ABLA Co-Chair Matt Celenza Selected as One of Charity & Social Datebook’s “Altruists of the Year”

Matt Celenza C&S Datebook

One of our own, Matt Celenza, was recognized as one of Angeleno Magazine’s "Altruists of the Year." Matt, who serves as the A Better LA co-chair, was featured amongst the likes of Ryan Seacrest and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

The article, which can be found in the March issue of Charity & Social Datebook, highlights Matt’s commitment to philanthropy and how he parlays that into facilitating change in inner-city communities as a part of A Better LA. It also recognizes the profound impact A Better LA has had on the Los Angeles region over the past decade and the opportunities we create to continue to help our city move forward.

We’re excited to see Matt included and know that he is more than deserving of this great honor for all of the hard work he has dedicated to A Better LA and the Los Angeles community. Read the rest of the story at Charity & Social Datebook.

Congrats, Matt!

USC Marshall’s ‘Sport Your Stache’ Supports A Better LA

photo 2

This past weekend, USC Marshall students hosted one of the more eclectic events to benefit A Better LA. With the students challenged to raise $10,000 over 20 days, their strategy professor Carl Voigt agreed to shave his 40-year old mustache if they succeeded.

The ‘Sport Your Stache’ flash fundraiser asked donors to pledge $40—a dollar per year of their professor’s signature mustache. Not only did the business students make good on their promise, but did so in 11 days, with over 200 people contributing to the cause.

We joined them at Q’s Billiards to celebrate the ceremonial ‘stache shaving, where Professor Voigt graciously allowed the group to claim their prize. Needless to say, we are grateful to have been the benefactor of this creative campaign, and know that Professor Voigt will see a great ROI from this fun event! A big thank you to USC Marshall and Professor Voigt!

photo 1

photo 3

photo 4

Protesting 101

Protesting 101

In lieu of recents events surrounding the Ferguson proceedings in Missouri and other protests being conducted across the country, the University of Southern California facilitated a forum sponsored by Project ReMix, the Department of Public Safety, Los Angeles Police Department, and California Highway Patrol to address concerns from students and community members regarding the proper procedures of holding protests, entitled Protesting 101. A Better LA’s Executive Director, Aquil Basheer, was invited to be a panelist and answer questions from the audience as his expertise as a Professional Street Practitioner was an asset to the theme of the event. The objective for the evening was to create a venue to educate those in attendance of their rights as citizens and for all to walk away with a clearer understanding of how to curtail law enforcement's involvement when conducting protests  This interactive workshop allowed participants to learn about the history and purpose of protesting, have their questions answered by panelists, and hear from DPS, CHP and LAPD from a Law Enforcement perspective. This event demonstrates another successful collaborative approach to addressing societal concerns!

RACE’s Executive Director, Reynaldo Reaser, Invited as a Panelist for the 23rd Annual Empowerment Congress Summit

R.A.C.E’s Executive Director, Reynaldo Reaser

R.A.C.E’s Executive Director, Reynaldo Reaser

Summit Panel Presenters Addressing Audience

Summit Panel Presenters Addressing Audience

A Better LA's own Funded Partner and Founder of R.A.C.E. (Reclaiming America’s Communities through Empowerment), Reynaldo Reaser, was invited to participate as a speaker at their yearly Summit. The event was held this year at the University of Southern California this past January 17, 2015 and included acclaimed author, educator and speaker, Dr. Cornel West, as the Keynote Speaker. Reynaldo was requested to speak on the panel discussion of “Violence as a Public Health Issue: Shifting the Focus from Criminal Justice to Social Justice” and did an outstanding job of presenting during this forum. We salute you Reynaldo and R.A.C.E for the professionalism continuously displayed and for shedding light on this important community topic!

A Better LA Lends Expertise to National Council on Crime and Delinquency

Our Executive Director will be participating as an Advisor to the NCCD’s Most Current Research Team convening on the topic of "Girls and Gangs: Improving our Understanding and Ability to Respond.” The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is initiating the largest quantitative research project on gang- involved girls to date. The two-year study will look at girls’ desistance from gang affiliation and gang involvement. NCCD is examining the individual, family, and community factors involved in girls’ desistance from gangs and gang-related crime. The project has six goals:

1) Identify the role of girls in gangs and their level of participation in gangs;
2) Identify the characteristics of gangs that allow for or encourage girls’ participation; Identify what inspires girls to leave gangs;
3) Identify common methods or strategies used by girls to leave gangs;
4) Identify protective factors that facilitate gang desistance; and
5) Provide service providers with useful information on girls’ ability to leave gangs.

We will have updates to article once findings of research have concluded. You may view more information about the National Council on Crime and Delinquency on their website.