In our ongoing commitment to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, KCET and Union Bank honor two local heroes of the Hispanic American community for their dedication and commitment to enrich the lives of others.
"Fighting for the simple joys of playing in parks and schools for children of color and low-income children is the hardest work I have ever done."
In the past few years, the urban park movement in Los Angeles has transformed uninviting landscapes in park poor, income poor neighborhoods into some of the state's most attractive vistas.
At the forefront of this movement is civil rights attorney Robert García, Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project.
The City Project is a nonprofit legal and policy advocacy team based in Los Angeles that works for equal justice, democracy and livability for all. Mr. García started The City Project in 2000 so that children from poor neighborhoods could have a place to play and be physically active in parks and schools. Its role has expanded since then, focusing on four major areas: equal access to parks and recreation; quality education including physical education, and joint use of schools as centers of their communities; alleviating health disparities from the lack of places and policies for physical activity and healthy eating in underserved communities; and local green jobs. Mr. García has influenced equal access to more than $41 billion to serve park poor, income poor communities and communities of color.View Full Article
"I believe that homelessness can just be an experience that youth go through - it doesn't define them. I'm inspired by their stories of strength, and am passionate about providing the support and guidance that leads them to a better life."
Father Richard Estrada has made it his mission to help homeless youth find their paths to a long and happy life through Jovenes, Inc., a nonprofit organization he founded in 1991.
Based in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood, Jovenes, Inc. helps homeless youth and at-risk families become productive and active members of the community. From 1991 to 2007, Father Estrada served as its executive director. From 1991 until today, Father Estrada has served as its board president. Under his direction, Jovenes, Inc. has become a safe haven for about 165 inner city youth and at-risk families annually by providing shelter and housing, individualized case management, employment services, life skills training, leadership development, domestic violence and mental health services. Its Continuum of Care program offers emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. Community outreach has also been a key to its success. Jovenes, Inc. is continuing to grow through its My Home-Mi Casa initiative, where the organization is buying and converting local properties into permanent affordable housing for youth. The annual LA Taco Festival held in Mariachi Plaza raises awareness about Jovenes, Inc. while bringing together local artists, musicians, vendors, community stakeholders and the general public.View Full Article