Alliance: Student Empowerment Program
The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles has partnered with schools in South LA to pilot The Alliance Student Empowerment Program.
The Alliance Student Empowerment Program uses sports as an entryway to leadership and advocacy for student athletes. The semester-long program develops changemakers who will build community power and affect systems for which the collective of 11 professional sports teams in greater Los Angeles is focused.
As a key part of the partnership, The Alliance supported the expansion of sports and youth engagement opportunities for its partnering schools. The sports programs provide real-time benefit in terms of health outcomes and social emotional learning. Both schools serve the target communities of The Alliance and have existing sports programs that benefit from this support.
Each school site represents a different type of pilot program, which is planned to scale in the coming years. The Alliance support will augment ICEF View Park High School’s existing sports-based youth development, which is integrated into its curriculum. For LA Promise, the support will enrich their use of sport as a tool for engagement and positive youth development.
LA Promise High School has recently been reintroduced as The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy, with the goal to develop academic achievers, athletes and activists committed to social change.
Access to organized sports during school and after school is essential to child development and building a path for their lifelong well-being. In youth, sports can bolster positive identity, resilience, boost confidence and success.
The Brotherhood Crusade and Community Coalition co-created – specifically for this initiative – the sport-based, academic advocacy-centered curriculum and will co-facilitate the leadership training for year one of the multi-year series of programs.
Curriculum objectives include training participants in organizing and identifying social issues to address, facilitating students’ understanding of community conditions and the systems that perpetuate inequality, fostering an advocate mindset and the knowledge and confidence to engage with policymakers, and gaining inspiration from fellow student athletes and professional athletes.
Student athletes from both high schools learn about advocacy, leadership, and systemic inequalities that affect their communities. Students will also meet and hear from professional athletes from The Alliance organizations.
Students also have the opportunity to discover the many career opportunities available in the sports industry outside of the playing field.
The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles Activation Series engages student athletes across the Greater LA region, to inspire them to be leaders on their teams, learn more about social justice, community leadership and explore the prospect of careers in the sports industry.
For Black History Month, The Alliance held a panel discussion for student athletes in high school and middle school about Black Excellence in Sport and Action. It touched on how athletes balance the demands of their sport and getting involved in the causes that are important to them.
The conversation was moderated by Kiesha Nix, Executive Director Lakers Youth Foundation, and featured Blake Bolden of the LA Kings, Rushia Brown of the Los Angeles Sparks, UCLA gymnast and student Nia Dennis and Jordan Fuller of the Rams.
Working towards social justice with young people includes investment, education and sustained action. The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles is dedicated to working toward a more just future, and helping youth understand how communities value their leadership and contributions.
The Alliance programs are designed to inspire equality and well-being for systems change where the teams live, work and hold competitive events. The 11 professional sports teams of greater Los Angeles are acting on issues of structural racism, have united as allies for communities of color and are building new opportunities to address disparities.
Dave Roberts, the Manager of the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers encourages local student athletes to participate in The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles’ Student Empowerment Program. The program includes guest speakers from the 11 professional sports teams that form the Alliance speaking on social justice, sports, and community building.
The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles hosted the Black Excellence in Sport and Action panel, a discussion between professional athletes about social justice topics. Over 100 student athletes and future leaders participated in the virtual panel from over 23 middle schools and high schools in the greater Los Angeles area. Kiesha Nix, Executive Director of Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation moderated the panel discussion with professional athletes on how they excel in sport and drive social change. Guests included Blake Bolden of the LA Kings, Jordan Fuller of the LA Rams, and Rushia Brown of the LA Sparks. The event highlighted UCLA Gymnast Nia Dennis and her “Black Excellence” floor routine.
The Alliance Student Empowerment Program teaches student athletes skills to become the next generation of leaders and activist athletes. The semester-long program encourages students to create social change in their communities. Launched on January 25th, 2021, the pilot program is active in 2 Los Angeles area high schools. In this Q&A, principals from the two pilot high schools introduce the program. They elaborate on what the program means to them, to their students, and they outline what to expect as the Student Empowerment Program grows.
The ALLIANCE: Los Angeles held its virtual Town Hall kickoff event with student athletes from View Park High School and LA Promise Charter High School. Watch Gwen Berry and Johnathan Franklin share their stories, as well as lessons learned through their involvement in sports and working in communities.