We are so proud to share the work of the 2021-2022 program year and highlight some of the inspiring stories and key outcomes that demonstrate the resiliency and success of our staff and communities. As our country continues to find its new way in this ever-evolving world, there is much for us to reflect on, to reimagine, and to rebuild.
As you know, we believe deeply in an approach that begins with building and maintaining vibrant, trusted, and caring relationships with the children, youth, families and staff throughout the communities of Para Los Niños. We know that the impact of the pandemic continues to reverberate in the lives of so many. Recovery from job losses, traumatic personal losses, continued economic and medical uncertainty, and loss of learning time, will take years to repair. Adding to this burden is the rampant inflation and hiring challenges that many organizations are feeling across the country.
This is a hard time to be doing the kind of work we do at Para Los Niños. National industry trends show the difficulties in hiring for “helping professions” – teachers, classroom support staff, therapists, etc. While we are so grateful and fortunate to have many remarkable, mission-driven team members, we too are feeling the brunt of this. Sadly, those most impacted by these issues are the children, youth, and families we serve.
While it may seem dire and overwhelming at times, we are consistently reminded of the need for our work and the possibility to overcome and thrive just by seeing our outcomes. Despite the challenges of the past few years, we still have much to celebrate. Reopening our charter school campuses to our TK-8th grade students in the fall of 2021 was a critical
step back towards stability. A year+ of remote learning made for a challenging return. Nevertheless, as you will read in the pages ahead, we were able to make great progress. Our third and fourth graders specifically made immense strides – even outperforming schools throughout Los Angeles in Math and English Language Arts. We believe that our model of caring for the whole child – focusing on academics AND the social emotional wellness of all students (and staff) – and the skill of our educators are the determining factors in these results.
We saw growth across our work in other areas too. In the pages ahead, you will see how our partnership with the City of Los Angeles connected us with many more youth looking to build career paths.
You will also read about how PLN was selected by Congressman Jimmy Gomez and Congressman Adam Schiff for $700,000 in Federal funding for community program support in our youth program and Mental Health initiatives for our youngest learners.
The past year was a time for reopening, rebuilding, and evaluation, and we couldn’t have done it without the generous and dedicated support of all our donors. Be sure to review the great list of our supporters and our highlight of long-time partner, Cotton On Group.
In the face of so much, we know we have the staff, knowledge, and incredible supporter base to continue partnering with children, youth and families for growth and success across our communities. Thank you for being in this group and building a stronger, more vibrant Los Angeles.
Long before the pandemic, Para Los Niños established its approach to support the whole child within the context of the family. Accordingly, PLN social workers, case managers, therapists, occupational therapists, and other staff collaborate to prepare students and their families for success in the classroom and beyond. With this foundation in place, and a focus on amplifying comprehensive mental health care and social-emotional supports for students and families as they returned to in-person learning, PLN’s Charter Elementary School (CES) witnessed fantastic results for 3rd to 5th graders in math and English compared to schools across Los Angeles and the state.
We were ahead in so many ways before the pandemic to support our families with social emotional skills and resources, and when the pandemic started in 2020, PLN was ready to do a lot and mobilized fervently,” CES Principal Norma Silva says of PLN’s model and response to support students and families.
Despite PLN’s system of supports, returning to in-person learning after over 18 months of virtual instruction was challenging. CES fourth grade teacher Ms. Gabriela Cardenas remembers starting off the year feeling very anxious, “They [students] seemed behind, but we saw it as an opportunity,” she recalls. “You see where they’re at and where they need to be, and it frustrates you. ‘How can I best support them to get to where they need to be or at least close to where they need to be?’”
“Instilled in us from day one was [the idea that] we are moving forward,” says fellow CES fourth grade teacher Ms. Mayra Carrasco. Adopting a mindset among teachers and students that embraced growth was key to transitioning back into the classroom. Ms. Carrasco shares, “They came in with the mindset that they know they forgot this, or ‘I should have logged in more,’ but we wanted them to have more of a growth mindset.” So, teachers encouraged students to move forward without self-reproach, “‘You might not [know] yet, but we will work to learn.’ Adding that word ‘yet’ is very important,” says Ms. Carrasco.
