6 Southern California Organizations Dedicated to Youth

If we want to create a more equitable and compassionate society, we need to start helping people when they're young. These organizations help kids achieve through dedicated actions in education, sports, the arts, and other areas. By treating each child as important, we can ensure that everyone has a shot to succeed. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 Organizations Helping Young People in SoCal

Name Location Focus
Starlight Children's Foundation Culver City Bringing fun and entertainment to hospitalized children through clothing, books, toys, games, play spaces, and other methods of support
CASA of Los Angeles Monterey Park Pairs children in the dependency system with trained volunteer advocates who investigate their cases and give recommendations while providing a consistent influence in their lives
826LA Echo Park & Mar Vista Supports students ages 6 to 18 in their creative and expository writing skills, offering one-on-one attention to encourage individual expression
Foundation for Global Sports Development Los Angeles Promotes fair play and the benefits of abuse-free sports for youth through grant programs, scholarships, and education
Inner-City Arts Downtown Los Angeles Provides arts education to underserved communities for kids of all ages in areas such as photography, dance, film, drama, and graphic design
Students Run LA Tarzana Trains at-risk high school students to complete the Los Angeles Marathon, helping them learn the value of working to complete a specific goal in a supportive environment while also offering scholarships to graduating seniors

The Kids of 826LA

Arts Education in America

The Work of The Foundation for Global Sports Development

Los Angeles Statistical Snapshot

In Depth

Southern California has long been associated with youth, but it isn't all surf and sun. Many young Californians in underserved communities face challenges that are not being met by families or schools. The organizations on this list, presented in no particular order, all take different approaches to supporting, enriching, and educating children and young adults in the state, whether they are struggling with illness, navigating the child welfare system, or lacking opportunities to develop their literary, artistic, or athletic abilities.

At #1 is Starlight Children's Foundation, which strives to deliver happiness to seriously ill kids. Founded in 1982, Starlight's programs are built to entertain, distract, and inspire children in hospitals. These efforts combat the fear and isolation faced by hospitalized kids, thus helping them heal faster. Over the past four decades, the organization has aided more than 16 million young patients. This work has attracted major corporate partnerships, including Colgate, Disney, and Nintendo, among others.

Starlight executes its mission through five major programs. Its Virtual Reality initiative delivers V.R. headsets. The Hospital Wear program replaces uncomfortable hospital gowns with high-quality, brightly colored ones. Starlight Gaming offers kids games and streaming videos. The organization also transforms indoor and outdoor hospital environments, and delivers hundreds of thousands of fun items directly to sick kids. Support Starlight through one of its innovative custom fundraising programs.

Support Starlight through one of its innovative custom fundraising programs.

#2 is Casa of Los Angeles. Part of a national association, the group mobilizes community volunteers to advocate for kids in the child welfare system who have experienced abuse and neglect. In Los Angeles County, there are 30,000 children under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Court who have faced such trauma. Casa volunteers support them through direct advocacy, assistance with job placement, investigation of their cases, and reporting and providing recommendations to the court.

In relating to both children and their advocates, Casa maintains five core values: deep love, justice, authenticity and integrity, accountability, and respect. The organization also runs an active events series for raising money and building solidarity. Examples have included 5K races, drag queen bingo nights, and art auctions. To participate in their mission, one can refer a child in the court system, become a volunteer advocate, or donate money through a variety of methods.

For #3 we have 8 26 LA: a nonprofit that supports students aged six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and helps teachers inspire their students to write. Services at 8 26 are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. Its programs are both challenging and enjoyable, strengthening each student's ability to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their own voice.

Its programs are both challenging and enjoyable, strengthening each student's ability to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in their own voice.

The free programming at 8 26 LA takes a variety of forms. It offers students individual tutoring throughout the week at locations all over the city. Fun, writing-based field trips are open to classes of different sizes. Workshops taught by local artists and writers foster creativity and strengthen academic skills. The organization also develops writers' rooms in schools. Support 8 26 by volunteering your time or donating money.

#4: The Foundation for Global Sports Development, delivering and supporting initiatives that promote fair play, education, and the benefits of abuse-free sports for youth. Its grantmaking program provides funding to non-profit organizations that support a combination of educational enrichment and youth sports activities. The foundation also sponsors annual awards and scholarships. Another initiative offers young adults and children the opportunity to learn from Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Education is a key aspect of The Foundation for Global Sports Development's mission. To this end, it has created a documentary production company, Sidewinder Films, devoted to exploring positive messages of sport. A third division of the organization, Courage First, educates adults and teens on sexual abuse and predatory behavior. Learn more about what the foundation means by sportsmanship and fair play by watching a Sidewinder Films documentary, such as At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal.

Learn more about what the foundation means by sportsmanship and fair play by watching a Sidewinder Films documentary, such as At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal.

Clocking in at #5 is Inner-City Arts. Founded in 1989, the organization provides arts education to underserved communities. It engages young people in the creative process in order to shape a society of imaginative, confident, and collaborative individuals. Inner-City Arts offers primary, middle, and high school students arts classes, workshops, and college prep. Instruction is available for everything from ceramics to filmmaking to comedy. For educators, it provides training and professional development in the arts.

Inner-City Arts also touts programming designed for the community through its Rosenthal Theater. This space offers students and community groups alike the opportunity to create, perform, and experience new work for the stage. To contribute to the organization's work, purchase and donate an item from the wishlist hosted on its website. There are also a number of ways to get involved as a volunteer.

Rounding out the list at #6, Students Run LA trains at-risk high school students to complete the Los Angeles Marathon. For many of the students, training for a marathon represents the first time that they have committed to a specific goal. By providing them an opportunity for incremental accomplishment and a supportive environment to help them on their way, the group inspires, excites, and encourages students to meet this difficult challenge.

By providing them an opportunity for incremental accomplishment and a supportive environment to help them on their way, the group inspires, excites, and encourages students to meet this difficult challenge.

In addition to the training program, Students Run LA makes available scholarships to graduating high-school seniors for two or four-year colleges, trade schools, or fine arts programs. The SRLA Cares project raises social, environmental, and community awareness through various local efforts. Get involved by becoming a member of the Pass the Baton Monthly Donor Club or joining the team as a charity runner.