The BOMB Squad at L.A. Lee YMCA Family Center ** PLEASE HELP! We can't upload our videos!!!

Be B.O.M.B.! Shake things up, assess your surroundings, encourage your peers to face challenges and come up with solutions—Be Optimistic and

Photo of Nigeria Spells
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We are working on this presently.

Date Started

Officially as B.O.M.B. Squad with a defined purpose we started in MARCH 2018. But majority of us have been doing community service projects around the L.A. Lee YMCA family center and the community for about 2 years.

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

Most of us in the BOMB Squad have been coming to L.A. Lee for quite some time, years now. We like it here. We feel safe here. And, in all honesty, it keeps us out of trouble. But from the beginning, we all kind of did our own thing, some played basketball, others went to the gym or played games, and a lot of the time we just hung out and chilled. But we wanted more, so in the last couple years we started volunteering and helping out with different events and projects at the family center. As we collected service hours, worked on great service projects, and helped our community, we started thinking, “What else could we do here!?” With the support from the L.A. Lee YMCA staff and some adults in the community, we started coming up with ideas to get more involved and get more teens like us involved. The beginning of this year we decided to start meeting formally and growing our leadership!

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

There are too many youth that due to lack of opportunities, support, or guidance spend a lot of time on the street, bored, getting in trouble, and even sometimes falling into criminal behaviors. We see a lot of our peers following and doing “like everyone else”, without drive, goals, or initiative: getting lost. We see our peers unmotivated and just “going through the motions" like zombies, unable to graduate. This has to stop! We can help!

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We all have or could’ve been in situations like the ones stated in “the problem” section. But thanks to our involvement and volunteering with our local YMCA we are doing more, believing in ourselves, earning community service hours, learning about the world, the environment, and professional and leadership skills, and overall trying hard to make a change! Since March we have been working hard on making our experiences and our goals the solution to our youth’s present-day problem. By forming The B.O.M.B. Squad we aim to ignite youth into action and in this way, provide us all with options to be better, do better, and become better—being optimistic and moving beyond! Our proposed solution is to have a youth-led program that allows other youth to engage and activate each other to become change makers in our lives and our communities.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Even though we’ve known each other and have been volunteering together for some years, we stared formally meeting as The B.O.M.B. Squad in March, 2018. It was just a few of us coming together to figure out some ideas to develop programs, activities, and fundraisers that could help us get more of our peers to join our group. Since, we have witnessed that new teen members that come simply to play basketball are now interested in joining our group. They would see us meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays and started asking what we did. Some of them started joining our meetings. Now, two of them have officially joined and are motivated to help us grow and become The B.O.M.B. Squad we know we can be! This happened because of the power of our youth voice! When we get together to share about our experiences, our issues, our goals, and think about solutions, we start building and moving beyond!

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The B.O.M.B. Squad thinks outside the box and respects all of our opinions. We are a diverse group of teens who are aware of the problems in our communities and use our unique ideas and personalities to come up with creative solutions to our problems. We meet, play, have fun, and build together! Facing difficulties we are always Optimistic, facing present day challenges we always push ourselves to see and move beyond, to envision better futures and work to build them together!

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

- We are starting to see growth - Our voices are being heard - We are starting to see changes in the facility that we have initiated - We have been getting funding to program our events and activities - We are learning and growing - We are feeling more motivated

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The B.O.M.B. Squad would like to continue to build our presence at L.A. Lee YMCA and throughout the community. We know we need to promote our group, programs, and activities more so we can get more youth and teens involved. In accomplishing this we would be able to do more and offer more opportunities for empowerment for our peers. Eventually we would like to help offer scholarships and other forms of support to our members. So the seed money for this changemakers project would truly help us set up the programs, events, and promotion that would lead us to more sustainable growth and new opportunities in the future.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

- Website - Social media pages - Training and development - Promotion

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

The B.O.M.B Squad is the center, gathering youth, helping us see our potential, validating our voice, dreams, and goals, in ways that help support ourselves in creating our own future. Building together we will be better able to assist many more youth and as a result affect exponentially more individuals. Our friends, families, and communities will be affected. When we activate the youth to make change, everyone else follows. We have seen it happening here at the L.A. Lee YMCA and we know it can happen at a much larger scale. One day we will present our ideas and projects before our city commission and ask them to support our vision! Just wait and see.

How did you hear about this challenge?

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Photo of Emilia Solano

Amazing job!! So proud of this!! Keep on dreaming big and daring to DO MORE!

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