Another key to enabling students to move forward was dedicating ample time and space to social emotional learning (SEL). PLN has always featured a comprehensive integrated SEL curriculum in its approach. In the 2021-2022 school year, students needed social emotional tools more than ever to help process their emotions and develop vocabulary to express themselves.
The benefit of meeting students at their level and prioritizing social-emotional needs was unmistakable: student welfare as well as test scores improved. “It’s not just test taking – we were striving for students to feel good about themselves,” says Ms. Cardenas. One of her students, Samantha (pseudonym), underwent a particular transformation. Samantha was not active in virtual learning; but when she joined Ms. Cardenas’s class on campus, Ms. Cardenas saw in Samantha a bubbly child eager to connect. “There was so much that was bottled up inside; and at that age, it’s hard to know how to share or express,” says Ms. Cardenas. With Ms. Cardenas’s support, the classroom became a space for Samantha to be open and heard. By the end of the year, Samantha was confident enough to share her poetry on stage at PLN’s annual benefit.
CES teachers shared they were still nervous at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, but the motivation of the students fills them with excitement and promise. “Do we have our work cut out? We certainly do, but we expect our students to have a growth mindset and as teachers, we will strive to be there as best we can,” says Ms. Cardenas.
Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade at PLN’s CES tested better in math and English than students in many schools across Los Angeles—and even the entire state. PLN’s focus on amplifying social-emotional supports for students and families while continuing to pursue academic excellence was a major contributor to students’ success.
Due to a pause in mandatory state testing because of the coronavirus pandemic, spring 2022 was the first time in three years that students in grades 3-8 and 11 were expected to take the annual California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The graphs below show our CES students’ test results compared to the average results of students across Los Angeles Unified School District and the state of California. The achievements of our CES students are remarkable, particularly in light of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our families, communities, and schools.
In the midst of national declines in mathematics scores, 3rd and 4th graders at CES showed remarkable success even outperforming their peers throughout Los Angeles and the state of California.
CES approaches language arts instruction with a focus on culturally relevant pedagogy and practices which resulted in increased student engagement and ownership. CES students demonstrated success at higher rate than 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in schools across Los Angeles and California.
The children and families we serve face immense challenges – language barriers, poverty, housing and food insecurities – many exacerbated by the pandemic. PLN’s model is designed to educate and support families to build on their strengths, to overcome and thrive.
Children, youth, and families served annually
Majority of families’ served by our students and community services annual income.
Para Los Niños children and families identify as Hispanic or Latino
of Caruso Early Education Center families identify as homeless
Our Theory of Change (ToC) is grounded in the recognition that new approaches are needed to truly transform communities. The ToC formalizes how our mission, vision, and core values engender change through our programs for children, youth, and families.
The ToC will function as an anchor to develop clear aims and strategies and build a strong foundation for ongoing decision-making, evaluation, and communication with internal and external stakeholders.
We provide high-quality academic and social-emotional education that fosters creative problem-solving and innovation in order to promote school readiness.
We provide social-emotional wraparound support to parents and our communities to promote well-being, and support students’ academic and social success.
We partner with and uplift communities that connect children, youth, and families to education and resources to lead and succeed. We engage in advocacy and policy efforts to improve service delivery systems.
Children and youth are academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for success.
Families and communities possess self-agency to successfully navigate systems to support children from childhood to adulthood.
Communities are supported by public systems and institutions that ensure equitable and responsive supports for children, youth, and families.
For over 42 years, PLN has partnered with children and their families to provide a comprehensive, holistic approach. As a result, we encourage families to engage with PLN in multiple ways and enroll in as many services as possible.
