Foster Youth

Foster Youth Programs

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

When A+P’s founders decided to build a nonprofit in the South LA neighborhood of Leimert Park, they were committed to ensuring the organization contributed to the social good in the community. Upon learning that LA County has one of the highest concentrations of foster youth in the nation—moreover, that a sizable percentage of those 18,000 – 20,000 youth lived in zip codes near Leimert Park—A+P’s founders determined the nonprofit would lend its energy and resources to supporting transition-age (18-24 years old) foster youth.

Designed as a temporary solution to a child experiencing danger or neglect in the home, foster care too often becomes a long-term circumstance when a safe family reunification is not possible. The foster care system which was meant to provide care in a difficult time can itself become a source of instability and trauma, especially as foster youth face “aging out” and taking on the responsibilities of adulthood on their own. Like all of us, these young people have hopes and dreams, and they need resources and guidance on how to build sustainable, stable and healthy lives.

A+P aspires to be a space where the social aspect of art—the practice of it—puts the art into a context of action.”

—A+P co-founder Mark Bradford

Exhibition walkthrough of “Slavery, The Industrial Prison Complex” with artists Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun with First Place for Youth. 24 September 2019. Photo: Natalie Hon.

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT? HOW DOES IT WORK?

When entering the world of foster care, A+P channeled its attention to find an existing nonprofit with a proven track record, established networks, and a knowledgeable and dedicated staff to build out programming on A+P’s campus that would educate and support the needs of transition-age foster youth living in South LA. In 2016, A+P entered into a collaboration with First Place for Youth. Founded in Oakland in 1998 with a regional office in LA since 2010, First Place’s innovative My First Place™ program provides transition-age foster youth with the most basic foundation of stability – a safe place to call home — as they build the skills for independent living. Participants receive individualized support from a dedicated team as they identify and pursue education and career pathways that lead them to lasting self-sufficiency and success, which includes completing high school, pursuing a college degree or career certification, and obtaining living-wage employment. With a dedicated collaborator and a vision for impact in place on A+P’s campus in Leimert Park, A+P set out to build relationships and find unique ways to contribute.

Education is center to A+P’s vision. It lays the framework for how A+P works with First Place for Youth to help foster youth build the foundational skills they need to succeed.”

—A+P co-founder Eileen Harris Norton

First Place for Youth participates in a roundtable discussion with Tina Knowles Leimert Park, Los Angeles. 8 November 2023. Photo: Halline Overby.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

By providing a physical meeting space within its Leimert Park campus, A+P has enabled First Place to set down roots in South LA, strengthening its connections with the transition-age foster youth in the area, and allowing for an intimate working relationship between the two collaborators.

A+P is also directly helping to deepen the work of First Place by creating engaging opportunities for transition-age foster youth. This manifests into multiple programs:

We hope to catch foster youth at a turning point in their lives and provide them with tangible opportunities to positively transform their futures.”

—A+P co-founder Allan DiCastro

Roundtable Discussions

Exclusively for First Place for Youth transition-age foster youth, these events are created for participants to meet and have intimate conversations with successful individuals who come from similar backgrounds and experiences.

A+P Scholars

A $100,000 educational scholarship fund awarded to select First Place transition-age foster youth in pursuit of their career or educational goals. The funds go towards supplies, technological tools, and cover fees for degree certifications.

Offsite Job Tours

First Place’s transition-age foster youth visit local businesses for a behind-the-scenes view of their operations. Young adults meet with select staff and network. Recent offsite tours included visits to Apple Music Studios and SnapChat.

Job Shadowing Apprenticeship Program

This is a paid, three week job shadowing program designed to expose First Place’s transition-age foster youth to a wide range of exhibitions and administrative work at A+P. Interns receive Adobe Creative Cloud Suite training, research the contemporary art exhibitions on view in Leimert Park, and work with A+P’s Gallery Guide to greet visitors. Interns also visit local galleries and museums to further their exposure to the nonprofit art world, meeting with skilled professionals to learn about their education, communications, and curatorial roles.

Job and Resource Fairs

A+P hosts an annual job and resource fair for First Place’s transition-age foster youth. Local businesses, colleges and universities are invited to provide employment and educational opportunities to young adults seeking resources.

These A+P initiatives are helping to close the opportunity gap for foster youth in South LA by enriching the services and resources available to First Place’s participants. A+P seeks to make full use of its nonprofit platform to spread awareness of foster youth’s needs to the art world and greater public.

So How Can you help?

Know a transition-age foster youth who is thinking about their next steps and could benefit from intensive support and guidance?

Foster Youth FAQ

  • Can I volunteer for A+P’s foster youth program?

    Art + Practice is not currently accepting any applications for volunteers within our foster youth program. If interested in volunteering with foster youth, check out CASA Los Angeles for more information about how to support foster youth in Los Angeles.

  • How many transition-age foster youth does A+P and First Place currently support in South Los Angeles?

    Art + Practice and First Place for Youth support between 85-100 youth in South Los Angeles at a given time. Each young adult receives safe, stable housing from First Place for Youth.

  • How do transition-age foster youth learn about First Place for Youth?

    Transition-age foster youth typically hear about First Place for Youth through their social worker, one of First Place’s partner organizations, or word of mouth through their friends and other personal connections.

    While prospective participants are often referred by youth shelters, social workers, group homes, foster families, or schools, First Place for Youth does not require formal referrals. Phone calls and walk-ins are always welcome.