Forever Changing Children’s Lives

By Giving List Staff   |   October 12, 2021

In 1979, an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times depicting how unsupervised children growing up on Skid Row were playing in hallways of hotels and on streets with broken glass. When social worker Tanya Tull read the story, she and a small circle of friends raised $5,000 to establish a safe space for children to “just be a kid” while their parents were laboring in the nearby garment or flower district.

The center became the inaugural project of Para Los Niños (PLN), which over four decades later continues to provide a safety net for Los Angeles County’s most at-risk children, families, and youth. 

“It was a safe space for kids to be kids; to grow up and have positive experiences and support,” says Drew Furedi, the nonprofit’s president and CEO. “We quickly became a leader in this field and today are proud to be the only provider of mental health for children on Skid Row.”

Today, the organization continues to operate that original site and has added sixteen locations across Los Angeles County. PLN proudly serves over 6,000 children, youth, and families across 200 zip codes including a primary, elementary, and middle school, seven early education centers, as well as several facilities in MacArthur Park, Hollywood, Burbank, Cypress, and Skid Row. 

Para Los Niños partners with Head Start and Early Head Start, programs of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, to provide comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families starting as young as six weeks old. 

Additionally, PLN partners with the city of Los Angeles for community groups like Best Start and youth support. “We work with children as young as six weeks old, through their first years in college. For our youth aged 14 to 24, our staff provides strong relationships to help them navigate their academic and career goals. This program – through a partnership with the Mayor’s office and the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development – connects youth with internships, education, and training, plus case management helping youth get on track and stay on track.” 

The internship program currently provides more than 500 paid placements at different businesses and organizations within Los Angeles via partnerships with corporations like Bank of America and Grifols, a European biotechnology firm with offices near California State University, Los Angeles.

What truly makes Para Los Niños unique though is the integrated support – all programs and schools incorporate social-emotional skills and mental health care in their curriculum and approach. “We started working with mental health professionals and social workers to partner with families in need and share resources so they can reach their goals – we strongly believe in supporting children within the context of their family and community, so we incorporate families and communities in our work,” Furedi says.

The families served by Para Los Niños constitute L.A.’s most economically and socially vulnerable. Ninety-seven percent are Latino, with incomes less than $20,000 per year, and less than half have more than a high school education.

One alumna of the organization’s very first early education classes, Rachel, credits PLN for giving her the foundation to succeed. 

“Growing up on Skid Row, I never knew I was poor,” says Rachel Galdamez. “If you ate once a day that was a good day. All our food came from soup kitchens. For me that was just how things were.”

After being introduced to Para Los Niños, everything changed for Galdamez, a mother of three who now enjoys a full-time job and two houses. 

“For me, Para Los Niños was my second home,” she says. “I learned how to ride a bike, play board games, how to read, how to create and how to trust. That was 40 years ago. It was the beginning of something that was going to change my life forever.”

 

Paras Los Niños

Donate now!

MATCHING CHALLENGE

Tina and Rick Caruso will match all gifts up to $50,000 through the end of 2021.

Mission

We believe in the children, youth, and families we serve. Our model fosters pathways to success through excellence in education, powerful families, and strong communities for children and youth to thrive.

www.paralosninos.org
(646) 729-6358
(213) 250-4800 ext. 505
Vice President, External Affairs: Dan Nieman

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

Since day one, Para Los Niños has welcomed me with open arms and provided me with guidance and a support system to fall back on. They have become a staple in ensuring I strive academically and professionally. Guiding me to countless opportunities that allow me to financially support myself and my family. Their support eased my college application process and assured me that if I took all the necessary steps, I could be the first in my family to attend a university. Now as a first-generation college student, and Para Los Niños employee, PLN has become family and I am so grateful.
Alma Canales
Instructional Assistant at Para Los Niños Gratts Primary Center,
Youth Workforce Services Alumna

Lift Up L.A.’s Vulnerable Children and Families

For over 40 years, Para Los Niños has provided a crucial safety net for the most vulnerable families in Los Angeles County.

As an integrated service organization, PLN brings together education, early intervention, mental health, public health, community engagement, and leadership development to serve the whole child, whole family, and communities in which families reside. 

Every dollar goes a mile to make it all happen for the over 6,000 served each year across 200 zip codes. Donate today and double your impact: Tina and Rick Caruso will match all gifts up to $50,000 through the end of 2021 – you can be the difference in advancing the opportunity for thousands of children, youth, and families to thrive.

To donate or volunteer your time, please visit paralosninos.org.

Key Supporters

The Ahmanson Foundation
Albertsons, Inc.
The Ballmer Group Philanthropy
Andrea and Blake Brown
The Capital Group Companies
Charitable Foundation
The Carol and James Collins Foundation
Ann Daly and John Gustafson
Barbara and Roy March
Adria and Pedro Martí
Netflix
Nickelodeon Studios
Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald
Charitable Foundation
Rhino Entertainment
Ann and Robert Ronus
The Rose Hills Foundation
The Sam Simon Charitable Giving Foundation
Steinmetz Foundation
Kira Snyder and Allen Blue
Weingart Foundation
Cindy and Jake Winebaum