“Study Lounge” conveys Venice Community Housing’s philosophy that learning can be achieved in a relaxed, comfortable environment. Families participating in the Study Lounge program reside in the Venice, Mar Vista and Del Rey neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Historically they have been tenants of one of VCH’s affordable housing properties, but the program welcomes all families living in the area. The majority of students that Study Lounge serves are children of immigrants, primarily from Latin American countries. These families are unfamiliar with the Los Angeles school system, the concepts and skills children must master to succeed in school, and how to monitor their children’s academic progress from year to year. All Study Lounge participants currently attend local Title I schools that do not offer affordable, academic-focused after school programs.
VCH partners with UCLA’s TEACH program to offer individualized, year-long academic tutoring and healthy living curriculum to Study Lounge participants. Bright, successful UCLA students provide participants with one-on-one, focused attention and inspire them to new levels of achievement. This partnership has allowed Study Lounge to offer a 3:1 student-to-adult ratio that is rarely achieved in the after-school arena.
Our unique approach is based on a model of collaboration. At the beginning of the academic year, Study Lounge coordinators meet with each participating student’s family to establish an action plan with specific goals for academic growth and improvement in behavior and study skills and to identify additional resources that families will need to engage in their child’s academic success. Program staff establishes reading and math goals, tracking student progress though reading logs, subject specific assessments, and observed improvements by program staff and UCLA interns. Program staff meets quarterly with the students’ parent/guardian and communicates with the students’ teachers to evaluate the students’ progress and to adjust their specific goals if needed.
To provide easy access to local families, Study Lounge operates at two sites. Study Lounge serves about 40 children at VCH’s Washington Courts Apartments in Mar Vista and since 2015 has partnered with Broadway Elementary School in Venice, which currently serves 30 students. Study Lounge operates at both sites Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The ability for Venice Community Housing to provide year-round academic support to disadvantaged families is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty. VCH’s Study Lounge program empowers low-income, minority youth to succeed in school, transition into higher education and stable career paths, and to become leaders and positive change agents in their communities.