Lakers Youth Foundation YOU GRANT! Home Page

You Grant Header

Congratulations to the five finalists that have been chosen for the November YOU Grant. Below is a description of each nonprofit. One of these finalists will win the $5,000 YOU Grant. The voting period ends at 3:00pm today.

First Star

Mission Statement: First Star improves the lives of America's abused and neglected children by strengthening their rights, illuminating systemic failures and igniting necessary reforms. We pursue our mission through research, public engagement, policy advocacy, education direct services and litigation.

First Star

Project: We are requesting funding for the 2013 First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy. The Academy is designed to give foster youth the motivation and tools they need to get into college and ultimately succeed in life after they "age out" of foster care. This third year of the comprehensive introductory college immersion program housed on campus at UCLA, will provide a supportive educational environment, UCLA course credit, role models, mentors and monthly follow up programs and evaluation; all designed to help our students become competitive applicants for subsequent admission to college.

Our enrichment activities include attending and participating in sporting events and challenges. As a group our students have attended UCLA Bruin football and basketball games (in the student section). If that doesn't encourage youth to seek a college experience, I don't know what will!! In addition they participate in team building through sports (ropes courses, sailing, basketball and volleyball are all part of the summer curriculum).

The Academy benefits from the full support of the LA County Department of Children and Family Services and staff and faculty at UCLA. We have created the Academy as a first, scalable step to leveling the educational playing field for the foster youth of Los Angeles.

Friendship Circle

Mission Statement: The Friendship Circle is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, non-sectarian organization that offers a wide variety of programs geared for special needs children and young adults and their parents and siblings. The creative and innovative programs are designed to foster a unique relationship between community teenagers and the special needs families. The programs range from our Miracle Sports League to Teen Fitness; Making Music to Gymnastics; Sunday Circle to Hangin' with Friends.

Project: "Hangin' with Friends" has three major project objectives:
  • Create a welcoming environment for special needs teens and young adults while developing social, behavioral, and motor skills.

  • Provide the special needs teen and young adult with a regular scheduled social program where they can interact with fellow teens and young adults and learn to develop relationships.

  • Incorporate a community service component, enabling the opportunity for the teens/young adult to learn about community and giving.

Two programs are held per month - "Teen Fitness" and "Monthly Outing". Teen fitness accomplished two of the first three objectives with the added benefit of the young adults being excited about exercise, a major accomplishment for young adults with special needs as most are not self-motivated or keen on exercising. The second program held monthly is an outing to fun and exciting places that engage special needs young adults with their teen volunteers and involve community service.

Los Angeles Universal Preschool

Mission Statement:LAUP is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide access to high-quality preschool education to the children of Los Angeles County.

Project: LAUP requests funds for Fit by 5 LA, our obesity prevention program. The ultimate goal of Fit by 5 LA is to decrease behavior contributing to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. Since preschool is a critical opportunity for children to develop healthy habits, LAUP works with our network of over 300 preschools across Los Angeles County to create and implement strategies to increase physical activity and encourage healthy eating.

First Star Conducting trainings for a cohort of up to 100 preschools and supporting the implementation of policies about healthy eating and increased activity

Providing sample health and wellness policy guidelines that each preschool can customize

By the end of this school year, LAUP expects that the majority of cohort participants will have a Policy Action Plan and be working towards updating/putting in place a formal Health & Wellness Policy. Since LAUP's point of impact is with our preschool providers: we will create a positive ripple effect to combat childhood obesity in the months and years to come through this innovative policy component.

Conducting up to 50 parent trainings about obesity prevention/health and wellness, reaching 250-300 parents. Covering healthy eating and physical activities, these workshops empower parents and remind them of their role in modeling behaviors at home that support the activities at preschool.

Expanding support for our entire preschool network by offering obesity prevention materials and information throughout the school year

Power 4 Youth

Mission Statement: POWER 4 Youth (P4Y) is an academic mentoring program--but it is not tutoring or a homework club! Our mission is to help youth to do better in school by addressing the broad issues that are keeping the youth from doing their best. Though the outcome is improved grades, we know that children have poor grades for a variety of reasons - not all of them related to academic ability. So in addition to providing one-on-one assistance with academics, our objectives include helping young people recognize and change negative attitudes and behaviors, build self-esteem, develop social and life skills, and effectively plan for the future.

First Star

Our Project: Student/adult mentor pairs meet for 1.5 hours each week at one of six supervised sites. They work on academics. They read. They talk about the future. Mentors identify the issues that are keeping the youth from doing their best, and incorporate activities to assist with those challenges.

Participants take field trips together-building confidence in youth through new experiences. And with the diversity of youth and adults, this interaction is between folks who may otherwise never even meet each other!

Pairs also play together. Play creates balance, teaches cooperation, teamwork, how to win, how to lose. Mentors encourage their students to participate in school and other organized sports, often attending their games. They understand that although the one-on-one time is important, so are team activities.

Funds will be used to provide activities, materials and support to more youth and volunteers. Currently, fifty mentors are matched with fifty youth. We are responding to an increasing need for services by adding 20 more pairs during this school year, expanding into previously un-served neighborhoods.


Mission Statement: SOSMentor's mission is to educate and empower underserved students to make healthy eating choices, live an active lifestyle, and serve as health advocates in their communities. We seek to reduce rates of childhood obesity among Los Angeles youth and build the next generation of healthy, successful leaders. The Lakers Youth Foundation YOU Grant would enable SOSMentor to provide our Healthy Athletes Program and Healthy Messages Art and Performance Contests for 150 students at five high schools throughout LA: Hollywood, University, Wilson, Monroe and Venice High Schools.

First Star

The Healthy Athletes Program is a:

10-week nutrition education program that empowers students to adopt a healthy lifestyle and promote healthy eating and active living in their communities.

It covers basic nutrition concepts and sports nutrition, so that students learn the skills they need to stay healthy and active, now and in the future.

Healthy Messages Art and Performance Contests:

Students are invited to create a poster or performance (song, dance, skit, etc.) that conveys positive messages about nutrition and physical activity for a school-wide contest.

They can earn service-learning/community service credit, required for graduation, by teaching their parents about nutrition and promoting the contests in their schools.

At a time when 40% of LA County students are overweight or obese, your vote for SOSMentor will help improve the health and well-being of our youth.