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Avis & Mark Ridley-Thomas
    Life Learning Center
Transitional Age Teens Looking at Electronic Tablet


Avis & Mark Ridley-Thomas Life Learning Center

Research shows that effective social services can have a positive effect on helping youth make a successful transition to becoming productive and emotionally stable young adults. As a community partner, the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic (LACGC) is a nationally acclaimed research and trauma informed innovative mental health service provider for children and youth in Central and South Los Angeles. Through the Avis and Mark Ridley-Thomas Life Learning Center, LACGC provides individualized and trauma-informed field capable clinical services to youth ages 16 to 25 (including foster care and probation youth) with an emphasis on mental health, academic support, job training/placement, and recreational/social activities.

LACGC recently purchased a 10,000 square foot building to move the Life Learning Center from its current location to a newly renovated and reimagined space. Facilities and programming will be appropriately designed for transition-age youth ensuring they have expanded access to quality mental health and social services that contribute to their physical health and emotional well-being.

The Life Learning Center will provide access to:

  • affordable, safe, and stable housing;
  • educational support leading to achievement in high school, postsecondary and/or vocational degrees/certification;
  • employment with living wages and/or have access to career training to achieve life-long economic stability;
  • and, strong connections to a positive support system, including guidance from mental health professionals, family members and caring adults.

In order to achieve these objectives, LACGC has launched a capital campaign, Building Success with a goal to raise $4.2 million to secure philanthropic contributions from both the public and private sources. Construction is scheduled to be completed by summer 2018.

The building renovations will reflect the unique programming that takes place within by virtue of its interior layout, functions, and circulation. The focus will be on addressing the seemingly divergent needs of security vs. welcoming openness; formal clinical support vs. creative activity; and client privacy vs. engagement. This will be accomplished by sublimating the traditional visual appearance of a clinic in favor of an apparent recreational, artistic, and social "drop-in" center that bridges, attracts, and sustains the involvement of at-risk transition-age youth.