Heart of Los Angeles providing students with enrichment programming to overcome barriers


WESTLAKE DISTRICT, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — “We’re helping to build a community of Angelinos who care about their neighbors and truly want to give back and make this world and the city a better place,” stated Tony Brown, CEO of Heart of Los Angeles.

Heart of Los Angeles gives underserved kids an equal chance to succeed through a comprehensive array of after-school academic, arts, athletics, and wellness programs.

The nonprofit organization serves over 3,100 students in central and south-central Los Angeles.

“We do that by helping students realize their dreams by meeting them where they’re at and trying to take them where they want to go. And sometimes that’s through an athletics program or health and wellness classes. Sometimes it’s through music programs or visual arts,” continued Brown.

The programming is in three sectors: Academics, Arts, and Athletics. The academic sector provides students with homework help, tutoring, enrichment activities, and more. The arts sector engages students in music classes ranging from beginning to advanced, scientific arts, and various visual arts classes. The athletics sector offers basketball, soccer, football, and summer active camp.

Heart of Los Angeles is a four-building campus. The central campus is the Arts and Recreation Center located in the middle of Lafayette Park. The classrooms are made out of 47 recycled shipping containers. The Lafayette Recreation Center is next door which houses the gym used for athletics. The remaining buildings are across the street from the central campus. One of those buildings is an art studio that has a gallery filled with ceramic arts, photography, sculptures, and more made by students.

Brown stated, “When the kids step through here, there’s a sense of pride in their neighborhood that is really fun to see.”

The organization doesn’t stop at student programming. Heart of Los Angeles offers a family services department. Families can seek the services of case managers, counselors, and a licensed clinical social worker.

“Our family services department truly gets at the root of what is challenging or creating the largest barrier for a family to continue to progress and advance their family’s lives. It’s wrap-around support,” continued Brown.

The organizaition is celebrating their 36th anniversary this year. As the organization grows, they are expanding their reach. One of their initiatives is participating in the Black Student Achievement Plan. Through this plan, they provide visual and scientific arts classes at schools throughout the South Central Crenshaw-Dorsey cluster area.

Brown stated, “Heart of Los Angeles is most successful when we reach families who are growing up in poverty and perhaps their children are their hope for a better economic life. And when Heart of LA is able to go in there and really support the whole family with wraparound services, not just after-school programming, it feels really good when those kids come through our programs, and then go on to become the first in their families to go to college.”

Heart of Los Angeles accepts enrollment twice a year for summer and fall programming. The summer session enrollment will be available in late April/early May.

For more information on how to enroll, donate, volunteer, and more, head to heartofla.org

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