Work in the Community » Partnerships



Hope Comes to Watts


Program Overview: 


Initiated over 6 years ago by Board Member Darell Schregardus, 'Hope Comes to Watts’ represents a partnership with the Watts Learning Center and Hope College, located in Holland, Michigan. 

For over 6 years, over 50 aspiring educators from Hope College have participated in a uniquely rewarding 3-week experience at the Watts Learning Center in Los Angeles, California. Students are paired with mentor teachers at the Watts Learning Center Charter Schools to support the provision of meaningful and productive daily classroom learning experiences, and provide support as well as participation and engagement in a variety of school-related programs and projects.  Each weekday morning, Hope students travel to one of the two campuses (elementary school or middle school) of the Watts Learning Center where they are assigned to work with one or more experienced teachers or other support personnel in the school. They work one-on-one with the students in the school, prepare materials for the classroom, and have additional opportunities to teach throughout the 3-week experience. After school hours are spent participating in after-school programs at the school and professional development opportunities offered on each campus.


In the process of working with Watts Learning Center children and families, Hope College students are exposed to a wide range of cultural learning experiences and opportunities in the Watts Community and greater Los Angeles area. The program provides the Hope student with a chance to work intensively with children, youth, and teachers at the Watts Learning Center Charter Schools, explore teaching and its day-to-day opportunities and challenges and pursuit of social justice to improve the quality of life in the community.

Ashley Person, a Hope College graduate, is now in her third year of teaching at the Watts Learning Center Elementary School! 


Hope College Faculty Leaders: 

Nancy Cook ([email protected]),

John Yelding ([email protected]), 

Sue Brondyk ([email protected])



Collaboratorium Resource/Reference List

The following resource/reference list is comprised of members and partners of the WLC Community Collaboratorium. The purpose of this tool is to serve as a reference list for teachers to access complimentary resources. A brief description is provided in the form of knowledge/expertise and guidance/support that can be made accessible to support planning and carrying out meaningful and productive experiences that advance the quality of learning in our schools and the community.


Amanda Foundation 
Teri Austin, President

Accessible to work in collaboration with teachers to provide resources that support planning and carrying out meaningful real world projects that support student learning based on the following areas of knowledge and expertise:

• The Amanda Foundation provides free spay/neuter for dogs and cats belonging to low income households that reside in the City of Los Angeles. Our Spaymobile travels from Panorama City to Boyle Heights, South LA, and Watts. Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling 888-349-7388 (Spanish and English)
• We also provide educational visits to schools and community organizations about spay/neuter, pet training, general veterinary care and responsible pet ownership.
• If you are interested in speaking to us regarding a visit please call 310-278-2935 and ask for Tracy.

California State University, Dominguez Hills School of Education (CSUDH)
Dr. John Davis, Dean
[email protected] 

• Access to elementary and secondary education faculty who are able to provide in-kind consultation in collaboration with our teachers to plan/carry out meaningful projects in the community to advance student learning and social progress
• Access to CSUDH resources and opportunities for staff/students, including student tours and programs available on campus

Dr. Jennifer Stacy, Assistant Professor (K-3 Literacy/Early Childhood/Social Justice)
[email protected] 

• Working with teachers to plan/carry out student investigation/research/social action 
• Available to meet with teachers in-person or by phone/video Mondays and Fridays

County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, Ted Watkins Memorial Park
Tenesha Ware, Recreation Services Supervisor
[email protected]

Knowledge, expertise and can make accessible the following experiences and resources available for teachers to advance student learning:

• WLC can reserve and access facilities before 5pm M-F (Baseball and Soccer field, Basketball Gym, Flag football)
• WLC can create team based sports activities for students and create our own schedule to reserve and access Ted Watkins Park facilities
• Parks After Dark: Anti-violence and gang prevention activities to promote healthy living and improving the quality of life in Watts, includes movie in the park (TH – S, 6-10pm)
• The park is looking for proposals: There is a need for children to design and facilitate programs and classes for other children and the community regarding healthy living, anti-violence/pollution initiatives
• The park is looking for proposals: Talent of Watts. Community talent show to represent the talents and expertise of the children of Watts. The park is looking for proposals by students to organize and run the Talent Show on behalf of the Watts Community.

County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health 

Dr. Karen Ehnert
[email protected]
Dr. Michelle Chang
[email protected]

Knowledge, expertise and can make accessible the following experiences and resources available for teachers to advance student learning:
• Available to meet with teachers and students to brainstorm and support planning and carrying out authentic investigations around public health concerns affecting people, animals and the environment
• Depth of knowledge, expertise and resources to support using tools to conduct a root cause analysis of a public health problem, plan/carry out an investigation, engage in data collection and analysis and generate viable courses of action 
• Veterinary Public Health Program: Expertise and services addressing human and pet health concerns, bite prevention, rabies control, animal disease surveillance, and community engagement – including collaborating with partner organization to provide free or low cost pet services in underserved communities.

Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN): A Bold Voice for Change
To bring people together to design, build and promote sustainable communities that allow people to live their greatest potential

Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director
[email protected]

• Depth of knowledge and expertise on how laws are passed in the city
• Understanding of strategy and process for revising or creating new laws based on identified community needs to address community problems
• Knowledge and understanding of how to create, finance and sustain new businesses in under-resourced communities
• Ability and expertise to convene innovative people from different fields to solve the issues affecting residents in urban areas through dialogue and collaboration.
• Expertise in leveraging a multi-disciplinary perspective to address a root cause of poverty in urban areas – access to capital.
• Dedication to helping other organizations develop and implement strategies to help fight poverty, build sustainable economies and house low income families

Los Angeles Housing Authority
Jennifer Thomas, Community Development Manager
[email protected]

• Responsible for coordinating programs, initiatives and partnerships for community development on behalf of the Housing Authority of Los Angeles, including all housing developments in Los Angeles and Watts.
• Expertise in building relationships with political institutions and community organizations to develop a vision for community redevelopment.
• Teaches courses at USC in Public Policy with a focus on engaging students by conducting a neighborhood analysis based on the interrelated areas of safety, community engagement, quality housing, quality schools and economic development.
• Expertise in design features for developing 15-year strategic plan and vision for green design and civic engagement, including affordable, commerce/retail stores, street access
• Expertise in facilitating community town hall meetings to garner community investment in the redesign and use of land as part of long-term project vision/planning
• Access to collaborative partners in areas with expertise in architectural design, department of toxic substances control, state/federal environmental protection agencies, as well as business and community leaders and organizations to meet the needs of community residents, children and families
• Access to examples of design development planning for long-term 15 year projected plans of use of land in Watts
• Can facilitate planning sessions with teachers to consider design of learning experiences and projects that factor in these related areas of expertise and access to vacant lots and properties for children to make observations and acquire authentic experiences
• Knowledge and access to designs to turnaround underserved communities as Model Cities Projects (ie. Work in Compton through USC Price School of Public Policy
• Knowledge and access to contacts who organize afterschool youth sports programs and classes in leadership for youth

Los Angeles Unified School District, Board of Education, District 7
Nancy Ceballos, Deputy Chief of Staff
[email protected]

Los Angeles Unified School District (Local District South)
Theresa Arreguin, Parent Community Engagement
[email protected] 

• Can offer workshops for parents at the local district south headquarters emphasizing fostering growth mind set and UC A-G requirements in preparation for college
• Former principal with passion for instruction and learning
• Advice and recommendations on how to work with parents
• Expertise on surveying parents and using information to improve school culture/climate
• Expertise in developing working with the community in partnership
• How to create a welcoming school environment
• Engaging families by sharing/exchanging family stories and significant events to support connectedness to schools and facilitating student learning
• Dance, movement and pose activities with families and children to foster trust and relationship-building

National Action Network (NAN)
Reverend K.W. Tullos, NAN Western Regional Director and NAN LA President
[email protected]
Civil rights leader and activist
• Social justice and advocate for community advancement and social progress
• Expertise in mobilizing the community
• Unlimited access to resources to organize around community concerns
• Knowledge and expertise on parent organizing, mobilization, voice and action
• First-hand knowledge and relationships with community leaders and activists locally and nationally, including Reverend Al Sharpton

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles
PSR-LA is a physician and health advocate membership organization working to protect public health from nuclear threats and environmental toxins. Representing over 5,000 physicians, health professionals, and concerned residents in Southern California, we inform the medical community and policymakers about toxic threats, promote safer practices, and strengthen local community organizations to engage in meaningful public health and environmental advocacy.

Martha Dina Argüello. Executive Director
[email protected]

• Environmental health and justice and political strategy
• Land use planning addressing soil contamination
• Knowledge, experience and expertise navigating the political process to enact policies that protect the interests of the community and environmental health and safety in collaboration with local community, state and federal agencies
• Experience and expertise mobilizing community groups to understand current land use and environmental health implications and to advocate for social change
• Experience and expertise leading guided tours with students in Watts to define a problem, make informed observations, collect data and engage in analysis and advocacy

The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Greater Los Angeles Financial Group
Adrian Duncan, Financial Professional Associate 
[email protected]

• Expertise in assessing family and community financial situation; assist teachers and students in small group settings with developing tools to analyze income and expenses; tools to determine net worth and establish an appropriate emergency fund; Discuss in detail about Saving/Investing for Major Expenses; Funding a college education, purchasing a house or car and Saving/Investing for a special vacation or event. 
• Expertise in fact finding and developing strategic plan for short term (1 to 10 years) financial goals and long term (10 to 30 years) financial goals. Can facilitate planning session with teachers and students and engage in planning for protection against financial crisis; Helping to ensure family ongoing and long-term financial stability 
• Knowledge and access to financial designs and Portfolio Theory such as Investment planning around assessing risk tolerance, developing an asset allocation strategy and determining appropriate investment vehicles. Develop plan with students and teachers around estate planning; Identify orderly distribution of an estate, maximize legacy by minimizing estate taxes and learn methods to fund estate taxes 
• Can facilitate planning sessions with teachers to consider design of learning experiences and projects that consider Retirement Planning; introduce fact finding to review retirement income and expense needs; teach students to estimate the value of government and company programs to meet investment goals.

