From Skid Row, Para Los Niños Is Giving Children a Path to Their Fullest Potential

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022
We believe that all children, youth, and families should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. No one should be held back based on their income, immigration status, home language, or zip code.

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). 

In keeping with our mission from over 40 years ago, our model – of early-education, TK-8th grade education, youth workforce services, and family and community services – provides a comprehensive, holistic approach to break the cycle of poverty and help children, youth, and families reach their full potential.

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.


Paras Los Niños

Donate now!
(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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When I walked through the school the first time and saw how focused all the children were, I was really impressed. When PLN does food bag distributions and all the outreach programs for families – they’re realizing children don’t live in a vacuum. You need to help children for the whole 24 hours. I love that PLN approaches it that way. These enlightened children will each help more children, and they will grow up to help even more. We can snowball caring about ourselves and others and being respectful of our world.
Aviva Weiner
Para Los Niños Donor since 1984,
Volunteer, Futuro Family Member

Help the Children and Families on Skid Row Survive and Thrive

Children and families in the most under-resourced areas of Los Angeles. 

$10,000 – Covers one year of mental health support for a foster youth working on their future career

$5,000 – Supplies diapers and wipes for PLN preschoolers across seven sites for three months

$1,000 – Provides headphones for a class of middle school students to focus while testing and learning 

$500 – Provides shoes and clothing for children experiencing homelessness

Key Supporters

Ballmer Group
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation
Caruso Family Foundation
The Carol and James Collins
The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
Holly and Albert Baril
Diane and Dorothy Brooks
Andrea and Blake Brown
Madeleine Heil
and Sean Petersen
The Kaplan Family Fund
Nickelodeon Studios
Rhino Entertainment
Walter Parkes and Laurie
MacDonald Charitable