Watts Labor Community
Action Committee

Youth Services

Director's Message

As WLCAC’s Youth Services Director, I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve the youth of Watts and South LA. For the past 25 years, our team has earned the trust and respect of the communities we serve. Having a staff made up of former youth participants, reflects the positive impact of our youth programming and services. Our alumni bring healing, trauma informed care, and testimonials that can attest to the effectiveness our programs have had in shaping their lives and the community.

Our commitment to upholding the mission and vision of WLCAC lies at the core of how we connect and engage with all of our youth and their families to help them bring positive change into their lives. We do this by exposing our youth to the outdoors, workshops, positive learning, and providing a support system that will last a lifetime. We believe in our kids, so they can believe in themselves and positively move forward into the future.

Our Division

WLCAC has established a legacy of service that tells stories of the heart. The advocacy we provide extends beyond immediate needs to  encompass long standing impacts in an individual’s life. Our youth and families have found our WLCAC site as a place that will always have their arms open to provide the highest quality of care and advocacy in their journey to success.  Allowing opportunities of growth and positive memories in the lives of every child that comes through our doors!  

G.R.Y.D Prevention/Re-entry/Outdoor Equity (Youth Development Programs)

WLCAC’s city-funded strategy for youth development is focused on providing a safe haven for young people to grow and play, serving them through a variety of enriching programs throughout Watts, and South and South East Los Angeles.

Our Impact

Over 75% of our staff were directly impacted by our youth programs and/or still reside in the areas we service. The experience of Youth Alumni gives validity to the program’s effectiveness in building trust with the families we’ve been serving since 1965.

Mile service area
Youth Served Annually
Youth Serviced Monthly
Annual Activities
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Our Team

Ralph Flores

Esmeralda Melara

Karen Gayles

Prevention Program Coordinator GRYD

Martin Gonzalez

Tequila Castro 

We Offer

Intensive Case Management

We hire case managers that take a holistic approach to connecting and serving participants in all aspects of their life at school, home, and individually through:

  • Mental Health Services
  • Trauma Focused Workshops
  • Grief and Loss Counseling

Basic Necessities

We ensure youth and their families have access to backpacks, shoes & socks, hygiene kits, school uniforms, and baby items so that they can focus on developing their skills and self-esteem. We also offer:

  • Gift Card Giveaways
  • Parenting Workshops
  • Parent Appreciation Days

Recreational/Educational Activities

We offer a wide array of activities and classes for youth such as art, skate, and surf classes. We also partner with organizations like the Young Eagles to teach aviation, Horses in the Hood, and East Side Riders bike club. 

Field Trips

Youth participants go on field trips to theme parks, museums, beaches and lakes, hiking and camping, and more to expose them to places and experiences that will introduce them to a positive path that will lead to a well rounded lifestyle that every child deserves.

Outdoor Equity Program

We bring local outdoor education and recreation to families by providing all camping necessities like camping gear, transportation, and park fees. This allows families to create new traditions, connect with nature, promote environmental justice, and participate in campfire healing circles.

Staff Stories

Thanks to the employment opportunity given to me at WLCAC I now have a brighter future and career!

WLCAC took me on my first beach trip, Dodger game and Disneyland. They helped me discover my self esteem and brought security to my life, allowing me to believe in myself.

I came to WLCAC as a youth because I knew the case managers cared about me and I loved the environment!

As an Adult working for GRYD I do my best to provide all the support the Youth need. I am proud to give back to my Community.

Client Stories


Watts Labor Community
Action Committee