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Meet KCET Local Heroes Nominee: Franco Vega

Franco Vega at a podium

Title: Executive Director/Founder

Organization/Business: The RightWay Foundation

Website: http://www.therightwayfoundation.org/     

"Franco is an amazing example of someone who has effectively used challenges in their life as a force for good in the world."

                                             Karen Mack, Nominator

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Highlights:

  • After a traumatic youth, bouncing in and out of juvenile hall and attending ten different schools, Franco Vega was orphaned at the age of 15 and experienced the child welfare system firsthand. Later, after years of experience working with struggling foster youth, Vega was inspired to found The RightWay Foundation.
  • RightWay Foundation’s mission is to build a prosperous future with the right foundation, one foster child at a time. The non-profit combines mental health services and job readiness training for transitional age foster youth (TAY) in Los Angeles County.
  • Vega spent three years in the Army before entering Cal State Dominguez Hills graduating with a degree in Human Services. He began his decades-long career in social services working on projects related to job development for underserved communities.
  • Prior to founding RightWay Foundation, he created an employment center on Skid Row at the Midnight Mission working with recovering addicts and the homeless population—many of whom had come through the foster care system.  
  •  Determined that he would work with TAY to reduce homelessness as well as break the cycle of pipeline to prison for foster care youth.
  • In conjunction with the City of Los Angeles’ Dept. of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s office, The RightWay Foundation launched the Creative Career Pathway Program (CCPP) in 2016 placing emancipated foster youth in paid internships at significant cultural and creative institutions, allowing them to explore the art world and launch their careers in the arts. Other programs support transitioning to college.
  • Vega runs the RightWay Foundation like a family while raising four children of his own, as well as finding time to sit on several boards and coach little league baseball.

More on Franco Vega and The RightWay Foundation:

LA Times: Nonprofit mentors foster children toward a path to success       

Grand Performances Blog: Being An Intern the Rightway        

Building My Foundation The RightWay Campaign Video 

100.3 FM The Sound Interview with The RightWay 

Youth Today: Los Angeles’ Vast Child Welfare System Has a Lot to Teach Rest of Nation

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