Culture & Civic Life
Watts Leadership Institute
A ten-year initiative of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, the Watts Leadership Institute (WLI) uses an innovative cohort-based model to d...
Watts Community Core was founded in 2019 to expand opportunities for youth living in the Nickerson Gardens housing development in Watts. Nickerson Gardens, built in 1955, is the United States' largest public housing development west of the Mississippi River and is home to thousands of Watts residents. Watts Community Core was founded by residents who have spent their entire lives in or around Nickerson Gardens. The organization's goal is to serve youth through mentorship, academic services, emotional and mental support programs, and safe recreational activities. Program coaches seek to build participants' confidence, improve academic performance, and reduce gang involvement. Watts Community Core is founded and led by community residents, creating a model that emphasizes highly personal relationships in which mentors pass along the lessons they wish they had known as youth.
As an organization founded during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Watts Community Core also provides other key services designed to address the diverse but urgent needs of residents. The organization's free food distribution program has provided thousands of hot and cold meals to residents.
In addition, Watts Community Core is leading efforts to renovate Nickerson Gardens' indoor recreation center and outdoor playground for the many children that live in the housing development. Leading the efforts and partnering with WCC are community activist musician, Flea, and renowned architect Edwin Schlossberg of ESI Design Firm.
Project - Food Distribution Program
Project - Playground Updates