Local Communities: Inner City Youth Initiatives

City of Huntington Park

Improving the quality of life through sports and other programming, while promoting health and wellness, increasing cultural unity and fostering human and economic development and a stronger community image.

  • The Issues
    • Located five miles southeast of Los Angeles, Huntington Park is a predominately urban, economically disadvantaged community. It faces such social problems as low academic achievement and high rates of obesity, poverty and crime. Just one in three Huntington Park residents are high school graduates, less than half the rate in Los Angeles County. Approximately two in five children are obese, the 10th highest obesity rate among the county's 128 communities. One in four Huntington Park families live below the poverty line, twice the national average and the median family income of $28,931 is roughly $13,000 less than the county median.
    • The mission of the Huntington Park Department of Parks & Recreation is to improve the quality of life through sports and other programming. Its major goals are to promote health and wellness, increase safety and cultural unity and foster human and economic development and a stronger community image.
  • The Solution
    • There is great potential for Huntington Park to fix its problems largely because its population is young and receptive to change. About one in three Huntington residents are under the age of 18. They will benefit from programming that combines physical activity with deeper lessons for living better, healthier lives. A Huntington Park Youth Soccer League with more resources will draw a powerful link between organized sport and physical, mental and social well-being.
    • The Huntington Park League will offer two leagues serving 1720 children and teens. There will be a recreational, co-ed, Blue league for players ages 5 through 18 and a Gold league with separate boys and girls divisions for players ages 13-18. The Blue and Gold leagues will operate concurrently during two three-month seasons per year.
    • Players in the Gold league must show outstanding ability, hold a minimum 2.0 grade point average and participate in at least one Parks and Recreation-approved, school-, community- or city-sponsored program from a list that includes an eight-week course on nutrition, workshops on health and social awareness, after school programs, teams or clubs and community service at a city park. Through its partnership with the LAFC Foundation, Huntington Park will offer high-level league and tournament competition, clinics run by experts, trips to pro and college games and scholarship opportunities at top youth clubs, including LAFC Chelsea, the nationally ranked soccer club of the LAFC Foundation. (Other partners are The Los Angeles Unified School District, Huntington Park Police Department, American Youth Soccer Organization, AltaMed and E.N.E.R.G.Y.).
    • The Huntington Park Soccer program aims to reduce violence by offering a meaningful alternative to gang participation and holding antiviolence, anticrime workshops and related activities. Huntington Park Soccer will help reduce substance abuse and chronic health problems, including youth obesity via on and off-the-field programming, teach the value of community service through participation in day camps and refereeing assignments for games involving younger children, provide guidance and help boost academic performance through tutoring and mentoring.
  • LAFC's Partnership
    • The LAFC Foundation will build two full-size soccer fields with additional practice space, and provide uniforms and equipment, and coaching and refereeing expertise. Through these efforts, it will make it easier for the Huntington Park Department of Parks & Recreation Department to draw children and teens to its health and education resources and those of other partners.