Project Innovations LA is a community driven collaborative that cultivates bonds to heal from trauma, promotes emotional wellness, and strengthens a culture of resilience. As a partnership, we enhance leadership through building community capacity, instilling agents of change for long-term sustainability, and by fostering communities that are empowered, informed, healthy, and resilient.
The goal of PILA is to reimagine mental health and depart from the traditional direct services model to create long term change through community capacity building for collective change. The core of PILA are the community members that drive and lead our work. In collaboration with them, PILA’s work has four primary branches that are all rooted in compassion, healing, and community: Neighborhood Leadership Groups (NLGs), Connected Family Playgroups, Community Ambassador Network (CAN), and Trauma and Wellness Coaches.
Neighborhood Leadership Groups (NLGs)
Neighborhood Leadership Groups or NLGs enhance leadership skills to build collective power to address inequities and strengthen protective factors such as: parental resilience, social connections, linkage to concrete support in times of need, knowledge enhancement of parenting and child development, and promotion of social emotional well-being of children. Community members participating in NLGs have a greater sense of belonging in their community and strengthened leadership abilities to advocate for sustainable change.
Connected Family Playgroups
Our team of Child Development Specialists facilitate playgroups with parents and caregivers with children ages ages 0-5 by implementing the Trauma Resilient Parent Training/The Play Strong Model (TRPT). The model is a parenting education framework for strengthening parent-child attachment, building calm emotional regulation, reducing parental stress, and developing child and family resilience. Playgroups encourage and reinforce parental resilience, parent-child relationships, and social-emotional regulation using a neurorelational approach.
Community Ambassadors Network (CAN)
Our Community Ambassador Network was created as part of LA County’s Department of Mental Health community’s efforts to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Ambassadors live in the communities they serve and are trusted individuals with first-hand knowledge of the challenges their communities face. The CAN team strengthens the advocacy of communities to access social services and resources. CAN Ambassadors increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and provide accurate and reliable information to communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. At a grassroots level, they address vaccine inequities and reduce access barriers by supporting community members with making appointments, providing transportation to vaccination sites, and identifying local testing sites.
Trauma and Wellness Coaches support school staff in cultivating a culture of self-care, self-compassion, and social emotional well-being. As a result, school staff have more positive interactions with students, gain opportunities for self-reflection, and find confidence and ability to provide trauma-informed practices.
Our team of Trauma and Wellness Coaches provide professional development through one-on-one coaching and trainings with school staff at Para Los Niños charter schools and at identified school sites. Their time together cultivates emotional resilience in school communities and addresses the social emotional needs of school staff to create safe and supportive learning environments for all students.
Community members connected to concrete supports related to mental health services & resources to address housing and food insecurity
School staff received coaching support to cultivate emotional resilience
Participants completed leadership development workshops, trauma-informed training, and Community Resilience Model (CRM) training