As this week's episode of SoCal Connected shows, Los Angeles' high school students are full of life, humor, insight and promise. Get off the proverbial couch and give them hand.
The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire have been helping kids in the area for over 50 years. Although the world is full of dopey Hollywood fantasies about the mentoring business, Big Brother/Big Sisters has numbers on their side. Kids in their programs are:
- 99% more likely to avoid adolescent pregnancy;
- 84% more likely to experience higher levels of self-esteem;
- 76% less likely to use alcohol and drugs or to engage in gangs and violence;
- 62% more aware of educational and career options;
- 57% more likely to improve their academic performance; and
- 53% more likely to experience improved relationships with their peers and family members.
The newer I Have a Dream Foundation - Los Angeles offers similar programs and has a similar need for mentors and tutors. 826LA, founded by author and editor Dave Eggers, needs tutors for "students, ages 8-18, working on their homework or their first novel." Those interested are urged to come by one of 826LA's offices in Venice and Echo Park to sign up for a weekly slot.Some of you might be worried that your math and grammar might not be up to helping a 10th grader with trig or English. Free Arts for Abused Children provides art classes to young people who "have been placed in a care facility by the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Probation or the Department of Mental Health." All that's needed is enthusiasm, empathy and a belief in Free Arts' mantra that "Art Heals!"
Those of you looking for a bit of learnin' yerselves this week should check out this week's installment of Sustainable Sundays at Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. This week the Latino Urban Forum's James Rojas presents an "interactive urban planning art project [that] allows participants to reinvasion a green LA by using a medley of found objects. Participants are invited to place these objects on a plot plan of the city and become part of the constantly changing urban environment. This project allows people get comfortable with the city and channel their inner urban planner, envisioning public and civic amenities."