History and Mission
The mission of the City of Youth is to intergenerationally impact South Los Angeles by enabling the youth we serve with the tools to make change in their lives and in the community, while simultaneously providing a platform for progressive, socially active educational environments for community stakeholders. Through experiential inquiry-based curricula that actively involves program participants both in and outside of the classroom and South Los Angeles community, students, staff AND external participants strengthen their academic, leadership, professional, social-emotional and critical thinking competencies with the goal of cultivating a more inclusive, participatory and just society.
City of Youth (COY) was founded in 2004 in direct response to the outstanding number of disadvantaged urban youth that were facing profound difficulty in the foster care system. COY redeveloped its mission to account for the rising number of youth that do not have the supportive resources. The urge to care for this forgotten population of young people evolved into specialized youth intervention and empowerment programming. The organization provides an array of developmental activities that began with team sports, but now includes high school diploma education, vocational capacity building, college preparedness and leadership development.
The newest addition to the organization, City of Youth Academy, enables COY to serve underprivileged youth with an enriching scholastic environment. The goal is to provide youth and families with a range of service-centered social and educational programs for building a strong mind, body and spirit. Our key academic partner, John Muir Charter School, provides our young people with an experiential social justice themed high school diploma component which is integral to our youth’s advancement
Our programs focus on cooperative and participatory teamwork that promotes success for individuals and families with intent to redirect them away from dependent mind-sets and destructive influences. In addition to personal and familial development, City of Youth is dedicated to improving life in the local community, and in turn having the local community become active entities of social change by helping other communities outside of their immediate surroundings.
Schools located in the community that surround City of Youth are underperforming and are meeting neither state nor federal annual growth expectations. South Central has one of the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment in the county of Los Angeles and contains one of the largest areas of concentration of public housing units in the county.
The target population is located in the Vernon-Central corridor of South Central Los Angeles, California and is widely recognized as an urban low-income high-crime community. The community has one of the lowest annual household incomes in all of Los AngelesCounty which further exacerbates the educational performance of the youth.
The aforementioned summary of COY's history and mission, and the information regarding our programming on this website highlight how COY aims to fulfill this need.