Hours of mental health sessions for children, youth, and families
Of youth enrolled in case management completed job readiness training and financial education
Dollars distributed to 144 youth through stipends and scholarships in our Angeleno Corps program alone
Food boxes provided to families across our Best Start Region 1 and PILA initiatives
Higher CAASPP Math scores for Charter Elementary School 3rd Graders than LAUSD
Children and families received education and support from our Student & Community Services teams
While the year posed new challenges, there were many moments to celebrate and opportunities to support our families like never before.
PLN was awarded nearly $1.7 million to lead the Angeleno Corps grant in the Central and East LA area. To read about one youth’s experience in the Angeleno Corps, click here.
Para Los Niños was honored to be selected as one of the only 75 non-profits featured in the inaugural Los Angeles version of The Giving List. The high-end book tells the story of giving in LA County, highlighting non-profits doing vital work at the local level.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation added Para Los Niños to its portfolio of grantees. PLN was especially thrilled to receive valuable general operating support from the foundation.
Gratts Primary Center received a new playground thanks to a generous gift from the Steinmetz Foundation. The playground provides students a clean and safe place to explore, build confidence, and develop necessary gross motor skills.
Food for Good, in partnership with GENYOUth and Para Los Niños, launched a new hunger relief program that provided approximately 1,000 students with over 45,000 meals – covering the rest of the school year and summer. The program was supported through the Super Bowl’s “Taste of the NFL” Initiative.
PLN contributed to the production and publication of a joint report by UnidosUS and the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers. Latino Infants: A Continuing Imperative affirms the need for increased visibility, equity, and support for Latino infants.
Over the past 40 years, Para Los Niños has established itself as a trustworthy partner and notable leader in Los Angeles’s education and social service sectors. Nevertheless, it is a great honor to be recognized by members of the U.S. House of Representatives who work alongside us each day to improve the lives of our communities. In spring of 2021, PLN was selected to receive funding for two community projects: one in the 28th congressional district represented by Adam Schiff and one in the 34th congressional district represented by Jimmy Gomez.
Congress reintroduced community funding projects in 2021: “To meet urgent needs of communities across the United States, the House Appropriations Committee has invited Members of Congress to request funding for projects in their communities. These requests are subject to strict transparency and accountability rules.” From hundreds of submissions, each congressional representative selected 10 projects in their district to receive funding.
Representative Adam Schiff awarded PLN $350,000 to hire additional therapists for PLN Early Education Centers. In May 2022, Representative Schiff toured PLN’s Early Head Start Center on Vine in Hollywood, where he played with toddlers, learned about PLN’s early education model, and heard from PLN staff and families about how PLN has supported them throughout the pandemic.
Two months later, in July 2022, Representative Gomez held a press conference at PLN’s Youth Workforce Services (YWS) Center in MacArthur Park to formally present $350,000 in federal funding. The grant from Representative Gomez will be used to hire career advisors and enroll youth in workforce development courses at PLN’s YWS centers in MacArthur
Park and East LA. “As a soon-to-be dad, I want to see my child succeed in everything he does – and that all starts with ensuring he receives the support he needs to learn and grow,” said Congressman Gomez at the conference. “Para Los Niños has helped many young people stay in school and enter the workforce, and I’m proud to secure $350,000 in federal funding to expand their services to meet the needs of our community.”
These visits and grants are a testament to the remarkable work of PLN staff who maintain a high-level of excellence in preparing our children and youth for their future in school, work, and life.
“It’s become very apparent to me during the course of the pandemic, what an endemic we have of mental health challenges facing young people. Investing into children’s emotional well-being pays enormous dividends through the rest of their lives. I’m very grateful for the work that you do and valuing our younger children’s lives.”
–Congressman Adam B. Schiff Representative (D-CA 28th District)
The 2021 to 2022 program year was the fourth year in PLN’s current five-year strategic plan. While the entire plan has been impacted by the pandemic (remote work and closures necessitated changes to some strategies), we are still on track to execute the plan and celebrate huge accomplishments.