Still Waters Vibrations Enrichment Network
Oshea Luja

Accessible to work in collaboration with teachers to provide resources that support planning and carrying out meaningful projects with students based on the following areas of expertise:

• Depth of knowledge regarding the Watts community strengths, resources, history/traditions, organizations, leaders and perspectives, including familiarity with deeply rooted local community organizations and historical landmarks
• Depth of knowledge of key historical and contemporary Watts community-based leaders, organizations and landmarks and strategies for exploring and investigating the community to understand history, perspectives, possibilities and solutions
• Expertise in designing and carrying out authentic projects representing the Watts Community, including producing The 50th Golden Anniversary of the Watts Writers Workshop in collaboration with Cal-State University of Dominguez Hills, and co-producing the Watts Rebellion 50th Anniversary in collaboration with Grand Performances in Downtown LA
• Co-Founder of Still Waters Publishing Press – a small press that publishes 4-5 manuscripts a year and has a staff of professional writers, educators and facilitators. 
• Facilitator of the Doby Boys Youth Program at the Watts Learning Center and has also published an Anthology with authentic WLC student life narratives through poetry.
• Creator of The Majestic Power Workshop Curriculum, that serves California Charter Schools, Private Institutions and The Los Angeles County Public Libraries. 
• Expertise in authentic use of digital, visual and arts as media for expression in conjunction with oral and written language development across genres (expository research, poetry, narrative) and for varying audiences and purposes.

WLC Parent of Alumni and Watts Community Resident
Wilma Frazier
[email protected] 

• Knowledge, experience and expertise of Watts and advocate on behalf of parents and the community for social change and progress. 
• Knowledge of and first-hand contacts of local community experts regarding educating children on healthy diet and eating
• First-hand contact with leadership at the Watts Towers to take teachers and students on tours of the facility for educational visits and use of the arts for community and self-affirmation and empowerment
• Active member of the Friends of Watts Towers Art Center
• Experience advocating for and taking action for social justice and civic engagement

Watts Gang Task Force 

Dr. Perry Crouch
[email protected] 

Reverend James I. Jones, Jr., Gangsters for Christ
[email protected] 

Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC)
WLCAC is a non-profit, community-based, human social services organization dedicated to improving the quality of life South Central Los Angeles residents.

Timothy Watkins, President and CEO
[email protected]

• Rich Tradition and History: WLCAC is a Leading organization with rich history and tradition advocating for social change and progress on behalf of the Watts Community
• Environmental Social Justice: Willing to lead WLC students and staff on personalized 2-hour tours of the community to make first-hand observations and collect data to understand and document locations in Watts that contain toxins hazardous to the environment
• Student Work Exhibitions: WLCAC has a gallery exhibit and is willing to showcase our students’ work and findings from research
• Civil Rights Movement: WLCAC has a museum chronicling the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America
• Cecil Ferguson Gallery: WLCAC maintains the that depicts the conditions of Watts now, delineating environmental toxins in the community and health disparities in collaboration with Charles Drew University and Cal-State Dominguez Hills
• Town Hall Meetings: WLCAC holds town hall meetings to empower and mobilize the community voice and advocacy for social change and progress
• MudTown Farms: A center for educational excellence in Watts focused on promoting green living practices. MudTown Farms is a 2.5 acre site that includes the following learning experiences and opportunities for students: Gardening Plots, Commercial Farming, Educational Farming Plots, Hydroponic Garden, Greenhouse, General Store, Roadside Produce Stand, Reading Garden. MudTown Farms is not only an urban park and farm, it is a self-sustaining community center with education, job training, community gardening, farming and entrepreneurship for all stakeholders.
• Weatherization Project: For over 18 years, WLCAC has operated a weatherization project, funded by the Southern California Gas Company. The purpose of the project is to install, in residential housing units, appropriate energy conservation measures and repairs including Attic insulation; Low flow shower heads installation; door and window weather stripping; duct wrap; caulking; and minor building envelop repair
• WLCAC Greater Watts Transportation: Provides a community transit program since 1973, and currently operates a fleet of vehicles for community transit and charter trips.
• Other services and resources available: One-Stop Workforce Development Center, Greater Watts Child Care Center, Family Source Center, Gang Reduction and Youth Development. 21st Century Community Learning Center, WLCAC 24-hour Gym