Stories on raising awareness about bullying and encouraging students to participate in activities have been front-page news. Yesterday it was reported that Downey Unified launched an awareness campaign about bullying at its schools. The Norwalk La Mirada School district partnered with Playworks, a non-profit organization, to improve students participation in activities.
I know of non-profits that provide job training, rehabilitation and sober living programs, but Playworks? Intrigued, I went on the Internet and found a number of organizations whose missions serve specific issues such as bullying and high school dropouts.
Playworks, www.playworks.org, is a national non-profit whose mission is to provide safe, healthy play and physical activity at elementary schools in low-income areas in the city. The goal is to create a positive environment that will improve the mood at the school, reduce bullying and encourage students to take a leadership role.
Programs and their on-site direct service focus on training students to resolve their own conflicts when they are out on the playground during recess. Through a positive and engaging experience on the playground, it transforms the classroom into a place where teachers can do what they are trained to do: teach.
On their Web site, they list a number of cities where programs are now in place. In Southern California, their programs are in 26 school serving 14,000 students.
City Year Los Angeles', www.cityyear.org, mission is to keep students who are at risk to drop out, stay in school and graduate. According to the organization, students who make through to the 10th grade are more likely to graduate. Their core work is in the 3rd-9th grade where they state that students as early as elementary school can be identified as those who are at risk of dropping out.
The organization forms partnerships with public schools and provides them with the people power to assist schools to implement intervention programs. How do they accomplish this task, you may ask. They have a corps of “energetic and idealist” members who commit to one year of service. These young volunteers serve as tutors, mentors and role models at the schools. They help the students stay on the path to graduation.
City Year corps operates in 24 cities and here in Los Angeles they are located at 606 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, 90014.
The Toberman Neighborhood Center, www.toberman.org, provides Harbor area families and individuals with a range of services from family literacy to employment services, counseling and many more. Those who live in the area may know this, but I was surprised to learn that the Toberman Neighborhood Center was founded in 1903 by James and Emma Toberman in memory of their 29-year-old son who died in 1902.
There are so many programs to list, so go to http://www.toberman.org/programs/ to learn more. There is one program though that affects millions who are unemployed and should be mentioned. The Toberman Center offers pre-employment support services. They have collaborated with the Harbor Service Center and Pacific Gateway Worksource and YouthSource to offer skill-building classes and other employment preparation opportunities.
The “A,B,C’s” of job hunting are also taught: resume writing skills, adult job readiness classes that cover resume writing, interview prep and skills, work place behavior, work ethics, and more. Clients are also referred to WorkSource Centers for specific job training, job leads, job fair participation, and Employment Development Department services. Clients can access OneSource Centers, Goodwill, Youth Employment Training and other resources for employment support services.
To access their services, you can reach them at Toberman Neighborhood Center, 131 N. Grand Ave. in San Pedro, 90731. The phone number is 310-832-1145 and the fax number is 310-832-6712.
There is a half dozen non-profit organizations whose missions range from providing services to children with disabilities, supporting needy individuals in Los Angeles, to promoting ocean conservation. More on these organizations in my next article, and probably another handful that I learn about in my search.