Over the course of the year, we continued our work to develop stronger systems, deepen programmatic impact (and tracking), and better articulate the way PLN does its work. We kicked off a planned giving program (Futuro Family, described here) and refined our staff on-boarding process to center social emotional wellness as a priority for all employees. In addition, we made significant strides toward successful implementation of the strategic plan’s program and system goals:
Reflective supervision: we began training all PLN leaders in a relationship-based approach to supervision.
Executive team dashboard: we enhanced the process of data-based decision making with new tools for the executive team and other leaders throughout PLN
As we enter the final year of the strategic plan, we look forward to reflecting on the past five years and conducting a review of our goals and achievements to guide us into the future.
1. Children and youth are physically, socially and emotionally healthy.
2. Families and communities are engaged and empowered.
3. Children and youth are developmentally and academically successful, and ready for the future.
4. Leaders execute on an organization-wide vision, implement aligned goals, and maintain a culture of compassion and excellence.
1. Leaders have what they need to lead effective, successful teams.
2. Staff have what they need to provide excellent services.
3. Organization is financially thriving.
4. Stakeholders develop a clear growth plan.
Image Courtesy of Reuben Herzel
Donors from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022
Caruso Family Foundation
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Albertsons Companies Foundation
The Atlas Family Foundation
Andrea and Blake Brown California Community Foundation
Diane and Dorothy Brooks Foundation
The Dr. Ruth Milman and Dr. Frederick Schiff Foundation
PepsiCo Foundation Fund
Tikun Olam Foundation
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Casey Family Programs
DiCecco Family Foundation†
Federal Communications Commission
The Green Foundation
Herbert R. & Jeanne C. Mayer Foundation
Max Factor Family Foundation in partnership with the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
Paul Hastings Equitable Education Fund
Ann and Robert Ronus
Shields For Families, Inc.
Sierra Health Foundation
The Carol and James Collins Foundation*
The Walton Family Foundation, Inc.
Austin and Virginia Beutner
The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation*
Fineshriber Family Foundation
Ford Motor Company Fund & Community Services
Great Public Schools Now
Madeleine Heil and Sean Petersen
George Hoag Family Foundation
Joseph Drown Foundation
The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation
Kautz Family Foundation
Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation
Walter J. and Holly O. Thomson Foundation Winebaum Family Foundation*
Cindy* and Jake Winebaum
Gail and George Baril
Blue Shield of California
Citizens Business Bank
Cathy* and Edwin Hession†
The Louis L. Borick Foundation
Adria and Pedro Martí*
The Mindel Family Foundation
William J. Panzera Living Trust
Beverly and Fredric Reichel
The Truist Foundation UnidosUS
Walter Parkes* and Laurie MacDonald Charitable Foundation
Holly and Albert Baril
Lorraine P.* and Joe Berchtold
The Bruce and Nancy Newberg Fund
Kelly and Bill Burton
Cotton On USA, Inc.
Arwen and Sky Dayton
Rachel Fiset and Ronnie Roy*
First Republic Bank*
Halper Family Foundation
Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation
Mary and Daniel James
Ashley Lewis and Jim Gilio*
Marjorie* and Steven Lewis
Jill and Jon Liebman
Los Angeles Cold Storage Company
Michael Johnson Foundation
The Minc Family Fund
MUFG Union Bank Foundation
National Charity League Los Angeles
Pacific Steel Group
Payden & Rygel
Richard Eaton Foundation
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Sullivan Curtis Monroe Insurance Services, LLC
Superior Wall Systems, Inc.
Mary Jane Wagle
William H. Hannon Foundation
Arch Insurance Group Inc.
