The Youth Enrichment Policy Program (YEPP) is at the forefront of addressing youth and gang violence in underserved communities by inspiring social change through educational forums, applied research and public policy advocacy for organizations interested in improving the lives of youth who are affected by gang violence.
Become the LEADER of change in your community!
2013 High School Essay Contest Winners
Two Juniors from Huntington Park Win PBI Essay Contest
High school juniors Estefany Rodriguez and Maria Luiza Rivera, both from Huntington Park College-Ready Academy, were selected this week as the first and second place winners, respectively, of the Pat Brown Institute’s “What I Learned at the PBI Conference and Why My Voice is Important in Politics & Policy” essay contest.
Both students are part of this year’s cohort of participants in PBI’s Youth Enrichment Policy Project (YEPP), an extracurricular program that engages high school students in the policy development process.
“My voice is important because even though I’m just one voice, I have the power to open and influence a million minds to a variety of new possibilities, changes and ideas,” wrote Rodriguez whose essay also highlighted the ways in which the conference got her out of her “comfort zone”, allowing her to shake hands and exchange ideas with various panelists.
Meanwhile, Rivera’s essay discussed how she was unaware of redistricting even though she considers herself to be fairly informed about politics. Rivera was especially impressed with panelist Hyepin Christine Im’s discussion of the impact redistricting has had on the Korean-American community in Los Angeles.
“I [was] able to speak with [Im] personally. I was quite happy that I had the opportunity to learn about this topic because now I am a more informed citizen, and I can share this knowledge with my family and friends,” wrote Rivera. “Students can participate in politics by informing those around them about current policies and legislation that can have a major impact in their lives.”
Rodriguez’ prize is $250 in cash while Rivera will receive two tickets to Disneyland.
Estefany Rodriguez vcbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbcb Maria Luiza Rivera
PBI "Grants" Students Their Wishes
Students from the Pat Brown Institute’s Youth Enrichment Policy Project (YEPP) gathered for a weekend retreat, March 31 to April 1, at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes to present their community improvement policy projects and to vie for mini grants.
Eight groups, comprised of a mix of students from each of the five participating schools – Huntington Park Academy, Lincoln, Locke, Mendez Learning Center, and Roosevelt – presented an exciting range of projects, including: cleaning up Hollenbeck Park, encouraging proper disposal of lead batteries, promoting safe passages to schools, and reducing animal cruelty.
"The retreat was great. I had lots of fun even though everyone was all stressed about our PowerPoints and research for the presentations,” said Mendez junior Vanessa Garcia.
“Overall, it was fun – from the hiking, to the food, the snacks, the talent show, and the taping of our doors and windows. Everything was great! I fell in love with the view and the peacocks. Thanks to PBI for making it all possible!" said Garcia.
The student groups will report back on the progress of their proposals at their commencement ceremony to be held at Cal State LA in June 2012.
YEPP Students Learn to Integrate GIS Mapping into their Policy Projects
Students gathered for an all day training/work session on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at the Cal State LA campus to learn how to leaverage geographic information system (GIS) mapping to advance their policy projects. The Students who came from five high schools - Huntington Park Academy, Lincoln, Locke, Mendez Learning Center, and Roosevelt - were trained by speacialists from the Advancement Project on how to create maps using the HealthyCity.org web platform. For practice, the students enjoyed mapping their favorite taco trucks in Los Angeles.
Students also devised work rules for their own groups to ensure their operational success and worked on their project plans. They will present their policy action plans at the YEPP retreat on April 1, 2012.
First Annual High School Essay Winners
YEPP is proud to introduce the winners of our first annual high school essay contest - Melanie Barajas, a senior at Roosevelt High School and Martin Romero, a senior at Huntington Park High School. The contest invited all students who attended PBI's Annual California Policy Issues Conference to submit an essay on "What I Learned at the PBI Conference and Why It is Important to Me". Winners received free passes to Six Flags Amusement Park and will be invited as 2011 YEPP Ambassadors to future PBI events.
Read the essays by clicking on the their respective name:
Today’s YEPP is an outgrowth of PBI's heralded Gang Violence Bridging Project (GVBP). Using the themes of “Strengthening Community and Family” and “Strengthening Youth Fortitude” as guideposts, GVBP developed programs to assist at-risk youth and former gang members to aim for a stable, positive, and productive livelihood through educational opportunities and diverting potential dangerous gang activity towards healthier and violence-free behavior. From 1993-2003, the Gang Violence Bridging Project served an average of more than 650 youth and their families a year through leadership development, campus tours, mentorships, tutoring, and support.
In 2005, the project evolved into highly regarded after-school programs designed to work with at-risk and high-risk youth and their parents. . The Youth Enrichment Project (YEP) addressed youth and gang violence by establishing a "triad" of feeder schools in underrepresented communities and providing tutoring, mentoring, enrichment workshops, and modified case management for high-risk (current and potential gang members) and other at-risk students. YEP focused on fostering safe and healthy communities by providing students with structured educational and enrichment activities designed to help them develop self-esteem and conflict resolution skills.
Today, the Youth Enrichment Policy Project, YEPP combines PBI’s extensive experience with at-risk youth in vulnerable communities with PBI’s strengths as a neutral convener on important and pressing policy issues. YEPP seeks to decrease youth and gang violence by establishing a setting where community residents, stakeholders and elected officials can unite and discuss the threats that put neighborhoods at risk. Through PBI’s's unique approach of working with community based organizations, businesses, labor, and education, YEPP is able to provide safe venues for civic engagement, policy advocacy, and public education.