City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
Long Beach, CA - Most Long Beach youth have attended school and work virtually since March 2020 due to the pandemic and have reported, through participation in the development of the Long Beach Strategic Plan for Youth and Emerging Adults (Strategic Plan), feeling disconnected and isolated from their community, peers and support systems.
More than ever, young people are in need of access to peer and mentor support, safe spaces for connection and mental health resources. To help support community-based efforts fostering social connectedness for youth, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) and Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) have partnered on a joint effort to provide Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants to organizations serving Long Beach youth impacted by COVID-19.
“The City is committed to supporting our youth and we’re proud to be working together with youth-serving organizations to reach young people using new creative tools and programs,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “These organizations are making a real difference in the lives of young people.”
The following organizations have been awarded grants to ensure that youth and emerging adults in Long Beach, who have been particularly impacted by COVID-19, have opportunities to connect to the services and resources needed to maintain their physical health, mental health and emotional well-being:
Together, these organizations are helping activate and support peer navigation to increase COVID-19 education and awareness, provide linkage to supportive services for youth and foster peer social connectedness through safe, inclusive spaces for youth and emerging adults ages 10 to 24.
The City received $40 million in CARES Act funding to support relief, community recovery and resiliency, of which the Long Beach City Council allocated $200,000 for youth leadership services. The distribution of funding for youth leadership was informed by the Strategic Plan to increase awareness about organizations offering youth supportive services during the pandemic and increase opportunities for youth to connect with each other and/or with adult allies and mentors.
Earthlodge Center for Transformation, one of the 10 grantees, launched a program called Project Bloom - Teen to Teen Empowerment Virtual Circles in response to the social isolation youth and young adults are experiencing due to COVID-19. The program was designed to provide a safe space both designed and led by teens. The organization has held a total of eight Project Bloom sessions, where youth have had the opportunity to share their experiences, concerns and vulnerabilities during the pandemic as well as identify tools and social support that will empower them to practice healthy coping skills and remain connected.
In another successful grant-funded program, Ronnie’s House, in partnership with Success in Challenges, launched LBC Teen Talk, a radio and podcast production course that hosts up to 30 teens to engage in topics on mental health awareness, COVID-19 and gun violence. Three radio course sessions have been hosted online with the help of 104.7 FM (KQIE) radio personality and talk show host Josefa Salinas.
The 10 CARES Act grantees serve as a learning opportunity on how the City can continue to foster and strengthen the youth service network. The lessons learned from this cohort of grantees will help inform the implementation of the City’s Strategic Plan efforts for mentorship to ensure youth have adult allies and the support they need.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep our residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.