| Program: || L.A. CITY KIDZ, Los Angeles, CA |
| Contact(s): || Remedeas Kelly-Weekes, President: (213) 295-4212 |
| Purpose: || To raise awareness about diversity through musical themes that center on the welfare of young people and the communities in which they live |
One year after the Los Angeles riots of 1992, the students of the 75th Street School in Los Angeles joined together to create "Unity Day," an assembly advocating peace. This diverse group of students from various ethnic backgrounds was already involved in the Peacemaker Program, which encourages children to express themselves through visual arts, writing exercises, dialogue and music. The guidance counselor who implemented the Peacemaker Program, Remedeas Kelly-Weekes, organized L.A. CITY KIDZ, a nonprofit, multicultural, multiethnic performance choir that promotes collaboration among all children as a means to make communities and cities more harmonious places in which to live.
L.A. CITY KIDZ consists of 20 to 100 students from 30 different Los Angeles County schools who participate in a community choir that provides entertainment and community service for a multitude of venues. The children of L.A. CITY KIDZ use their songs as a tool to deliver messages addressing social morality. The choir develops leadership by enhancing self-esteem, building character, stimulating creativity and instilling community pride and responsibility. The diverse nature of the choir allows the children to build bridges among people separated by race, culture and economic status. The L.A. CITY KIDZ special projects include community beautification--cultivating, painting and trash removal--as well as volunteering at charitable organizations, neighborhood and school events, corporate, private, city, state and national events, and supporting violence and drug prevention programs. Through its songs and activities, the L.A. CITY KIDZ program actively teaches, empowers and motivates young people toward making a positive difference in themselves and toward helping others.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Educational curriculum was developed to support a cassette, "Songs For Us," produced jointly by the L.A. CITY KIDZ and the Saginaw Kids All-City Choir, a Michigan-based group that shares its conductor and its goals with L.A. CITY KIDZ. The curriculum guide that accompanies the songs explores and confronts the issues and solutions toward ending violence, racism, gangs and drug abuse. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation presented the Unity Award to the group, in recognition for their role as a national model for exemplary programs addressing issues of violence affecting young people. Community sponsors of L.A. CITY KIDZ include the United States Federal Aviation Administration, Pacific Bell telephone company and the Los Angeles Unified School District.