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New Los Angeles County Department aims to transform youth justice

Thousands of kids are arrested in LA County annually- evidence shows their lives are disrupted by even 1st time contact with justice system

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Youth offenders (Image courtesy of The Children’s Defense Fund)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County, guided by its Board of Supervisors’ commitment to reimagining the juvenile justice system, took a major leap forward this week as a new Department of Youth Development (DYD) officially launched.

While the nation as a whole has been shifting toward a model of rehabilitation versus punishment, the County’s new Department of Youth Development goes a step further, with a goal of transforming the way County systems treat youth and invest in their development, well-being and safety.

“Youth justice is not simply about making sure we provide equitable alternatives to arrest and system involvement,” said Vincent Holmes, the Department of Youth Development’s newly named Interim Director. “It also means ensuring that every young person in LA County has access to youth development and care-first opportunities they deserve.”

“Evidence shows that their lives are disrupted by even first-time contact with the justice system and that negative outcomes increase exponentially with deeper system involvement”

While previous reforms and interventions have reduced the number of young people involved in the justice system, with fewer than 450 youth in County juvenile halls and camps, thousands of children are arrested or cited in LA County annually. Evidence shows that their lives are disrupted by even first-time contact with the justice system and that negative outcomes increase exponentially with deeper system involvement.

Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, who chairs the Board of Supervisors, sees the Department of Youth Development’s mission as a necessary step towards improving community safety and equity in LA County.

“This department will further extend the County’s ability to meaningfully invest in and improve the lives of young people who are counting on us to do so. Our Black and Brown youth continue to be disproportionately represented in our justice system that isn’t truly serving them. The Department of Youth Development is one of the tools we have to change this,” she said. “Intentionally working with youth and equipping them with the skills and resources to succeed is how we fulfill our goal as a County of shifting from failed systems built solely on punishment to proven solutions for youth development that strengthen the overall vitality and safety of our communities.”

Black youth and other youth of color are increasingly and disproportionately impacted by the negative effects of justice system contact at every stage.

Roughly 80% of arrests or citations of minors are for alleged “status offenses,” like violating curfew, or involve alleged non-serious, non-violent misdemeanors or felonies that are legally eligible for referral to community-based diversion and development services that better support positive outcomes for both youth and community safety.

The Department of Youth Development will centralize the County’s response to this miscarriage of justice, guided by research on equity and adolescent development and in collaboration with young people with lived experience and other County partners.

“We say our youth are our future, so we must protect their future, in collaboration with their family and support systems, in a care-first environment that prioritizes their well-being and supports their growth instead of penalizing them as they progress into adulthood,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “The establishment of the County’s Department of Youth Development is the commitment we are making to not only their future but also the County’s future.”

Holmes brings over 32 years of public sector experience with the County and the Los Angeles Superior Court, including extensive work in building innovative programs serving justice-involved populations through the ATI Incubation Academy, Measure J/Care First Community Investment (CFCI), the Gang Violence Reduction Project and My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, among others. Since 2017, he has helped advance the collaborative planning and design of the County’s innovative Youth Diversion and Development model upon which the new Department of Youth Development will build. He has built relationships with justice system partners and is well respected by local leaders, community and youth who will be needed to support the department’s transformative youth development agenda.

As it launches, the Department of Youth Development also has the advantage of leveraging work by the County’s Youth Justice Reimagined initiative. Holmes is excited to continue to work alongside youth advocates with lived experience who helped inspire the Board’s bold vision of youth justice.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said the work is innovative, but well grounded in research.

“Historically, youth justice systems have emphasized incarceration which often means just giving up on youth instead of investing in prevention, rehabilitation and second chances.  The County is following the successful example of other local jurisdictions like San Francisco, Houston and St. Paul in being bold and innovative—thinking outside the box in creating and reforming youth justice,” she said. “The Department of Youth Development is a great step forward for reimagining LA County’s criminal justice system because we know and data shows that we have more success in helping young people thrive as well as improving community safety by providing rehabilitative, health-focused and care-first programming.”

