Legacy LA's mission is to make positive interventions in the lives of young people by offering alternatives to gangs and violence. Legacy LA builds the capacity of youth to reach their full potential and equips them with tools to transform their lives and community.
Founded in 2007 by former Ramona Gardens neighborhood resident Maria "Lou" Calanche, Legacy LA addresses the impact of multi-generational gang violence and low educational attainment in Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights and surrounding neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles. Built in 1941, Ramona Gardens is one of the City's oldest public housing developments and is home to approximately 2,000 residents - primarily Latino - in 498 units of affordable housing for very low-income families.
What We Do
Legacy LA engages in the following activities to promote higher education and empower youth to transform their community, serving more than 300 low-income youth age 10-24 annually:
1. Student Success: Legacy LA provides after-school mentoring and academic support to 145 youth from middle school through college as a drop-out prevention strategy with the long-term goals of college access and completion.
2. Leadership: Legacy LA's flagship leadership development program engages youth in three years of training (a series of three 10-month modules) using a social justice model to increase knowledge of community issues, civics, and community organizing, and to increase capacity to respond to community needs. This program builds youth power to transform their neighborhood and improve public policies and systems that affect their lives.
3. Youth Organizing: Legacy LA builds youth power to improve community conditions and youth are actively engaged in campaigns to promote environmental justice, increase public investment in youth development, and improve interaction between youth and law enforcement. For example, Legacy LA youth are leading the regional I AM POSSIBLE Campaign to advocate for increased public investment in youth development.
4. Through Our Eyes: Legacy LA youth developed Through Our Eyes, a three-hour youth-led workshop for law enforcement & youth to improve communication & reduce the criminalization of youth. Legacy LA youth have trained 72 LA Police Department officers to date, and the goal is to expand. KPCC 89.3 FM covered this story March 14, 2017.
5. FamilySource Center: As a subcontractor and satellite location for the local City-funded FamilySource Center, Legacy LA provides family services to increase academic achievement for youth, and increase income for their parents/guardians.
6. Gang Reduction & Youth Development: With funds from the City of LA - Mayor's Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development, Legacy LA provides evidence-based gang prevention services with an emphasis on family case management.