SAVE THE WATTS COMMUNITY CENTER
Unlocking Imperial Dreams for the Youth in Imperial Courts
The zip code you are born into should not determine your fate.
Yet, IF WE DO NOT ACT NOW, the voices of children across Watts, CA will never be heard and their dreams will never be given a fair chance.
Kamari, a 6 year old girl from Watts, wants to be a mom, a dancer and a doctor. Yet sometimes it seems as if all the forces in her world are working against her dreams. Gang strife, a struggling school system, and rising poverty rates are bearing down on the children of Watts. Here, fewer than 2.9% of people earn a college degree. By no choice of her own, Kamari was born into one of the most challenging neighborhoods in the United States.
Poverty not only robs people of dignity, hope and peace but also is the thief of their dreams.
What if, together, we could build a new space that would give her the tools necessary to make her dreams come true? An education empowerment center that would create hope, opportunity and self-confidence.
We can change the story of one of the most underserved areas of America. We can redefine a zip code and breathe hope into the dreams of youth in Watts by simply investing in children like Kamari.
But time is running out.
Due to nationwide budget cuts, the Imperial Courts community in Watts is on the brink of losing all of the city-funded programs and their entire Community Center by January 2018, unless a solution is provided.
For years, this space has been a critical safe-haven for youth and families in the Projects that traditionally has been known as the epicenter of the Bloods and Crips Gangs. Residents of the Housing Projects will tell you that this Community Center provides a safe place for them to learn, alleviate stress through athletics, and build healthy relationships with one another. Talk to a local police officer and you'll likely get the same story. Reports of crime and violence in the area have been reduced dramatically since the Community Center opened its doors.
If it weren't for this Community Center, the After School Tutoring would cease to exist, the Music Programs would be no more, the Sports Leagues that create healthy interactions across dividing gang lines would disappear, and the Healthy Food Initiatives would not have access into these streets any more.
For the past 10+ years, Red Eye, our Los Angeles based non-profit, has created a strong presence of support and investment through a weekly Youth Mentoring program in the Imperial Courts Housing Projects of Watts, CA. We have had the privilege of watching many of these children grow up. Whether we are helping them with homework, organizing a Back-to-School Backpack Giveaway, helping them rent an outfit for prom, coaching their sports team, providing some healthy food for their family or simply bringing a listening ear and a caring heart...for over 10 years we have weekly provided even a fraction of the stability and consistency that these familiies deserve.
We are committed to creating a state-of-the-art facility where the youth, young adults and families in Imperial Courts can discover their purpose, while developing their talents with the help of top industry and business professionals.
The life of a child in the housing projects of South Central LA is challenging in ways many of us will never understand. When we first committed to Imperial Courts and the beloved kids we mentor, we made an unbreakable promise to be there for them through thick and thin. We vowed to dedicate our hearts and time to their success and growth. We promised to always speak up when their voices would otherwise go unheard.
That time has come.
statistics about Watts:
• Watts has the lowest life expectancy rate in the state of California.
• In only two square miles, there are over 7,000 gang members
• In 2010, the medium income of Watts was $27,628.
"I don't know why I was born into the neighborhood I was while they were born into the zip code they were. But what I do know is that I CAN do something. I can make a difference. I CAN change the peripheral outlook and destiny to my fellow neighbor... to a child in need.
I never want people to feel their arm has been twisted. Yet, this is talking about reality... real families... real mothers... real fathers... real sons... real daughters. If I do not act, who will? My heart bleeds for humanity. I CAN believe, hope and even talk about how every child deserves a fair chance. Yet, IF I DO NOT ACT, all of that belief, hope and talk will stay simply that for these children... an unfulfilled dream and lost potential." - Justin Mayo
We have a timely opportunity to bring hope, peace, and level the playing field for some amazing little legends. We can't do it without you. We believe one day we’re going to look back at this moment and say it was a defining moment for the youth from Watts that have gone on to change the world!
The TIME has come.
The OPPORTUNITY awaits.
Their DREAMS lie in the balance.
The CHOICE is ours.
HISTORY will be kind to us, because WE WILL WRITE IT!
- Justin Mayo (Executive Director of Red Eye) | David Hudson, Moxie Raia (Campaign Managers)
WHY 500k? Click this link to see the breakdown of costs for the new Community Empowerment Center.