The California Community Foundation’s (CCF), Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men (BLOOM) Initiative has partnered with the Social Justice Learning Institute to offer the Urban Scholars program to 14-18 year old Black males throughout Los Angeles County who are under the supervision of the L.A. County Probation Department. 

Learn more about BLOOM at:

The Need

In the United States, young Black males are facing high dropout, recidivism, imprisonment, and death rates. According to a 2014 study by the National Council on Crime & Delinquency, "States across the country have been successful at reducing the overall numbers of youth in the juvenile justice system. At the same time, youth of color have jumped from 68% to 81% of all youth sentenced in juvenile court.” 

The Response

 The Urban Scholars/BLOOM program is dedicated to helping young men navigate pathways to success while developing a “critical conscious” and building brotherhood. The program consists of a 10-week course teamed with yearlong educational field trips, academic and career counseling, life coaching, brotherhood activities, and more:

Urban Scholars/BLOOM program covers topics such as:

  • Understanding Manhood
  • Aspiration Assessment/Development
  • Preparation and Practice Testing for the SAT and ACT
  • Colleges, Jobs, and Training
  • Financial Empowerment
  • Understanding History, Emancipation, and Civil Rights
  • Personal Identity
  • Researching Family
  • Team Building
  • Civic Engagement
The Curriculum

Urban Scholars/BLOOM program teaches units in:

  • Theory Evaluation—Assess problems within their community or school
  • Research—Conduct surveys and seek out interviews from peers, community members, civic leaders, and school staff
  • Data Collection—Documentary filmmaking
  • Draw Conclusions—Create an action plan
  • Communicate Results—Present findings

Through this process, students learn how to become better writers, gain skills as documentary filmmakers, and engage in academic activities at the college level. Each student identifies, plans, and executes a project within their community that is manageable and can be accomplised within the school year. This type of engagement brings the academic experience to life. SJLI also provides Urban Scholars with academic support such as homework assistance, academic counseling, and college preparatory education.