ArentFox Schiff LLP
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation
Alexander J. Caruso
CBS Media Ventures*
Terry and Judy Crowley
Dutton Testamentary Trust†
Susan* and Scott Edelman
The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
Emquies Family Support Foundation
Martha R Estavillo
Anna May and Tim Feige
Gisela and Jeff Friedman
Alene and Robert Gelbard
Gloria Gerace and Thomas Mone
Greenberg Traurig, LLP*
Lynn and Craig Jacobson
Johnny Carson Foundation
Judy and Donald Katz
Los Angeles Water & Power Employees’ Association
Lucille Ellis Simon Foundation
Mary Ann and Murray McQueen*
The Melvoin Foundation
Jill and Mark Pan*
Pensieve Foods LLC
Rebecca* and Matthew Rich
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Sodexo, Inc & Affiliates
Southern California Grantmakers
Divya and Satish Subramanian
Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, LA County, First District
Carrie and Peter Tilton
Malin Wong* and James Kissane
Janini and Michael Wunderman
Alperstein, Simon, Farkas, Gillin & Scott, LLP
Avalon Bay Communities, Inc.
Naya Bloom and Drew Furedi
City First Bank*
Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund
Friars Charitable Foundation
Glaser, Weil LLP
The Guevara Family Fund
Cindy and Michael Kane
Guy and Kendra Langer
Katie Mercer and Jorge Fernandez
Janet and Patrick Moore
The Younes & Soraya Nazarian Family Foundation
Meg and David Nichols
Eleanor and Glenn Padnick
Melita and Stuart Riddle
Diana and Robert Walker
Fran and John Wasley*†
Caroline Welch and Dan Siegel
Sarah Wick and Robert Padnick
Alice G. Wilkins Fund
Kathleen F. Allen
American Business Bank
Ellen and Steve Angel
Arch Capital Group Cecilia Ball
The Benevity Community Impact Fund
Andrew E. Bogen
Born This Way Foundation
Krysten A. Brennan
California Fashion Foundation
Donna and Marc Caruso
Catalina Pacific Concrete a division of CALPORTLAND
Catholic Community Foundation
Martha and Tim Catlin
Charles and Jan Davis Charitable Fund
Dr. Andrew Charles
Dr. Cheryl Charles
Shari L. Davis
Clare and Warren Dern
Denise and Mike DeSantis
Gail and Michael Feuer
Laura Fry and Scott Altman
Hickey Family Fund
Michael L. Galindo
Joan Hansen and Alan Wilken
Michael and Susan Horn Family Foundation
Mary Ann Hunt-Jacobsen
The Kleiner Cohen Foundation
Melissa and Peter Lopez
The Los Angeles Flower Market
Loyola High School of Los Angeles
Steven and Laura Mayer Family Foundation
Jan and Michael Meisel
Maureen and Gregory Morrison
Monika and Aaron Mugg
Deena and Edward Nahmias
National Ready Mix Concrete Co.
Jill and Andy Nieman
Anna M. Nicola
Nina and Fabian Oberfeld
Office of the City Clerk Ann Oliver
Theresa M. and Timothy J. Ortez
Mirna and John Pratte
Roy E. Crummer Foundation
Royce/Rappaport Family Fund
Ruth & Sonny Singer Foundation
Linda and Miguel Sandoval
Jane and Harry Scheiber
Wesley & Lisa Scruggs Family Trust
Seyfarth Shaw Charitable Foundation
Susan Shieldkret and David Dull
Streamline Fire Protection Inc.
Lisa and Mike Tan
Mimi and Jose Tejada*
The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
Kathy and Charles Toppino
The Walt Disney Company
Webcor Construction LP
The Wonderful Company Foundation
Donating real estate, stocks, or other assets in return for a series of regular payments, naming Para Los Niños as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, or gifting other liquid or non-liquid assets are all powerful ways to benefit the future of Para Los Niños, and potentially receive generous tax benefits.
Joining the Para Los Niños Futuro Family ensures the sustainability of our organization in a way that affirms your values and introduces you to a society of fellow generous and forward-thinking donors. It’s easy to do, and all levels of giving are welcome.