Offering early and equitable access to resources that assist young people as they grow and develop can change the trajectory of their lives. Expanding youth diversion and development programs to continue to equitably reduce youth justice system involvement, building additional capacity for youth centers and youth development, and supporting credible messengers in schools and other youth-serving systems are just some of the key elements of the Department of Youth Development’s initial vision.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, 2022

“Supporting our youth means reaching them with resources to help them thrive before they are ever at risk of coming in contact with the justice system, from mental health services to good-paying jobs when the time is right,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “With this new department, we’re stepping up our commitment to make those resources available to all young people, in every neighborhood.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger emphasized the importance of other County departments’ support of this work.

“We must help the youth in our system realize their full potential so they can be successfully integrated into our workplaces and communities,” she said. “In order to holistically meet the needs of justice-involved youth, all our County departments must work together to equip them with every tool to succeed physically, academically, mentally and emotionally. As Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza, our Executive Director of Racial Equity, has emphasized time and time again, it’s crucial that we engage with our youth as soon as possible and set them on the best path forward to thrive.”

This historic moment is possible thanks to the incredible vision and tireless efforts of a wide range of partners, including youth leaders like Jacob Jackson.

“It is important to center youth who are impacted through every portion of the process, making young people’s health and wellness the department’s core values,” Jackson said. “Don’t be scared of change. The Department of Youth Development should be the home and support that some folks currently lack whether they’re homeless, in foster care, incarcerated or system impacted.”

Moving forward, the Department of Youth Development hopes to engage an even larger group of young people in shaping the strategy of the department through community convenings and other interactions.

Anyone interested in following the Department of Youth Development’s life-changing work can sign up for updates at dyd.lacounty.gov

Links to additional resources:
Click here for more about DYD’s history and here for the Youth Justice Reimagined report.

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Los Angeles County

Project Angel Food’s Lead With Love 3 telethon pulls in a new record

The evening was a triumph, as the broadcast became the highest grossing night in the telethon’s three-year history

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Eric McCormack & Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (Photo by Philip Faraone/Getty Images for Project Angel Food)

LOS ANGELES – The Saturday telethon hosted by KTLA 5 to benefit the Hollywood based charity Project Angel Food was a massive success according to its organizers pulling in $1,172,970.00 which exceeded the event’s sponsored by City National Bank goal by 17%.

KTLA 5 and Project Angel Food noted the evening was a triumph, as the broadcast became the highest grossing night in the telethon’s three-year history. Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub reflected, “With inflation and rising food insecurity among L.A.’s critically ill population, it is so encouraging to see Los Angeles step up to help us rise to the challenge.”

Project Angel Food feeds critically ill men, women, and children in Los Angeles County. The organization delivers Medically Tailored Meals, with care and compassion, directly to the client’s homes. More than 2,500 vulnerable Angelenos are fed daily, with over 1.2 million meals delivered each year.

Oprah Winfrey opened the show, Richard Gere made a rare television appearance, and Lori Loughlin made her first non-acting television appearance in more than three-and-a-half-years.  The night was filled with fan favorites, celebrity messages, an All-Star Phone Bank of celebrities taking donor calls, and musical performances.

Will & Grace star Eric McCormack and KTLA Morning News anchor Jessica Holmes returned to host the annual televised event and were joined by Loni Love and Alec Mapa who also returned as dynamic co-hosts. 

