Mission, History, Accomplishments & Goals

Our Mission

A Place Called Home provides a safe, nurturing environment with proven programs in arts, education, and wellness for the young people in South Central Los Angeles to help them improve their economic conditions and develop healthy, fulfilling and purposeful lives.

Our History

A Place Called Home (APCH) began in 1993, the brainchild of Founder Debrah Constance. In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and Civil Unrest, Debrah wanted to give gang-affected youth in South Central L.A. a safe place to go after school, do their homework, get a snack, watch TV, hang out with friends, and be with caring adults – basic needs that all young people have.

APCH started off in May 1993 with twelve children getting together in the basement of a neighborhood church. By 1996, our membership had grown to 400 youth, and APCH moved to its present location, which has grown into a 25,000 square foot facility that features an athletic field, commercial kitchen, garden, dance, music and art studios, a library and computer lab, a dropout recovery center, and a teen center. APCH provides a home away from home for more than 300 children and youth every day, and directly serves more than 1,000 youth and families every year, and thousands more community members via large scale events such as health fairs, concerts, screenings, and regular distributions of food, clothing, toys, books, school supplies and more.

Some of our accomplishments include:

1993 APCH opens in a church basement – 12 children attend

1994 Debrah Constance awarded “Woman of the Year” by State of California • Debrah invited by President Clinton to White House briefing on crime

1995 KCET documentary and first fundraiser in South Central with Maxine Waters and Vanessa Williams

1996 APCH moves to new building • We launch a dropout recovery partnership with LAUSD • Dance Program starts with Jasmine Guy

1997 Gospel Brunch a huge success! • Teen Mentoring Project begins • Davidow Counseling Center opens • Music Studio built

1998 Gang Prevention & Intervention Program with Gangsters Anonymous • World Opportunities Network begins providing fresh produce • Sports programs begin • Choir begins

1999 APCH article in Newsweek: “On the Cusp of a Crusade” • Playground donated by Nancy & Bruce Newberg, Evan Frankel Foundation, Home Depot, and KABOOM! • Horses in the Hood partnership begins

2000 APCH dancers perform at Footlighters event • APCH receives CA Community Foundation’s “Unsung Heroes Award”

2001 First Starry Starry Night Fundraiser • Johnny Carson visits APCH with a surprise gift • Hunger Free America event at APCH with Jeff Bridges and Sharon Davis • Footlighters record a CD at APCH studio

2002 APCH at President’s Summit for America’s Future • Creative Therapy Program begins • David & Linda Shaheen Foundation establishes APCH Shaheen Scholarship Program

2003 APCH 10th Anniversary Gala honoring Janet Jackson, Geoffrey Ammer and Gary Credle • New bungalows accommodate more kids • Los Angeles Clippers sponsor “Read to Achieve” Room • APCH receives “America’s Promise Safe Haven Award”

2004 APCH forms new partnerships with Herbalife, Times Tribune and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation • APCH partners with the Cinderella Project and provides 200 prom dresses to high school students • APCH launches “Be Girlz” Project and holds 1st Annual “Girlz in the Hood Celebrate Women of Achievement” Awards Luncheon

2004 25 students graduate from APCH Alternative Education and Work Center • 32 LAUSD high school graduates and members of A Place Called Home are awarded APCH Shaheen Scholarships to attend colleges across the country • Gala for the Children honors Howard Marks, Betty Graham, Mark Wahlberg, Debrah Constance and Johnny Carson and raises over $1 million

2005 Brian Grant creates Field of Dreams for children to have grass to run and play on • Music students open for Black Eyed Peas and performed with the Isley Bros. • First original APCH CD recorded

2006 Herbalife Family Foundation joins Squid & Squash Foundation to fund construction of new Casa Herbalife Kitchen • Target remodels our Learning Center • Mo Life Foundation builds new music studio

2007 First APCH student attends Berklee Music School in Boston • A Grand Affair provides monthly Extravaganza Birthday Celebrations for youth • Parents Supporting Our Children initiative kicks off with 30 parents completing ESL classes • New independent Dance Academy introduced

2008 New APCH logo designed by Universal Pictures • Target sponsors construction of a new Alternative Education classroom • Time Warner donates computer lab • Completion of Casa Herbalife kitchen with new equipment and supplies • NBC Universal Foundation funds Bridge to the Future program for college-bound youth

2009 Homework Assistance/Tutoring program provides 50,000 hours of tutoring • APCH initiates SAT Prep Course • APCH Shaheen Scholarship Program supports 58 APCH youth to attend college • APCH serves 60,000 hot meals and distributes 5,000 bags of groceries • Our High School students produce live webcast cooking show • APCH initiates new volunteerism component for members • Jonathan Zeichner appointed new Executive Director

2010 We build a new organic fruit and vegetable garden and launch a Garden to Table program • LA84 Foundation supports us in restoring sports leagues for APCH youth • Our band, 29 LIVE, performs at City Hall for Ozomatli Day • The Ahmanson Foundation funds an agency-wide Technology Upgrade • We launch a Digital Media program, including filmmaking, graphics and audio production • The Herbalife Family Foundation supports our kitchen in eliminating disposable plates and cups and replacing them with sustainable tableware • With the help of Warner Bros. Entertainment, we launch a Family Movie Night series, offering safe, wholesome nights out for South Central families • We establish a Parent Partnership Circle, inviting parents to have a stronger voice at APCH • Our Cinderella Project provides prom and graduation dresses and accessories for nearly 600 high school juniors and seniors • We host more than 800 volunteers, who give thousands of hours for tutoring, beautification, and events • Cable Cares and Big Sunday volunteer initiatives kick off Part 1 of an agency makeover by painting, repairing and renovating throughout

