El Monte/South East LA
A product of local NACs working in concert, iHeart Wilmington came to fruition in 2012, as a resident-driven civic pride project to focus on all that is best in the community. After a spike in neighborhood crime, community residents— in partnership with SBCC— came together to take action. It began with a small group of residents and grew to include hundreds of community members, elected leaders, business owners, and organizational partners. The iHeart Wilmington initiative has led to ongoing resident engagement in the broader community and to other community-led projects spearheaded by participants including advocacy surrounding:
equitable discipline policies in neighborhood schools
neighbor-to-neighbor education aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect
reducing illegal dumping and blight stemming from Port and industry- related transportation activity
Since inception, it has grown into an enduring movement that exemplifies the process of community building and self-empowerment. With SBCC’s guidance, the iHeart model is now being replicated beyond Wilmington— as new iHeart initiatives have been launched in Watts, Compton and Hawthorne. All 14 First 5 LA Best Start Communities are also embracing the model—demonstrating both SBCC’s countywide reach and the power that grass-roots organizing has in driving positive community change.
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iHeart Wilmington Youth is a resident-driven movement that focuses its efforts on advocacy initiatives that directly influence the quality of life for young people living in Wilmington and surrounding communities. The initiative is centered on youth community organizing, leadership, and skills development— all with an emphasis on community service. While SBCC is proud to be the initiatives fiscal/administrative agent (hosting meetings on-site at SBCC’s Wilmington community center), the movement continues to be led and managed by local youth (ages 15-24). Members advocate for civic pride and youth empowerment through the implementation of projects that foster community well-being. Like its parent initiative, iHeart Wilmington, the youth movement advocates for causes that include civic engagement, educational reform, voter registration, and community pride.
Clean Wilmington is a volunteer-driven initiative that focuses its efforts on removing trash, weeds, illegally dumped items and other blight stemming from local industry and Port-related transportation activity. Local volunteers have come together and contributed to dozens of cleanup events— building upon the social capital that forges connected and healthy communities.
Clean Wilmington actively maintains over 19 sites, encompassing sidewalk, roadway and green space lining cargo-truck storage yards and transportation corridors. Since its founding in 2007, the initiative has since expanded its efforts to incorporate the planting of sustainable and water-wise greenery in areas once plagued by systematic blight and neglect. While Clean Wilmington’s volunteer activities have contributed to aesthetic appeal, efforts have also reduced toxic runoff into storm drains— contributing to cleaner waterways and healthier public spaces for the local community.