Los Angeles/ Community & Society
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Published on June 12, 2024
Long Beach Youth Voice Their Fund Allocation Choices, Nine Organizations to Share $400,000 for Summer InitiativesSource: Google Street View

The City of Long Beach and its Office of Youth Development, through an inventive synergy with The Nonprofit Partnership (TNP), Invest in Youth Coalition steered by Khmer Girls in Action, and the Department of Geography at California State University of Long Beach has cast a spotlight on nine deserving organizations. Voted for by the youth of Long Beach, these entities will receive a share of $400,000, allowing them to actualize initiatives this summer that resonate with local youth aspirations and needs, according to a city press release.

In what looks like a ground-level democracy exercise, 602 young people, ages 13 to 26, were recorded making their voices heard on which projects they want funded. Mayor Rex Richardson, appreciating their active voice in civic life, underscored the power of such engagement, "This process supports and empowers youth by making a direct impact on their community." The proposals were voted on at various local venues including high schools and community centers from April 24 to May 4, and the top nine out of thirteen were chosen in areas spanning from health and wellness to housing and planning for the future.

The programs given the go-ahead reflect the youth's investment in creating holistic community solutions. The highest number of votes went to the Devotion Fitness project through Sunset Boxing and Wellness, promising 12 weeks of dynamic outdoor boxing, sound baths, and a variety of nocturnal leisure events. Equally critical, it received a $50,000 grant signifying the priorities of the young electorate and an orientation towards holistic health. Our Generation Cares initiative is not far behind with $50,000 to create better and safer access to transportation; embodying lessons that segue from the classroom to real life via a simulation of behind-the-wheel experience. Each funded project offers a unique contribution to the Long Beach youth scene. From the Success in Challenges' YEAH! program, which blends stable housing with financial literacy for homeless youth, to Mission Muay Thai's Punch to Protect, Kick to Defend initiative which promises to inculcate self-defense and empowerment among youngsters. Moreover, Elite Skills Development's EmpowerED and M.O.R.E. Mothers' Summer Full of Art Program are set to equip young minds with vital skills for facing future life challenges. Conversely, for youth engaging with these programs, direct contact with the organizations is encouraged to obtain further participation details.

Further cementing Long Beach's commitment to its younger residents, Youth Power PB Long Beach is charged with distributing financial resources courtesy of Measure US. These are meant to bolster projects in line with the Youth and Emerging Adults Strategic Plan formulated by the city. This move is consistent with the larger Summer of Opportunity initiative designed to nurture positive youth development and counteract violence among young folks—an expansive framework that offers additional activities and engagement opportunities, available for perusal on the City’s Summer Activities calendar.