Forward Promise Innovation Grantee

Community Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment

Youth, Power, Progress

Community Coalition develops young leaders, engages parents and boosts academic achievement. It helps to transform the social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles by engaging thousands of residents in the development of public policies that reduce addiction, crime, violence, and poverty. This project seeks to replicate its approach at Dorsey High School after having effectively helped students of color succeed at John C. Fremont High School by implementing comprehensive mental wellness programming, a career academy, and a dropout prevention program. 

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A Brighter Future for Community Coalition

A Brighter Future for Community Coalition

Community Coalition president and CEO Marqueece Harris-Dawson was recently featured in the Los Angeles Wave. The article applauds the Community Coalition for forging a better quality of life for local black and Latinos residents and for being a progressive game-changer.

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Damien Valentine, student leader

Damien Valentine, a junior at Manuel Arts High School, has a saying about Community Coalition: “It’s not something you volunteer for. It's a way of life.” Valentine started participating in Community Coalition’s youth leadership program about a year ago. In that short time, Valentine became a leader for a citywide campaign to end unfair suspension policies in Los Angeles public schools, also known as “willful defiance” suspensions. Valentine, who had been suspended six times by the 9th grade, knew that the policy disproportionately targeted African American and Latino males and pushed students out of school. In May, he and hundreds of others won a major victory when the school district agreed to eliminate willful defiance suspensions and replace them with more effective discipline methods that helped students change their behavior while staying in school. Before Community Coalition, Valentine said he never thought of himself as a leader. He never imagined that he would speak in front of hundreds of people, or to elected officials, or to reporters. In fact, he never thought anyone would even care about what he had to say. Now, with the help of Community Coalition, he knows that his story is important. He is working hard to complete his high school degree, and he hopes to attend college at USC.  

Read Damien's story