2020 Community Impact Grant
Legal-name: The Salvation Army Long Beach Corps Community Center
Previous-name: The Salvation Army Long Beach Red Shield
Address: 3060 Long Beach Blvd.
City: Long Beach
Ranking-Person-Title: Captain Sergio Garcia, Commanding Corps Officer
Contact-First-name: Melinda Lankford
Title: Community Programs Director
Grant Purpose: The Salvation Army Long Beach Corps Community Center is respectfully requesting funding support toward its youth programming, which includes integrated academics, arts, and recreational programming for at-risk low-income children/youth and families in Greater Long Beach.
Mission: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Total-cost: $ 123,000
How-many-years: 1 year
How-many-individuals: 1,100 youth
What-is-project: The majority of residents served by the Long Beach Corps Community Center live in the zip code of 90813, an area with varied socioeconomic challenges. About 36% families with children live below the poverty level, and 50% families headed by a single female live below the poverty level (US Census 2017). Nearly three-quarters (66.9%) of students in the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) were on the free/reduced meal program in 2017-2018 (ED-Data). Many families experience linguistic isolation where nearly three-quarter of residents (72%) speak a language other than English at home and 34.5% report speaking English “less than very well” limiting their ability to help their children succeed in school. Only about half (51.1%) of students in LBUSD met or exceeded the standards in ELA and less than half (42.8%) met or exceeded the standards in Math in 2017-2018 (ED-Data).
The youth programs offered by our Long Beach facility provide enriching afterschool opportunities to help address the needs of at-risk youth in the community to help local children/youth stay and succeed in school. Currently, the Center delivers a Tuesday and Thursday afterschool program that provides low-income at-risk children/youth ages 5-18 a healthy snack, tutoring/homework assistance, Reading Rewards Program, recreational sports, arts, and music classes from 3:00-5:00pm. Summer and day camps; music lessons; recreational sports are also provided. Tuesday & Thursday Youth Drop-In Center consists of individualized structured tutoring and homework assistance that help children succeed in academics and improve/develop positive social behaviors and school attendance. This program is free to all participants and includes healthy snacks made with love by our volunteer kitchen staff. After Homework Club and snacks, youth excitedly head to breakout groups where kids have pre-selected the class of their choice: arts & crafts, music lessons, sports class, and shared science STEM class.
TSA’s youth programming at the Center is the right program for this moment because, our youth programs provide enriching afterschool opportunities to help address the needs of at-risk youth in the community, it helps local children/youth stay and succeed in school, and provides engagement for the whole family, including a Spanish-speaking outreach to help increase parent engagement with their children’s academic success. TSA purposefully builds its community centers in the most disadvantaged communities where the need is great and where individuals, families, and children need the most help, removing barriers and providing access to provisions, support, and opportunities. We are currently in the process of further expanding our programming and facilities. Construction for a new gymnasium, athletic field, and playground are underway and scheduled to open in Fall 2021.
How-will-you-succeed: The goal of youth programs at the Long Beach Corps Community Center is to provide a safe and enriching environment for children/youth while outside of school to keep them away from negative activities such as crime and drug use, and to provide opportunities for parents and children to engage as a family. Outcomes include:
• Outcome 1: Expand afterschool Homework Club, arts, sports, and summer programming to serve 15% more children, youth, and families annually.
• Outcome 2: Increase community partnerships and resource sharing by 10% to offer additional services to children, youth, families, and the community.
TSA has developed a strategic five-year (2021-2025) program and operation expansion model and has hired a consultant in building a business plan that will include programs, rental income and other programmatic items. Efforts toward the program expansion is currently underway with anticipation of modest but impactful program growth in fiscal year 2020-2021, and in relation to the new facility opening. Operations will increase incrementally every year during the 5-year expansion plan. Long Beach services and memberships expect to grow significantly within the 5-year span, growing to serve up to 1,000 children and youth and up to 500 families in the Greater Long Beach community by 2025.
Evaluation. Salvation Army programs report under The Salvation Army’s National Statistical System and rely heavily on program statistics that measures numbers of children/youth served amongst other services on a quarterly and annual basis to measure program activities and memberships. Youth programs at the Long Beach Corps will be evaluated through staff observation, parent and child sign-in sheets, and follow-up conversations and surveys with parents to monitor participation in the program and for feedback on social behavior and academic progress.
Who-are-you: Founded in 1865, TSA’s mission is to meet human needs without discrimination. TSA has been serving those most in need in Southern California for over 150 years. Its primary objective is to uplift the lives of the most marginalized members of society through wide-ranging services including shelter and housing with supportive services, adult day care, substance use recovery, family social services, programs for youth, and more. TSA’s youth programs help low-income, at-risk children/youth to bridge academic achievement gaps, prevent gang involvement and drug use.
TSA’s Long Beach Corps Community Center was established in 1906, and has provided services to low-income families, children and youth, seniors and the homeless in Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood, and surrounding communities, offering a physical and spiritual haven for the most disadvantaged for 114 years. ‘Doing the most good’ for youth, families, seniors, homeless individuals and veterans, in the Greater Long Beach area is a focused goal for TSA. The Center provides programs and services that currently serves approximately 25,000 low-income and homeless men, women, and children annually.
Leadership. TSA’s Long Beach Corps Community Center is located in TSA’s California South Division. Corps Community Centers and social service programs are under the supervision of professional TSA personnel at the Divisional Headquarters in Long Beach, CA. The Long Beach Corps Community Center is overseen by Commanding Corps Officers, Captains Sergio and Stephanie Garcia. In addition, The Long Beach Advisory Board, consisting of volunteer community members, provides overall guidance to operations at the Center, which includes budget and program oversight.
Partnerships. The Center collaborates with community partners and other agencies to ensure children’s success, meet the specific needs of children and parents, and to avoid duplication of services in the community.
Current youth collaborative partners include: Shared Science, TSA provides space for their program to enable youth that TSA serves access to STEM classes in which their families would not be able to otherwise afford; Wado-Kai Karate, Karate lessons to 25 children at TSA at low-cost; WomenShelter of Long Beach, we serve their children/families with TSA’s Summer and Day Camps, Christmas distribution, and youth programming; Long Beach Scouts; Long Beach Boys and Girls Clubs, sending 75 of their children to TSA’s Summer Camp; Rotary Clubs of Signal Hill and Long Beach, Long Beach Lions, Seal Beach Lions, and Long Beach Kiwanis. The Center engages other community organizations, including local schools such as CSULB (degree completion program), and LBCC (free ESL and computer classes). The Center is the lead organization in the Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force that meets at the Center; and provides the space for Grandparents as Parents, who conduct support classes in both Spanish and English for relatives raising children.