Consult with your financial advisor to discuss your options and contact us at email@example.com to learn more. Your support of our mission will be long remembered and change the lives of children, youth, and families for years to come.
The entire Donor Recognition List is available here.
PLN does its best to recognize all contributions received during the fiscal year, July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. If you name was inadvertently omitted, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
†Obelisk Indicates Futuro Family Member
*Asterisk Indicates Board Affiliation
The Cotton on Group (COG) fosters community partnerships that focus on global healthcare, community empowerment, and education and mentorship to drive positive change across the
globe. At PLN, COG works closely with Charter Middle School to host two of the most highly anticipated events of the year: Back to School Day and the 8th grade winter formal.
At Back to School Day, COG employees play games and participate in team-building exercises for prizes with students. In addition, COG offers incoming 6th graders backpacks brimming with school supplies. At winter formal, COG turns a conventional dance into a full-blown party, complete with a DJ, bubble machine, and refreshments. Jessica reflects, “The events that we are lucky enough to support year after year are something that we all look forward to and [we] hope to continue growing our relationship with the students, staff, and entire PLN family in the future.”
PLN was introduced to COG in 2007 by PLN board member and President and General Manager of Cotton On USA, Mark Pan. Since then, the impact of COG on our youth and families has been tremendous. We are incredibly grateful for the presence, heart, and financial support COG offers us year after year. Thank you, Cotton On Group, for your unfailing love and support for PLN’s mission and youth.
Additionally, the hundreds of hours of projects, days of service, and events our volunteers provide build strong connections and are powerful demonstrations of the commitment of our partners and supporters to our children and families.
Thank you to all our donors of time and in-kind between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School
Age of Learning
Alexander Wang New York
Alloy Systems, Inc.
Always Simply Natural
Arch Insurance Group Inc.
Assistance League of Los Angeles
Lorraine P. and Joe Berchtold
Beverly Glen Playgroup Inc.
Branding Los Angeles
California Science Center
Cotton On USA, Inc.
Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP
De La Nonna
Elizabeth De Martini
Don Leo Coffee
Susan and Scott Edelman
Fox HOLA Employee Resource Group
Friars Charitable Foundation
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Maria Gomez Gonzales
Hans Hagenmayer CRS, CRB
Cathy and Edwin Hession
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE
Judith and Donald Katz
Liza Katzer and Chris Bruno
Daisy Uy Kimpang
Rodrigo Gonzalez Leon
Marjorie and Steven Lewis
Live Nation Entertainment
Los Angeles Clippers Foundation
Los Angeles Cold Storage Company
Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation
Los Angeles Dodgers LLC
Los Angeles Football Club
Los Angeles Magazine LLC
Los Angeles Police Department – Central Division
Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Sherrif’s Department
Loyola High School of Los Angeles
Malibu Beach Inn
Amaya Gaston Martinez
Microsoft HOLA SoCal Employee Resource Group
National Charity League Los Angeles
Olive & June
Operation School Bell
Pensieve Foods LLC
Performance Wellness Center
Phoebe Hansen Perry
Rachel Fiset and Ronnie Roy
Pablo Rubinstien Ize
Saks 5th Avenue
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation
The Los Angeles Kings
The Walt Disney Company
Two Bit Circus
UpWorks For Good
Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald Charitable Foundation
Cindy and Jake Winebaum
Woodworkers of Whittier
Writers Guild of America – Latinx Writers Committee
Several years ago, Aviva started volunteering in classrooms to read with students. “I love being with the kids and knowing I’m helping build their literacy skills,” Aviva shares, “I think literacy will change the world.” Students and teachers alike were touched by Aviva’s kind, supportive approach and eagerly await her classroom visits.
“When I walked through the school the first time and saw how focused all the children were, I was really impressed. When PLN does food bag distributions and all the outreach programs for families–they’re realizing children don’t live in a vacuum. You need to help children for the whole 24 hours. I love that PLN approaches it that way.
