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Mega-Cities' Urban Innovation Transfers

Contents Environmental Justice International Transfers Urban Leadership

Urban Leadership for the 21st Century (LA)

W. K. Kellogg Foundation funded
Descriptions of Cross-Neighborhood Transfers: The urban innovation transfers which resulted from this progress span a range of issue areas including urban gardening, health care, job training, street vending, family preservation, youth gang prevention, domestic violence, and many others. Each transfer involves an idea which emerged at a neighborhood scale, and is now being transferred and adapted to a new location. Eight of these transfers are between neighborhoods within Los Angeles, ten are between neighborhoods within New York and eleven are between neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles.
Eight Transfer Partnerships Within Los Angeles

A Window Between Worlds is transferring their domestic abuse recovery program to shelters in San Pedro, South Central, Pasadena, and West Covina: A Window Between Worlds is a shelter-based arts program for battered women. Founded by Cathy Salser, it uses art as a form of empowerment for the battered women as well as a way to raise awareness about domestic violence in our society. It was started three years ago when Salser set out on a cross-country journey to bring art to battered women's shelters. The four month tour included art workshops and training for more than 450 residents and sixty staff in thirty-two shelters. Through the workshops, women learned to use the art as a safe way to express themselves, examine their experiences of abuse, and rebuild their damaged self-esteem. For many of the women, the art served as a "window between worlds," helping them to transition out of a painful past and into a more hopeful future. Upon returning home to Los Angeles, Salser began this pilot program at the Sojourn Shelter for Battered Women. Surprisingly, she has had much better luck introducing her program nationwide than she has introducing it in other neighborhoods in Los Angeles. In response, Salser has developed a curriculum manual (which lays out twelve different workshop options) and is now using it to introduce her program at existing shelters in four neighborhoods across Los Angeles: San Pedro, South Central, Pasadena, and West Covina. She also provides initial art supplies and ongoing consultation.

