The worlds of city economic development and youth development came together for a brief shining moment last week, at the LA Live! entertainment complex in Los Angeles. Dense new residential and commercial development in and around the complex brings verve and people well into the evening, many nights each week.
With oversize statues of LA sports heroes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wayne Gretzky looming across the street at the hockey-strike-darkened Staples Center, dozens of Angelenos took to an ice rink fitted out for the holidays. “Not quite Rockefeller Center, but fun,” commented a New York native on the scene.
Skating action stopped for ten minutes as City of Los Angeles Councilmember Jan Perry joined complex developer AEG in recognizing the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) and in particular its corpsmember of the year, Ibrahim Francis — on a red carpet rolled out on the ice. Huge LED screens described the many environmental and educational contributions of the LACC, the nation’s largest urban corps which works very closely with the City of Los Angeles and many other partners.
Ibrahim, it turns out, finished high school and earned two college scholarships while working with LACC. Interviewing for an internship with California State Parks, the agency offered him a job on the spot — no internship needed! The award and the recognition stand as testimony to Ibrahim’s hard work and to the support LACC and its partners offer to him and several hundred other young people each year.
In the photo: Tamala Lewis and Michael Roth from AEG, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry and Corpsmember of the Year Ibrahim Francis