2011 We serve more than 1,000 unique members over the year • We start a new Vocational Development Program, with a pilot partnership at Patina • Our APCH Shaheen Scholarship Program exceeds 150 students since the program began • Music Department produces the original CD, Finding Our Way Home • Art Department starts a new social enterprise with members designing and silk screening shirts, canvas bags and art cards • Cinderella Project provides 928 girls with new outfits for prom and graduation • Summer Session takes members on a record 84 field trips • We convene our first Stakeholder Circle, inviting youth, parents, volunteers and staff to brainstorm about ways to make APCH even stronger and more responsive to community needs • Our Adopt-a-Family program helps 10 families every week with food and household items, and we adopt more than 100 families for in depth support for the holidays • We break ground on a Renovation to include new sidewalks, landscaping and an athletics field upgrade -• We add a 3rd vehicle to our Safe Passage Fleet • We began a Financial Literacy class for teens • We began a Listening Lounge for teens interested in the music business as a profession

2012 Attendance is steady at 300+ every day and up to 400 in the summer • We add a Pathways Counselor for teen case management and resource development • The APCH Shaheen Scholarship sends 70 students to college • We add a 3rd counselor to our Counseling Department • We add 5,000 square feet of program and office space in a warehouse across the street • We add academic and social assessment surveys to our admissions procedure • Our band and dancers open for Diana Ross at the Nokia Theater • We add soccer to our basketball and football program • We add Prince Charming and self-improvement workshops to our Cinderella Project • We paint a new mural • We add a digital photography class • Our members’ artwork and photography is shown in a professional gallery • We receive the “Outstanding Partnership Award” from Berklee College of Music and send our 25th student there for training • We commence the “Preparing Achievers for Tomorrow” partnership with the California Community Foundation • We serve more than 1,000 dinners and distribute more than 10,000 pounds of groceries at our Community Thanksgiving Celebration

2013 We install skylights and upgrade the bathrooms in our main building • We start a satellite Neighborhood Garden Program • We design and begin building a new Bridge to the Future Teen Center and a Performing Arts and Gallery space in our warehouse • We begin a partnership with the JiveLive New Year’s Race • We launch our new LIFE Mentoring Program • Artist David Choe paints a mural with our students •

2014 Goodyear Blimp flies over South Central LA with Ice Cube to raise $25,000 for APCH • Nutrition and Urban Agriculture Program expands to add LAPD Garden Partnership and Food for Families • 74 APCH Shaheen College Scholarships awarded • Launch of a STEAM Program • Form the Central Avenue Historic District to include local property owners in neighborhood transformation • LA Galaxy builds new soccer field for APCH • America’s Tire funds school bus for expanded Safe Passage Program • Volleyball added as fourth sport in our South Central Sports League • Launch of the APCH Alumni Association • Jonathan Zeichner receives Megan J. Carter Leadership Award • Member retention reaches all-time high of 93% • We distribute record-breaking 10,000 toys for the holidays • We add 7 new members to the board to reach membership of 25 for the first time • Implement Parent Nutrition & Cooking Classes • Receive a $1 million gift from Faith Strong • Saturday programming expands to include advanced Dance, Music and Art • Respect Empathy Accountability Courage Hope (REACH) evaluations implemented • Retention rate for APCH College Scholars reaches 85% • APCH co-hosts Berklee City Music Network National Conference • Our Leadership Council reaches membership goal of 21 • We design Phase 1 of a 2 Phase Capital Expansion to respond to a waiting list of 500+ • WM Keck and Ahmanson Foundation each grant $200,000 (total $400,000) for Capital Campaign Phase 1

2015  Added Teens Just Dinner Program • LA Cook Out Community Clean Up w/ APCH, LAPD, CD9 • APCH Dance Company performed at Herbalife Foundation Emerald City Ball at LA Live • South Central Sports League Expansion • Dance Company commenced intergenerational partnerships – performed at Windsor Garden Convalescence Home & Inglewood Health Care Center • Held first ever two-day All Girls Elite Basketball Clinic • APCH Health & Garden Expo • Ving Rhames at BIG Sunday Event • GirlPower – Jane the Virgin cast honored • Shaheen Scholars – 21 New, 60 returns, 10 graduates • APCH Bloom Basket – CSA Summer Teen Internship • APCH Alumni Reunion – Old Skool vs New Skool Basketball • Back to School – 1127 community members served • Groundbreaking APCH Annex & Teen Center • Thanksgiving – 572 Turkeys & 580 bags groceries • Thanksgiving 1000 community members served • Accelerated Music Program (AMP) Winter Recital • Three teens attended Berklee City Music Summit & MYDA Conference in NYC • Received 21st Century Solutions Grant $100,000 • SAIRA Hospitality Vocation Training for Teens • Create:Fixate Art Exhibition • Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating for the 4th Consecutive Year • APCH Newton Police Station Community Garden is one year old! • Phase IV of APCH Newton Division Community Garden open • First member graduates from Culinary Training Program at St Joseph Center in Venice • Kitchen renovation completed – fully functioning commercial kitchen • Four APCH members in Boston at Berklee College of Music • Marylu awarded 2015 Gates Millennium Scholarship • 55 APCH AWEC Students graduated this 2014/2015 school year • Dr Yvonne Styles received SHERO Award • House of Blues Music Forward Foundation performance

 

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