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Clubs Not Crime: Getting Vermont Square Youth Involved in Their Community

LA's Promise and Manual Arts make college dreams reality
In just a few years, college acceptance rates have doubled at Manual Arts Senior High School, just one of many improvements since LA's Promise became a helping hand.
The Ghetto Grows Up
The ever-changing South L.A. neighborhood builds a new image, making the transition from profound crime to nascent renown with continual investment from USC.
Community Centrality at the Circulation Desk
From free Internet to family-oriented programs, patrons of all ages and librarians consider the Vermont Square Branch Library to be a valuable and central resource for needs in their community.

By Theresa Pablos

Crime, particularly violent crime, has dipped in Los Angeles over the past 10 years. This can be attributed to new laws, but it can also be attributed to a rise in prevention programs for kids and teenagers living in the city.

Gang and crime prevention programs, in essence, try to improve youth's self-concept – how they feel about themselves, their family, and their neighborhood. Youth who tend to join gangs usually do not have many friends, give in easily to peer pressure and have little interest in academics, which all contribute to a low self-concept.

However, research shows that kids and teenagers who get involved in after-school programs have a higher self-concept, and, consequently, are less likely to form destructive habits such as doing drugs, joining a gang or committing a crime.

After-school programs give students a chance to make friends, have a mentor, exhibit leadership and explore a passion all within a safe environment. They can stimulate student interest in a subject matter and have lasting positive effects, especially on those students who live high-crime neighborhoods like Vermont Square.

With crime during the school week occurring mainly between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and peaking between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., it is all the more pertinent that after-shcool programs keep kids invested in productive activities and off the streets.

With money for public education waning in California, despite the recent tax hike, a few involved teachers and local organizations have stepped up their game to give youth an opportunity to get involved outside of the classroom.

Click on the links to explore ways that students are getting involved in Vermont Square.

L.A. Arist Inspires the Next Generation | A high school teacher and documentary filmmaker has a website that gives youth the power to share their art.

Woodcraft Rangers | One of the after-school organizations at Manual Arts High School has nothing to do with carving wood but everything to do with molding lives.

Learn more about crime prevention through the Prezi below. You have two options: use the arrows at the bottom to scroll through the presentation or use your mouse to navigate on your own.