(L-R) Loni Love, Pauley Perrette, Alec Mapa, Eric McCormack, Jessica Holmes, Debbie Gibson, Mary-Margaret Humes, Michelle Visage, Gregory Zarian, Lawrence Zarian, Charo, and Melissa Peterman onstage during Project Angel Food’s Lead with Love 3 – a Fundraising Special on KTLA on July 23, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Project Angel Food)”

Highlights included:

  • Lori Loughlin, who has volunteered with Project Angel Food since January 2021, appearing a “day in the life of a Project Angel Food volunteer” package in which she said of the organization, “It is a community, it is a family, and all the people that work here are so wonderful. They have welcomed me with such open arms at a time when I was feeling particularly down and broken. That’s how I found a home here, and that’s what I feel like they did for me, and that’s why I’m so proud to be here and working with this organization, because they really do care. It’s really a community.”
  • Oprah Winfrey’s stirring opening, kicking off the show with this message: “When we find a way to serve other people, we see how compassion and empathy can really make a lasting, positive impact by showing up for somebody else.”   
  • Richard Gere announcing a $75,000 matching grant from the Herb Ritts Foundation, saying, “Herb was one of my dearest, closest friends and when he passed away in 2002, from complications from HIV/AIDS, it was completely devastating for all of us. And he wanted his foundation to continue the work he had been doing helping people.”
  • A hysterical Will & Grace reunion in which Eric McCormack’s Will & Grace co-star Sean Hayes feigned audio issues and insulted McCormack’s gray hair and beard.
  • A Charlie’s Angels reunion with Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd.
  • Four “Mystery Guests” included Cybill Shepherd, who left McCormack flabbergasted with revealing she knew Elvis Presley, “in the Biblical way,” Charo, 13-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Kahn, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who discussed delivering meals with Project Angel Food.
  • The television debut of Debbie Gibson’s new song “Cheers” from her upcoming Christmas album which closed the show, and Taylor Dayne’s live performance of “I’ll Be Your Shelter.”
  • Loni Love “flipping her wig” when Rock ‘N Roll legend Stevie Nicks called in a surprise $25,000 donation.
  • Presenting sponsor City National Bank’s Linda Duncombe, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing, Digital and Product Officer, delivering a $100,000 check to McCormack, Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub, and Holmes.
  • Pauley Perrette, who was on hand to introduce a musical performance, bringing with her a $9,000 donation.

Executive produced by television veteran, Brad Bessey, along with Michael Levitt, Ayoub, KTLA’s Marcus Smith and Jacob Burch, and Mark McBride, sponsorships, the live two-hour fundraising special was jam-packed with surprises, energy and fun. Bessey says, “Over dinner with Eric several months ago, he mentioned in passing he would love our show to have more of a ‘variety feel’ this year, so we ran with it. I think we delivered with humor and heart.” 

The All-Star Phone Bank, emceed by Mapa, created the most unpredictable and entertaining segments of the night with Melissa Peterman, Michelle Visage, Kim Coles, Jai Rodriguez, Beth Hall, Mary-Margaret Humes, Lawrence Zarian, and Gregory Zarian talking to donors throughout the night and creating comedy chaos along the way.

In addition to Dayne and Gibson’s live performances, musical highlights included Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo performing “We Belong,” Sarah McLachlan performing, “I Will Remember You,” Five for Fighting performing, “World,” and Josh Groban performing, “Angels.”

Celebrity messages flooded in from supporters Bryce Dallas Howard, Sharon Stone, Whoopi Goldberg, Eugene Levy, Gloria Estefan, Karamo, Holland Taylor, Henry Winkler, Fran Drescher, Tyler Henry, Danny Pino, Cheryl Burke, Rachel Lindsay, Ross Mathews, and Jonathan Del Arco.

Donations are still being accepted for LEAD WITH LOVE 3, at angelfood.org/love.

To learn more about Project Angel Food, please visit www.angelfood.org.

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Los Angeles County

KTLA & Project Angel Food kick off 3rd Lead with Love telethon Saturday

The stars will be out on Saturday night for ‘Lead with Love 3,’ sponsored by City National Bank, & airs live on KTLA 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.

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'Lead with Love 2' Courtesy of KTLA & Project Angel Food

LOS ANGELES – The annual telethon in support of Project Angel Food’s vital work of feeding critically ill men, women, and children in Los Angeles County returns this Saturday, July 23. The organization prepares and delivers over one million Medically Tailored Meals each year.

