Left: Our free SAT-prep workshop at Loyola Marymount University is held biannually for high school students. See Programs/Teens.
Right: Wooten students participated in an architecture class in summer 2018 with Rick Shlemmer, principal of SAA interiors + architecture. SAAIA served pro bono, creating plans and acquiring permits for our renovation in 2019. Rick engaged Wooten students in helping develop the plans. The students also enjoyed field trips to Rick's offices in Culver City and downtown Los Angeles. They are shown here with an SAAIA staff member discussing the many career options in architecture and interior design.
At the heart of our mission for "good citizenship and academic excellence" is a desire to ensure that every student avoids the kind of lifestyle and overcomes the kinds of challenges that led to the murder of Al Wooten, Jr. The Wooten Center has come a long way since 1990 when our founder, Myrtle Faye Rumph, opened the center in honor of her son's life. The challenge of serving some 300 students annually today at our nonprofit youth center and other sites in the South LA area and enhancing our offerings for these bright minds demand that we continually upgrade our programs and facilities.
It's been more than five years since we redesigned our programs based on our "STEP Model" for activities that are Self-Directed, Team-Oriented, Experiential and Project-Based. The results have included project-based STEM activities such as our weekly workshops with South LA Robotics and our Summer Fun Camp engineering, animation and other classes with partners including NASA and Disney. We are stepping up our usage of i-Ready, which offers online assessments and tutoring in reading and math. You'll see more time in i-Ready study groups and at-home tutoring.
We are returning to our youth center in January 2020 after more than a year of renovations. With $150,000 in grants from The Ahmanson Foundation and pro bono design and planning services from SAA interiors + architecture, we added "fire, life, safety" features including lighted exit signs, doors with panic hardware, and smoke detectors wired to alarms. We added bathrooms, ramps and a parking lot with disabled access. We upgraded our interior design with help from Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, HKS Architects, SAAIA and our parents, staff and board.
Click here for a slideshow with before and after pics and more information on our renovation and contributors.
Click here for our Welcome Home video for our youth and parents' first day back at the center.
It is very fitting that we launch this new website in celebration of our new facilities and 30th anniversary. Thank you to Taproot Foundation and their assigned volunteer designer Hunter Hollinger for this new and improved website. We are grateful for every supporter joining us in partnering with parents, schools and other community members helping fulfill our mission for a safe and nurturing environment committed to good citizenship and academic excellence.
Making a difference for life...Catch the Vision!
"There is a saying that goes, "Tell me who your circle is and I'll tell you what you are made of." I find this to be so true because at the Wooten Center you find a bit of everything -- from help with homework to how to solve difficult situations in a respectful manner. Family is about support and that's what we find at the center. Always aiming to become better. The center is not just any center but we have become Wooten Family."
Manuela Granados, Wooten Parent
The Al Wooten Jr. Youth Center is a neighborhood approach to the revitalization and empowerment of a community in crisis. We provide a safe and nurturing environment committed to good citizenship and academic excellence.
The Wooten Center provides free afterschool and low-cost summer programs to help students in grades 3-12 attain grade-level proficiency and promotion, high school graduation, and college and career access and success.