News Release| Verizon Foundation; Cal State L.A.

Leadership training for high school students in underserved communities to expand, thanks to $10,000 Verizon Foundation Grant

 Funds will help Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A. grow its Youth Civic Engagement and Community Leadership Training program

Los Angeles — To broaden the network of young leaders who need the support, knowledge and tools to better their own communities, the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, has donated $10,000 to the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs (PBI) at Cal State L.A. to expand its Youth Civic Engagement and Community Leadership Training program.

PBI’s two-day youth training program utilizes interactive exercises and activities to encourage dialogue and intensify learning among student leaders in high schools in underserved communities.

“It’s hard to find a better way to improve conditions in underserved communities than helping young leaders develop their abilities to lead through comprehensive training that builds both character and resolve,” said Jaime Regalado, PBI’s executive director. “This generous grant from Verizon will help us do just that.”

The leadership program brings together small teams of sophomores and juniors from several high schools to teach them to promote and embrace trust, teamwork and thoughtful community advocacy. They also gain more tangible skills, such as how to analyze power, identify different leadership styles, and understand how resources are shared.

During training, each team identifies an issue that is important to the group. By the end of the second day, the teams develop plans of action that outline the activities they will undertake to achieve their goals. The students reconvene two months after the training to share their successes and challenges and to seek each others’ counsel.

The training program culminates with the student teams presenting their projects at PBI’s annual California Policy Issues Conference, with its audience of elected officials, policy and decision makers, and corporate leaders.

Gene Eng, Verizon vice president, strategic programs, said, “The Pat Brown Institute’s long history of civic engagement and community empowerment has been a tremendous benefit to the Los Angeles communities that Verizon serves.  The Verizon/PBI partnership will better prepare these students to become future leaders capable of addressing tomorrow’s challenges.” 

The Youth Civic Engagement and Community Leadership Training program, which is managed through PBI’s Youth Enrichment Policy Project, was established with seed funding from the California Wellness Foundation, which funded the pilot of the youth training program in March. 

With the Verizon Foundation grant, PBI will be able to bring its training curriculum to other underserved communities that continuously send students to Cal State L.A., including El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles and Huntington Park.

The high schools in these communities that PBI will reach out to include Roosevelt, Mendez Learning Center, Garfield, Wilson in Lincoln Heights, Huntington Park, Huntington Park Academy and Locke. 

Students who participate in the training program also are able to pursue additional learning opportunities through unpaid internships with local policy and advocacy organizations. The internships enable them to identify the different roles they may play in these organizations and explore future career opportunities.

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 220,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students, opening in fall 2011. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.