From Skid Row, Para Los Niños Is Giving Children a Path to Their Fullest Potential
In 1979, the Los Angeles Times published an article about the children of Skid Row. They were hardened by their environment, left to play amid broken glass.
Upon reading about the extreme deprivation these children faced, social worker Tanya Tull knew something had to change. Determined to provide resources, education, and enrichment to the most vulnerable members of Los Angeles County, Tull and friends established Para Los Niños (PLN).
Para Los Niños, meaning “for the children,” was founded with the belief that by providing children with the resources they need today, we build a stronger, more unified community tomorrow. More than 40 years later, this comprehensive nonprofit provides education and support to over 10,000 children, youth, and families each year. As the only mental health care provider to children under five on Skid Row, Para Los Niños prioritizes both children’s personal as well as academic lives.
“This is an approach that focuses on developing our students in a holistic way,” says President and CEO Drew Furedi. “It’s not just about making sure that they get A’s on their tests – it’s about making sure that they’re fed, making sure that they’re sleeping, making sure that they feel comfortable, safe, and happy.”
Through the pandemic, Para Los Niños continued to provide education for children as young as six weeks old through 8th grade, support youth through college and career building, and respond to the ever-growing need for mental health and clinical services. Additionally, beginning in March 2020, PLN took on supporting critical needs such as: internet access, technology access, and food – distributing over 1.5 million meals and thousands of laptops, tablets, and headphones for students and families to stay on track.
Rachel Galdamez was in one of the first classrooms of children at Para Los Niños, but she is just one of tens of thousands who found encouragement and support there. “Growing up on Skid Row, I didn’t know people ate three times a day,” explains Galdamez. “Coming to Para Los Niños, I learned to ride a bike, to play board games, how to read, and how to trust. Everything changed.”
The Para Los Niños team attributes this success to their integration of services. The nonprofit brings together professionals from different sectors; working with social workers, teachers, and therapists to give vulnerable students and communities the support they need. Because of this, Para Los Niños is not just a center for children to learn, it is a center for families to build on their strengths and thrive – physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally.
More than 42 years after its start, Para Los Niños has proven again and again that support and empathy not only produce successful students but also healthy, happy citizens.
(213) 250-4800 ext. 505
Vice President, External Affairs: Dan Nieman
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.
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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.
I was trying to give my daughter Savannah everything I didn’t have. PLN has a comprehensive and family-centric approach. Knowing that Savannah has other nurturing caretakers there was really important for me. Para Los Niños was a great school, and they really became my family. To have consistent and high-quality childcare with nurturing teachers has been life-altering.
Give All Children a Chance to Reach Their Full Potential
Para Los Niños (PLN) was established over 42 years ago to provide a crucial safety net for the most vulnerable families in Los Angeles County. Today, 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.
Serving over 10,000 people annually across 200 zip codes, the unique work of PLN is not able to operate without the support of individuals. You can be the difference in advancing the opportunity for thousands of children, youth, and families to thrive. Make your gift today.
Join the Para Los Niños mission today and help support the next generation.
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