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In 2012, 38.4% of students did not graduate high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Our names are Eric Johnson and Hunter Kubryk and we are students at the University of Southern California. It has come to our attention that nearby Los Angeles Community High School, an alternative school for kids that have been kicked out or have dropped out of high school, has run out of funding and must close their doors for the 2012-2013 academic year. We ask that you please accord the time to understand this issue and help the kids that have been written off as byproducts of the struggling Los Angeles public school system. Our mission is simple: reopen a successful school that sits amongst countless failing ones.
We invite you to join us in this great undertaking.
Rehabilitation through Education
Los Angeles Community High School was founded in 1995 in response to the lack of educational options and needed services in the most underserved communities in Los Angeles. Watts, where the school is located, boasts among the state’s highest school dropout rate, crime rate, and poverty rate, with 50% of families below the poverty line. For the majority of youth, the prospect of graduating from high school seems beyond the realm of possibility. LACHS has made momentous impacts on the community with a staggering 93% graduation rate. This rivals an approximate 55% graduation rate at nearby Jordan High School, where many of the students previously attended.
LACHS is run by Kimi Lent and Fred Smith. Kimi is a former kindergarten teacher turned gang expert, and Fred has spent the entirety of his life in the projects of Watts. Together, their extraordinary journeys contribute to a very unique approach to education. They do whatever it takes to give their students a second chance, from writing letters to the courts to working directly with probation officers. They do not strictly focus on the academics – instead, a focus is placed on social, moral, physical, and academic health. This holistic approach to education aims to complete the individual and rehabilitate students from their immersion in a corrosive lifestyle. Their goal is not only to provide opportunities for their students, but to transform the way they think about their lives. Just as gangs are contagious, so is education.
Community Restoration Services, the non-profit that encompasses Los Angeles Community High School, is a licensed 501c3 community based organization. LACHS is a private credentialed alternative school registered with the State of California’s Board of Education in collaboration with the Los Angeles Computer Science Academy.
Community Restoration Services has provided education and services to thousands of people in South Los Angeles. To date, their school has graduated 641 teens and adults with high school diplomas. An unprecedented 79% of its graduates once involved in the criminal justice system are now employed, in job training, or attending college. The school has gained media attention from KCAL 9, ABC News, local newspapers and the L.A. Times. It has also received accolades from Youth and Family Services, Councilwoman Janice Hann, Assemblyman Isadore Hall, Supervisor Yvonne Burke, and the Los Angeles Office of Education.
How You Can Help
As students at the University of Southern California, just minutes from Los Angeles Community High School, we often turn a blind eye to the constant struggle of our neighbors. It is time for this notion to change.
Please help us keep this school open by making any donation within your means. Even if you are unable to contribute financially, please spread the word and share our links with as many people as possible.
The bare minimum we will need to make it through 2012-2013 is as follows:
-$10,000 by Aug. 24, 2012 to prepare for Sept. 4 opening day
-additional $20,000 by Oct. 1, 2012
-additional $20,000 by Dec. 1, 2012
-additional $20,000 by March 1, 2013
Additional funding is desperately needed and greatly appreciated. We have attached a PDF in our gallery that details the operating budget so you can see the direct effects of your donation. For more information, please visit our social media channels at the links below:
These students, and many generations to come, thank you for your life-altering contribution.