It’s so important to broaden a child’s world. PLN is always working to take children on trips and exposing them to the world of knowledge and culture–to help them see they have choices as adults, and not limit their aspirations.
These enlightened children will each help more children, and they will grow up to help even more. We can snowball caring about ourselves and others and being respectful of our world.”
– Aviva Wiener, Para Los Niños donor since 1984, volunteer, and Futuro Family member
Recently, Aviva also joined the PLN Futuro
Family—solidifying her commitment to PLN
children and families for years to come.
Angeleno Corps offers youth from underserved neighborhoods the opportunity to earn a paycheck, gain work experience, and serve communities in need. PLN’s Youth Workforce Services (YWS) team had the privilege of leading the Angeleno Corps program in Central and East LA, supporting 144 youths throughout the 10-month program. Consequently, YWS staff assisted youth in the work experience application process, encouraged educational growth through weekly workshops,
and offered individual guidance as many program participants navigated their first foray into the workforce.
Christopher was a member of the Angeleno Corps’ inaugural class assisted by PLN. He heard about the program at East Los Angeles College and was anxious but excited by the opportunity to obtain his first internship. YWS career advisor Giselle Hernandez-Alvarado (a PLN alum) helped Christopher develop his resume and secure a placement at PLN’s very own Gratts Primary Center.
Christopher was assigned to a 2nd-grade classroom, where he quickly noticed the impact he was having. “I felt that I made a difference with them and was able to see how they had grown through the work we had done,” he shares. Christopher knew his role was to support the class’s staff and students but was surprised to realize how much they impacted him in turn.
“The experience was very heart touching,” Christopher recalls. “Ms. Pineda, the second-grade teacher, helped me break out my shell and feel confident. The whole experience changed me and how I look and do things and changed the way I respond to things.”
Christopher’s experience was so profound that he is now considering changing his major from engineering to education. “It was amazing,” Christopher says of his time at GPC. “It was actually an hour away by bus every morning and I would wake up with a smile knowing I would be seeing those kids again.”
This experience was common according to YWS career advisor Giselle. The Corps enabled youth to expand their horizons but still stay on track after a tough transition from virtual experiences to in-person work and school, “A common theme I heard from my youth was that they felt supported. They felt that being a part of Angeleno Corps made the transition a lot smoother for them because they had someone to go to during this sudden transition ‘back to reality,’” says Giselle.
Each year, PLN finds new ways to connect youth to education and resources that nurture personal growth and inspire big dreams.
To learn more about our initiatives for youth, check out our YWS page here.
Invest in the lives of over 10,000 children, youth, and families today.
Para Los Niños provides: Education to children as young as six-weeks old; Power to families navigating stress, systematic oppression, and generational poverty, and; Strength to communities organizing to build more vibrant, safe, and healthy neighborhoods.
Para Los Niños welcomes volunteers
from corporations, community groups,
colleges, and schools. Help us support
children and families by giving your
time for a few hours or on a regular
basis – weekly or monthly. Volunteers
can help with mentoring, tutoring,
college application assistance,
athletics coaching, or administrative
We are always in search of dedicated,
experienced professionals who value
making a difference in the lives of
children, youth, and families.
We foster a spirit of collaboration
because we understand that it takes the
combined efforts of all our employees to
help children and youth thrive.
Para Los Niños offers a competitive and
comprehensive benefits program, plus
opportunities for continued growth and
“I’ve had the privilege of being part of Para Los Niños for seven years as a Mental Health Therapist. It has been an honor to be a part of the lives of the staff, students, and families we serve. What makes Para Los Niños unique is our interdisciplinary approach, which allows all departments to work in collaboration with one purpose–to help our families succeed and thrive. The full mental health and clinical services team combined with our schools’ fully integrated approach is like nothing I’ve seen before and with PLNs resources so easily accessible, I know our families are in such good hands.”