|Mar Vista Family Center (MVFC) is located in a low-income,
densely populated area of Los Angeles, near the only federal
housing project in West Los Angeles. The local residents are
affected by violence, poverty and lack of education. Each year
nearly 1,000 children, teens and adults of predominantly
Hispanic origin benefit from MVFC’s programs. Some of the many
positive outcomes are shown below.
Since its inception in 1992, MVFC’s By Youth For Youth Program has offered counseling and college preparation work to over 600 middle and high school students, who, without assistance, are often in danger of failing to graduate. 81% of BYFY graduates enroll in post-secondary institutions and 53% graduate in four years. 95% of those BYFY graduates who have been enrolled with MVFC since preschool graduate high school and go on to college.
Reliance on Government Assistance
At the time of enrollment, virtually all MVFC families receive government assistance. MVFC helps parents take responsibility for their families and provides training and referrals to help them achieve independence. Between 1995 and 2005, 64% of MVFC families became independent of all forms of government assistance.
The BYFY Program has given area youth the knowledge and support to avoid high-risk, negative behaviors that lead to trouble with the police and courts. Incarceration for serious crimes is almost non-existent among BYFY graduates. MVFC also offers support to extremely high-risk youth in the area, notably gang members. Of the over 100 such youth that MVFC has assisted, incarceration is approximately 16%, far lower than for gang youth not receiving guidance.
Nearly 100 MVFC parents have completed UCLA Extension courses in Early Childhood Education and have received preschool teacher credentials. Many are now working at local preschools, including MVFC’s preschool. Regularly scheduled community-run street clean-ups and festivals have helped to noticeably decrease gang activity. Eighty residents have received Community Emergency Response Team training (CERT).