as well as the impact on participating youth. Teachers/site supervisors are also included in the evaluation process. We ask them to complete surveys assessing changes resulting from students’ participation in BLAST’s program. The evaluation categories that are measured include: academics, behavior, attitude, self-esteem, attendance, and motivation.
Long Beach BLAST has been in operation for nearly 20 years and is fortunate to have a broad base of community support. We are confident in our ability to sustain the project. In addition to our traditional sources of funding (individual, corporate, and foundation), Long Beach BLAST seeks funding from diverse sources including individual contributions, grant support, and special events in order to maintain a high quality, consistent level of programming.
Who-are-you: Long Beach BLAST’s mission is to improve academic and personal success for at-risk youth, with and without disabilities, through collaboration and innovative approaches to mentoring and learning. Our vision is that one day, each at-risk child living in Long Beach will have the opportunity to succeed in school, post-secondary education, and employment with a quality adult life. The agency does all it can to modify the downhill trajectory for as many youths as possible.
Created in 2000 in response to Long Beach’s Strategic Improvement Plan, Long Beach BLAST set forth to bridge the gap for students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, giving them the opportunity to engage in productive activities, meet state and national academic standards, and become a future-thinking, college and career ready individual. Long Beach BLAST created two programs to meet these city-wide needs: The Academic Mentoring Program and Bridge to Success. Long Beach BLAST is involved and engaged with The City of Long Beach’s 2020 Strategic Improvement Plan.
Dr. Richard L. Rosenberg, Ph.D. is our Executive Director he has joined the team as the interim while a national search is occurring. He has known and worked with LBBlast since the beginning. He comes to LBBlast with over 35 years with the public schools as a Special Education Transition Specialist as well as a Professor in the Special education and Rehabilitative Counseling department with CSULA since 1980. Dr. Rosenberg’s passion is with youth at risk and youth with disabilities. He provided outstanding programing and non-profit experience that assist us to continue the great work of LBBlast.
Long Beach BLAST’s programming strives to provide quality support to at-risk youth to increase their academic potential, improve their attitudes towards school, build their confidence and self-esteem, and help them find hope in their future. Long Beach BLAST embraces five emphasis areas to accomplish this mission: (1) Empower students with knowledge to reach academic grade-level proficiencies; (2) increase awareness about basic life skills and expand social intelligence to promote self-sufficiency; (3) promote the pursuit and maintenance of healthy relationships; (4) establish effective goals and provide support so youth are successful in obtaining those goals; and (5) cultivate a positive, future-thinking mindset infused with passion and perseverance. We do this through our two programs, the Academic Mentoring Program and Bridge to Success. The mission of Long Beach BLAST is to improve academic and personal success for at-risk youth, through collaboration and innovative approaches to mentoring and learning.
Long Beach BLAST is a founding member of the Long Beach Mentor Connection, is partnered with the City of Long Beach through My Brother’s Keeper Location Action Plan and serves on the MBK Advisory Council. Partnerships include: Long Beach Boys and Girls Club, Long Beach WRAP, Long Beach Community Ac