Life Skills for Youths in South Central Los Angeles Housing Developments

Community-based adolescent substance abuse prevention program

The South Central Prevention Coalition (SCPC) created a series of substance abuse prevention programs for youth living in 12 low- to moderate-income housing developments in south central Los Angeles.

The programs were designed to:

  • Improve academic skills.
  • Instill leadership skills through mentoring.
  • Develop teen peer counselors to discuss substance abuse and violence with younger youth.

Key Results

  • Some 150 youth enrolled in the after-school program during the RWJF funding period. This represents approximately 50 percent of all youth targeted in the housing developments.

  • Eleven high school students mentored 40 middle school students in developing the idea of teamwork and in promoting cooperative attitudes. Mentoring took place in leadership camps and a sports camp. The tutoring program was not implemented because academic assessments of students could not be completed before the grant ended.

  • Fifteen adults and 10 high school youth participated in a 12-week program that trained the participants to serve as community advocates for an anti-tobacco campaign based in the housing developments. The training program culminated with an event entitled A Day of Awareness and Prevention, in which community leaders and organizations participated.

  • Ten high school leaders held monthly peer counseling classes for about 30 younger children on the subjects of anger management, tobacco use, and management of emotions.