2. The Greater Hollywood Health Partnership is expanding their church-based health services into South Central through the Southern Area Clergy Council: In Hollywood, there are an estimated 30,000 underprivileged children, adults, and senior citizens for whom basic preventative health services are unavailable. Many of the staff members at the Queen of Angels Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center were eager to offer their services to the local community but lacked the neighborhood-level networks to reach a significant number of people. The solution was to organize the Greater Hollywood Health Partnership (GHHP), a coalition of sixteen churches through which the medical center can deliver information and services in a culturally sensitive manner. Volunteer physicians, nurses, dieticians, and technicians give lectures on subjects ranging from prenatal care to nutrition to heart disease and perform preventative medical tests such as cholesterol screenings, PSA tests, and mammograms. Now, the GHHP is transferring their model to South Central Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Southern Area Clergy Council and Healthy LA 2000. The Southern Area Clergy Council, with 75 churches and 35,000 parishioners of diverse denominations will more than double the impact of this innovation.
3. QWoD Plus is sharing its "First Chance" Gang Prevention Program with the Vaughn FamilyCare Center: In the San Fernando Valley, Qwod Plus is a grassroots organization which trains local individuals to fulfill unmet needs in the job market, raises income levels, and stimulates local business development. Founder and Director Kay Inaba does this through a range of creative approaches, such as "First Chance," which helps street gang members to find and nurture career interests. With a Mega-Cities grant, Inaba is helping Yoland Trevino, the leader of another Valley-based community organization, the Vaughn Family Care Center, to adapt the First Chance program. The Vaughn Center has now identified a young gang leader with aspirations of becoming an architect and helped him to develop those interests. Late last year, he was elected to the National Civilian Corps. The collaboration between Kay Inaba and Yoland Trevino has resulted in a modified, hybrid program. As part of revised First Chance Program, the young man was also hired as a paid program coordinator who has reached to a group of ten other at-risk youths.
4. Malibu's "LA WILD Challenge Program" is expanding into Watts and South Central through People for Parks: After Malibu fires, Garrie Mar and Tina Johannes of the Mountains Conservancy Foundation launched an innovative outdoor education/adventure program called the LA Wild Mobile Challenge Course. The Mobile Challenge Course is a movable obstacle course which brings a range of outdoor recreational activities and team-building exercises to inner city youths. With their mini-grant, Tina Johannes worked with Cathy Somers, the Director of People for Parks, to introduce the Mobile Challenge Course to new neighborhood. People for Parks is a network of ten neighborhood associations which monitor and care for their local parks and run recreational activities. In August 1994, Somers arranged for the recreation directors of several of these associations to come to Malibu for a two-day Mobile Challenge training given by Johannes. The aim was introduce them to all aspects of the Mobile Challenge methodology so that they could then recreate aspects of the program in their neighborhood parks. The long-term plan is to replicate the Mobile Challenge program in all ten communities in the People for Parks network.
5. Kingdom Kids is replicating its musical civics curriculum in the Hobart, Alta Loma, and Manchester elementary schools: In St. Andrews Gardens, Crystal Davis organized a small group of children in her housing development into the "Kingdom Kids," a troop of gospel singers who learn lessons about social responsibility and good behavior. With her Mega-Cities mini-grant, she is working in collaboration with LA's Best, a citywide afterschool program which currently has no musical activities, to replicate the initiative in its twenty participating elementary schools throughout Los Angeles. She has already succeeded in introducing her approach to three schools: Hobart, Alta Loma, and Manchester. This effort may culminate in the creation of a citywide chorus. Davis is also hoping to find ways to introduce the Kingdom Kids approach to organizations in other cities worldwide by putting her songs and music curriculum on cassette and video for widespread distribution and teacher training.
6. HOPE LA Horticulture Corps is transplanting its land acquisition strategy to Jovenes, Inc. in Echo Park: In South Central Los Angeles, George Singleton formed a unique organization, the Hope LA Horticultural Corps, which creates urban gardens in vacant lots and then uses them as vocational training grounds for local youths interested in careers in agriculture, nutrition, and food preparation. Jovenes, Inc. is a grassroots group that provides support and creative outlets to homeless Latino boys living in Los Angeles. Under the leadership of Father Richard Estrada and Andrew Conroy, Jovenes, Inc. has designed a long-term community development strategy that involves helping their young men to participate in neighborhood improvement initaitives. Toward this end, they are adapting aspects of George's HOPE LA Horticulture program. In particular, they are interested in George's creative approach to acquiring access to land, by utilizing an obscure tax law that accrues benefits to the landowner. Father Estrada and Conroy have already gained access to the site they wanted, and organized the local youths to clear the site and plant fruit trees. The groundbreaking ceremony was covered by two radio stations and attended by actress Valerie Harper.
7. Plaza Community Center is borrowing the "Principle-Based" Staff Training Plan from the Children's Bureau: Geraldine Zapata is the Executive Director of the Plaza Community Center, an organization in East Los Angeles which provides a range of youth services to local residents, including: a medical clinic, recreation clubs, and gang prevention activities. Zapata is reaching out to the Children's Bureau of Los Angeles, looking for ways to enhance her own efforts. The Children's Bureau of Los Angeles, which provides onsite health care, counseling, and other services to children through the public school system, has developed an innovative staff training and development method which it uses in all of its locations. The method, which is called "Principle Based Leadership" allows for all staff members to participate in the organization's key decisions and strategic planning. Zapata is using her mini-grant to study Principle Based Leadership and adapt it to her own organization.
8. Dunbar EDC is Adapting the "Community Impact Team" Strategy from the San Fernando Valley: The Dunbar Economic Development Corporation is now working to create a street-vending district in the Vernon Central neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. According to Dunbar's Miguel Llorente, the primary challenge they are currently facing is the strained relations that currently exist between the street vendors and the police. In order to mitigate this tension, Miguel went to the San Fernando Valley, where the Mission Valley Community College has successfully organized the street vendors and worked out terms for a peaceful relationship with the local police force. Central to the Mission Valley approach was an initiative called the "Community Impact Team," a fast-track emergency response team run by Police Officer Steve Margolis that brought residents and government representatives to the table for the first time. The Community Impact team has effectively addressed many of the neighborhood's problems, including low housing quality, drug dealing, and poor relations between vendors and the police. Llorente plans to adapt the basic concept of the Community Impact Team for the neighborhood surrounding Dunbar EDC.

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