Changing the Story: Connecting Los Angeles Communities Through Volunteering
826LA will inspire Los Angeles residents to support local students by volunteering. 826LA will develop outreach strategies to recruit new volunteers, with a focus on volunteers-of-color and older volunteers. 826LA will create relevant trainings for volunteers to complete online and in our centers. These steps will help 826LA grow its volunteer program, with a focus on ensuring all our spaces remain safe and supportive for students.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
826LA is a non-profit dedicated to supporting students 6 to 18 with creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire students to write. Our free programs transport students to a world where writing is a form of magic, their voices are celebrated, and anything is possible.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- Central LA
- East LA
- South LA
- City of Los Angeles
- LAUSD (please select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
What is the need you’re responding to?
In Los Angeles, over 80% of LAUSD students qualify for free or reduced price lunch and only 42% of LAUSD students met English standards last year. Additionally, “a prominent factor in education quality” is the student-to-teacher ratio, in which California ranks last in the nation. The Review of Educational Research found that “students who work with volunteer tutors are likely to earn higher scores on assessments related to letters and words, oral fluency, and writing compared to their peers who were not tutored.”
826LA’s programs pair students with volunteers who support them with homework, reading, and writing. 826LA provides consistent, individualized attention from multigenerational volunteers who guide students through the creative process and support teachers and families in under-resourced schools and communities. Attention from caring adults outside young people’s own families has been shown to play a significant role in providing a number of developmental assets.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
For 15 years, 826LA has mobilized volunteers to support students through engaging, creative programs. Working with thousands of volunteers has taught us the importance and impact of connection, especially in times of crisis. 826LA will continue to grow by providing highly-requested trainings, digital platforms, and new outreach models that will allow volunteers in Los Angeles to support students year-round, in our centers and online.
Volunteers provide the one-to-one attention that makes 826LA’s programs exceptional. Last year, over 1,100 volunteers provided 22,000 hours of volunteer work. Through this project, 826LA’s volunteer base will grow and diversify and the rate of volunteerism in the city will increase. Support from LA2050 will enable us to focus on connecting with 1,000 new volunteers through new outreach tools and providing trainings developed with an equity lens to better support new and existing volunteers with cultural competence.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
LA2050’s Vision for a Successful Los Angeles found that only 22% of Angelenos “formally volunteered at least once annually” ranking LA “45th among the 51 largest metropolitan areas in the nation.” Over 22,000 of LA’s volunteer hours last year came from 826LA volunteers. With centers in Mar Vista and Echo Park and Writers’ Rooms at Manual Arts High School in South LA and Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, 826LA accommodates volunteers all over the city. Support from LA2050 will take 826LA’s proven volunteer program and grow not only our corps of volunteers, but increase the number of active volunteers in Los Angeles.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
826LA’s Changing the Story project has two components: outreach and trainings.
The first part of 826LA’s project is outward-facing, centered around volunteer outreach and appreciation. 826LA would use support from LA2050 to reimagine the presentation materials (digital and physical) we use at festivals, fairs, and events around the city and design and purchase high-visibility items like standing pop-up or feather banners, postcards and pamphlets, and useful, branded items for take-aways. We would be able to invest in public radio advertisements and newspaper placements, to increase visibility beyond our online and in-person outreach campaigns.
The second area is aimed at improving our training systems. 826LA will create quarterly training modules for new and existing volunteers. These trainings will focus on improving the cultural competencies of volunteers, such as race, gender, and identity; restorative justice; behavior management; working with neurodiverse learners; supporting English language learners; the fundamentals of volunteering in anti-harassment spaces; and emergency, safety, and health protocols. The LA2050 grant will open up the possibility for 826LA to move our trainings online, by allowing us to use subscription-based training management platforms.
Measurable goals include connecting with 1,000 new volunteers and developing four cultural competency trainings.
Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
- Communications support
- Strategy assistance and implementation
Altadena Library District
Curiosity Connection: Altadena Library on Wheels
The grant will support the implementation of a brand new outreach initiative and development of a Mobile Library (van) equipped with books, technological learning tools, and community support resources that will be used to engage the community, especially underserved groups in Altadena, at community events, local schools, and locations of commerce in the San Gabriel Valley.
Walk With Sally
Help Support Children Impacted by Cancer
Today, 5 million children in the United States are living with a parent who is battling or has survived cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates 1 in 4 cancer patients are parents of a child under the age of 18. In order to help more of these children and families in LA County, Walk With Sally is asking for a $50,000 grant from LA2050 to expand its reach and impact through a satellite office in DTLA. From here we will recruit 60 more volunteers from DTLA, East LA as well as Glendale and Pasadena to support these children and families.