City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 061124-2
Office of Youth Development Announces Youth Power PB (Participatory Budgeting) Long Beach 2024 Awardees
Jennifer Rice Epstein
Public Affairs Officer
Department of Health and Human Services

Long Beach, CA – The City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) Office of Youth Development, in partnership with The Nonprofit Partnership (TNP), Invest in Youth Coalition anchored by Khmer Girls in Action, and California State University of Long Beach Department of Geography, will award $400,000 to nine organizations selected by youth as part of the second year of the citywide youth participatory budgeting project. A total of 602 youth ages 13 to 26 who live, work and/or play in Long Beach voted on which projects to fund this summer.

“Participatory budgeting is the first foray into civic engagement for many young people in Long Beach,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “This process supports and empowers youth by making a direct impact on their community.”

From April 24 to May 4, young people throughout Long Beach voted on the programs they wanted to fund. Voting locations were placed at high schools, teen centers, public libraries, and community-based organizations throughout the voting period. Youth could vote for up to four different youth programs to be funded for this summer. A total of 602 votes were validated, and the programs prioritized by youth voters centered on community care, housing, health and wellness, planning for the future, and transportation – aligning with five of the six goals in the Long Beach Youth and Emerging Adults Strategic Plan.  

Nine of the 13 projects on the ballot won the youth popular vote and will be funded by grants ranging between $10,000 and $50,000:

  • 208 Votes: Devotion Fitness (Health & Wellness) $50,000 — Sunset Boxing and Wellness will offer 12 weeks of outdoor Boxing, Sound Baths and Picnic-Paint & Skate Nights this summer for emerging adults ages 18 to 26 (13-17 year olds may participate by completing a parental consent form). Devotion Fitness programs help young adults navigate life by relieving stress, providing an inclusive space to exercise, and creating a lifelong community.  
  • 175 Votes: Our Generation Cares (Transportation) $50,000 — Car and Driver 101: Drive Smart, Own Responsibility will take a comprehensive approach to increasing access to safe and affordable transportation for youth and emerging adults. From interactive lessons to exciting field trips, Car and Driver 101 transforms beginners into skilled drivers and instills a sense of control and independence. With classroom instruction, practical driving lessons using a real-car-driving simulator and a loaner vehicle for youth to take the DMV test, this program ensures that participants have access to the resources necessary to obtain their driver's license.
  • 150 Votes: spcaLA (Community Care) $25,000 — spcaLA Friends for Life Summer Camp will provide 40 scholarships for their Friends for Life Summer Camp to youth ages 12 to 15 who reside in the 90804, 90805 and 90813 zip codes. In addition to regular camp activities – dog training, cat care, games and activities – this weeklong camp will offer an expanded curriculum around anger identification, conflict solving, empathetic choices, anti-bullying and kindness towards others.
  • 136 Votes: Success in Challenges (Housing) $50,000 — YEAH! - Youth Education and Adjustment Housing will provide stable housing, community support and life skills training. Their holistic approach addresses the distinct needs of homeless transitional-aged youth. Workshops include Financial Literacy covering topics like credit scores and budgeting. The program ends with a graduation, stipend and certificates.
  • 132 Votes: Mission Muay Thai (Community Care) $42,700 — Punch to Protect, Kick to Defend will provide youth with a self-defense program that helps foster personal growth, discipline, and community spirit to empower and protect our youth through situational awareness. Youth will access the protective knowledge by learning the art of 8 limbs including punches, kicks, knees, elbows and defensive tactics to protect the body from potential threats.
  • 131 Votes: Elite Skills Development (Planning for the Future) $50,000 — EmpowerED: Life Skills for Success will provide youth and young adults of Long Beach the knowledge, practical skills and abilities to set themselves up for future success. They will provide workshops and hands-on experiences with expert mentorship from field professionals that will help build individual independence, resiliency and economic equity.
  • 128 Votes: M.O.R.E. Mothers (Health & Wellness) $50,000 — Summer Full of Art Program provides youth ages 8-13 a safe and supportive environment to grow, learn and develop creatively. This program allows youth to explore their creativity through painting, drawing, creating vision boards, clay making, photography and free admission to local museums. Designed for youth with all abilities, this program will teach awareness, acceptance, community building and effective life-skills.  
  • 105 Votes: West Coast Credible Messengers (Health & Wellness) $50,000 – Artful Resistance and Break the School-to-Prison Cycle will address the community priority area of physical, mental and emotional wellness in Long Beach by providing teens and emerging adults with opportunities for creative expression, personal development and community engagement. Through workshops focused on art, poetry and collaborative projects, participants will explore themes related to the school-to-prison pipeline, build awareness of systemic barriers, and develop skills to resist oppression and advocate for change.  
  • 85 Votes: Future Innovators (Transportation) $32,300 — Career CruiserLB – Youth Transport provides a weekly accessible and reliable transport service to support the youth and emerging adults of Long Beach to assist in getting to a weekly career workshop, job fairs, hiring events, networking opportunities, visiting corporate campuses, and other job search activities. This weekly transport service will be provided to all those keen to participate in a weekly Career Workshop which will prepare youth with the skills and confidence needed to land a great job, internship or perhaps even explore further education.

Those interested in participating in any of the above-mentioned summer programs should reach out directly to the organizations. Contact information can be found on the Office of Youth Development webpage.

Youth Power PB Long Beach, the citywide participatory budget process, provides nonprofit organizations undertaking work aligned with the goals of the Youth and Emerging Adults Strategic Plan with the opportunity to receive funding for initiatives that directly empower youth and emerging adults. All projects on the ballot were developed and proposed by youth and youth-serving nonprofit organizations. Funding for the Youth Power PB Long Beach program is provided by Measure US.

Long Beach recently announced its Summer of Opportunity initiative, a collective impact approach focused on fostering positive development among Long Beach youth while simultaneously addressing youth violence. Highlights of Summer of Opportunity activations to support local youth during the summer months, and the City’s Summer Activities calendar, is available here.