The telethon, which premiered as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation and especially Southern California, has raised over $2 million for the charity. This year the stars will be out on Saturday night for ‘Lead with Love 3,’ which is sponsored by City National Bank, and which airs live on KTLA 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. including celebrities like 2022 Primetime Emmy Award nominees Sheryl Lee Ralph of “Abbot Elementary” and Henry Winkler of “Barry.” 

Janene Drafs, Vice President, and General Manager of KTLA 5, noted; “This show gets better and better every year, and we are thrilled to extend our relationship with Project Angel Food. KTLA has a 75-year tradition of being there for L.A., so providing this very special program to connect our community of viewers with Project Angel Food’s work serving the most vulnerable in our community at large is what being “L.A.’s Very Own” is all about.”

Also appearing will be Richard Gere, who will be presenting a gift from the Herb Ritts Foundation, and Oprah Winfrey, as well as music from Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and Five for Fighting, among many other talented musicians who will perform at KTLA’s studios in Hollywood.

Project Angel Food’s CEO Richard Ayoub reflected, “While this year’s show promises to be our most entertaining yet, we are in urgent need of donations to help combat the rising cost of fuel and food. Everyone is feeling the pinch at the pump or at the grocery store. But multiply that by the 2,400 people we feed every day, driving to all corners of L.A. County’s 4,700 square miles. The need is great, and we appreciate KTLA and City National Bank’s confidence in extending our telethon through at least 2024.”

More than 2,500 clients are fed daily, with over 1.2 million meals delivered each year by Project Angel Food, which has a Four-Star Charity Navigator rating and has been declared an essential service by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

To learn more about Project Angel Food visit angelfood.org.

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Los Angeles County

Equip for special needs kids stolen, Culver City police search for thieves

The stolen equipment was going to be used at a summer camp for kids with special needs says the owner of Everything Counts for Kids

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Screenshot/YouTube

CULVER CITY, Ca. – ( KABC ) A U-Haul rental truck that contained gymnastics equipment for special needs kids was broken into on June 30th and now Culver City Police Department detectives are searching for the preparators who were recorded committing the crime on a nearby surveillance video system.

According to the co-owner of Everything Counts for Kids (EC Kids), a local fitness & nutrition company with a focused speciality on teaching kids good fitness and nutritional habits, the stolen equipment was going to be used at a summer camp for kids with special needs.

“By taking those things, you’ve taken some of their best days away from them, because it hurts us in our hearts to watch the kids miss the stuff that they took,” Debbie Moye told KABC 7 Los Angeles reporter Leo Stallworth on Friday.

Moye shared surveillance video of the theft with KABC 7 Eyewitness News, which clearly showed the suspects breaking in. There were three suspects in total.

The third suspect is seen driving away in an SUV. In one portion of the footage, one of the suspects looks directly at the surveillance camera.

Screenshot of suspect in theft of gymnastics equipment for special needs kids via KABC 7

Moye told KABC 7 Eyewitness News a device installed in the U-Haul truck led to its recovery along with most of the stolen gear by police, however the thieves were able to get away with approximately $8,000 worth of gear, including a massive air bag used by movie stunt professionals.

Her co-owner and husband JT Moye, who is an accomplished actor, dance instructor/performer and motion picture stunt coordinator told KABC 7 Eyewitness News, that in particular, the air bag was a special order from Amsterdam and can’t be easily replaced.

“That thing is 13 feet long by 8 feet wide and 3 and a half feet high,” J.T. Moye said adding, “It’s gone.” JT noted that the stunt bag helps kids how to fall and jump from high places.

“It teaches air space awareness and it also builds confidence that they can do anything,” he said.

Anyone with information about this theft is urged to contact the Culver City Police Department:

Address: 4040 Duquesne Ave. Culver City CA 90232

Website: https://www.culvercitypd.org/

Phones: Non-Emergency Service/Intake (310) 837-1221

KABC 7 – Thieves break into U-Haul truck, steal gymnastics equipment:

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