2020 Community Impact Grant
Legal-name: Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Long Bech
Address: 820 Long Beach Blvd.
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Alfredo Velasco, President and CEO
Contact-First-name: Jonathan Gray
Title: Senior Youth Services Director
Tel: 562 624-5477
Grant_Purpose: To provide youth are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless an education program centered on career readiness and post-secondary education.
Mission: Our Mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
Total-cost: $ 296,856
Grant-amount: $ 20,000
What-is-project: The YMCA Youth Institute is a year-round program that uses creative content technology as an integral mechanism for promoting positive Youth Development to developing pathways to post-secondary education and career readiness of low-income, culturally diverse urban high school youth. Through this program, our Y has impacted generations of youth in Long Beach empowering them through skill building and education from low-income to middle class as advocates for their community. We serve low income youth age 13-18. According to LBUSD data, there are over 18,351 young people enrolled in area High Schools and 69% come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. The YI targets these youth in LB. In the past 19 years the YI has proven that it can improve the academic success of the teens involved. 98% of the participants have graduated high school and an additional 85% of participants have enrolled and are attending a college or trade school. Furthermore, the YI serves as a support system where teens can seek guidance for not only academic supports, but more importantly social and emotional supports. The YI is helping teens acquire a love of learning and building a strong future for Long Beach’s next leaders. Additionally, for the past 3 Summers we have partnered with Pacific Gateway. The YI was approached by Pacific Gateway due to our extensive track record of preparing young people for the workforce. We have since become a work site providing over 300 jobs for young adults in the City. Each youth is paid above minimum wage and responsible for logging their hours, requesting time off, and calling in sick. Since 2001 the YI has been an integral partner in preventing homelessness in youth around the City. We have taught thousands of youth throughout the city valuable, viable skills they can use in the workplace and preventing them from becoming homeless. We have also provided support for scores of youth who were experiencing homelessness. We have given them jobs through our social enterprise, provided referrals to agencies who serve homeless families, and provided mental health first aid to our teens to help them navigate the overwhelming emotions they were facing. Even in the uncertain times of COVID-19 we have been able to be an assist to our youth. We have provided groceries, toiletries, and helped youth and their parents apply for jobs while ensuring their resume and interview skills were exemplary. During these uncertain times the Youth Institute has continued to be a resource to teens, families, and young people from Long Beach. Without continued investment into the Youth Institute, the YI won’t be able to serve as many youth who truly benefit from the program. It is our goal to continue to keep youth engaged throughout the challenging times presented by COVID-19 and limit the amount of youth whose education, financial standing, and mental health might suffer leading to more youth who might face homelessness in the near future.
How-will-you-succeed: The School of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is responsible for annual program evaluation and measurement. The evaluation is done using a variety of instruments including pre and post surveys from all Youth Institute participants, including:
The Leadership Skills Inventory – measures nine areas of leadership skills including oral and written communication, decision-making skills, and self-perceptions on leadership. The YMCA Youth Institute survey – measures positive youth development, technology skills and educational attitudes.
Baseline grades are also given and tracked over the youth’s involvement with the program
Reports are provided annually from CSULB delivering recommendations to change, enhance, and benefit the program design for the next year.
We have a 19-year history of funding the Youth Institute and we are confident that we can sustain this program with funds from Change Agent Productions, our social enterprise, foundation grants from US Bank, Joan Wismer, Josephine M Gumbiner and Parsons Foundations as well as YMCA Campaign Funding and Community Development Block Grant Funding from the County of Los Angeles. We have been able to continue to serve youth throughout Long Beach through the great recession and the COVID 19 pandemic. We will continue to be a resource to youth in the City of Long Beach during uncertain times.
The YMCA Youth Institute has working from within the community creating generational change since 2001. Among our many activities that we offer, our singular goal is to break down cultural, social, academic, and employment barriers for youth in Long Beach. We do this through opportunities of equity, access to technology, social supports from adolescence to adulthood, and family services that engage parents to actively involve themselves in the upbringing of their children. It is through our unique and comprehensive model of skill building and youth development that we believe young people can reach their full potential. Our core values are very much aligned with the Long Beach Community Foundation by removing barriers, creating opportunities, and expanding horizons to deeply impact young people to make a lasting change in Long Beach.
Who-are-you: The YMCA of Greater Long Beach was founded in 1884. Our mission is to welcome people of all ages, ethnic groups, and affiliations to unite in a common effort to promote Youth Development, Healthy Lifestyles, and Social Responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Long Beach serves the greater Long Beach area including Lakewood, Hawaiian Gardens, Artesia, Bellflower, and Signal Hill. We also operate Camp Oakes, a summer resident camp that serves over 1,200 children and teens each year, located in Big Bear, CA. Our association programs are designed to cover a wide range of community needs. From developing healthy lifestyles with diabetes prevention classes to senior fitness as well as youth development programming by serving 1,500 children per day in academic after school programs at 20 elementary and middle schools in LBUSD and ABC Unified School District. The total of individuals served by the YMCA of Greater Long Beach is 31,508 individuals with 399 volunteers supporting our cause.
Among the many programs and branches, the YMCA Community Development Branch specific mission is to offer resources and services to the lowest income communities in Long Beach. By seeking to create a comprehensive menu of community services, we guide youth and families through hardships into leading successful and positive lifestyles. We lead community leadership programs that are designed to develop parents into leaders within their communities to address social issues such as housing, violence prevention, and immigration issues. We also facilitate weekly digital literacy classes for low-income residents to teach them how to harness the Internet as a tool for applying for social services, seeking financial aid for college, and applying for jobs. The Community Development Branch is home to the YMCA Youth Institute, an internationally recognized youth development program that has been in existence since 2001.