How IHADLA Programs Help to Reduce LA Gang Participation

The “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles serves students from communities that are affected by poverty, crime, gangs, and violence to help them attend college and break the cycle of poverty for them, their families, and their communities. Currently, IHADLA works in three different areas throughout the greater Los Angeles area: Inglewood, Watts, and Boyle Heights. Although each community is affected differently by violence and each Dreamer’s situation is unique, the overall spike in violence during 2015 has changed the daily lives of many.

IHADLA Helps Keep At Risk Youth out of Gangs and Sees Them Through High School Graduation

IHADLA helps keep at risk youth out of gangs and sees them through high school graduation through proactive services and programs that promote positive lifestyle choices. Through the Dream Speakers series, professionals from all walks of life can speak to our Dreamers about their career and how they got there and answer any questions the students may have. IHADLA also offers opportunities for the Dreamers to experience various activities to build confidence and self-awareness, including but not limited to: college field trips, a year-round after-school program that helps keep them off of the streets and helps with homework assignments, individualized case management services, and the promotion of health and wellness through partnerships with different organizations. For example, our Watts Summer Program had an accomplished professor from USC, Dr. Victoria Elisasson, do a STEM workshop with the Dreamers, and the students also participated in team building and college preparation activities throughout the summer.

team building exercise IHADLA Watts Summer Program helps at risk youth stay out of gangs
Dreamer team-building exercise in Watts

Spike in Gang Related Violent Crime in Los Angeles

A spike in violent crime throughout Los Angeles occured after a few years of notable decline. The #100days100nights social media feud that began in July through a series of hashtags has flooded the streets of Los Angeles with fear. People within the hotbed of these violent street wars do not feel safe, let alone want to go outside or walk around their own neighborhoods.

Thumb tacks representing gangs in Los Angeles. Illustration courtesy of Sean Bonner.
Thumb tacks representing gangs in Los Angeles. Illustration courtesy of Sean Bonner

Even if the violence does not directly affect people in these communities on a daily basis, it creates fear that plagues the community through a ripple-like effect, as many avoid going outside and daily routines are disrupted. Unfortunately, families in these communities typically earn an average of $19,000 or less per year and cannot afford to move away from the violence, as well as afford basic necessities such as food, clothing, and public transportation fees.

LAPD Police car rounding up LA gang members. Photo courtesy of Kevin Dean
LAPD patrol car. Photo courtesy of Kevin Dean

The LA Times captures homicide statistics in an interactive map that shows where homicides have occurred, when they happened, and visually represents the occurrence and reoccurrence of violence with mapped dots.