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Who We Are

Friends of St. Lawrence-Watts Youth Center has been serving the Watts community for over 20 years to enhance the welfare and education of students and their families.  Friends opened the Literacy Center in 2001 with the belief that children who have a strong foundation in reading are more likely to succeed throughout their education and see their own immense potential.

Friends of St. Lawrence-Watts Youth Center has been successful in attracting diverse groups of people who care about our work in Watts and the families it serves.  The Board of Directors and Friends' Staff is comprised of men and women from different parts of Los Angeles, including the Watts community. 

Friends promotes community involvement recruiting a pool of approximately 50-80 volunteers to implement our programs:

  • Teachers and assistants for the English as a Second Language classes, 4 days a week.

  • The Information Center is staffed by volunteer interpreters, attorneys, and resource people such as accountants for taxes and medical personnel for medical education clinics.

  • Adult and teen volunteer tutors for the summer school program and as after school tutors.

  • College prep mentors to guide high school students help through the college process.

Friends has many loyal supporters we count on for the majority of our funds year after year. Other resources are raised at our successful March Madness Annual Event and through our Annual Appeal, a mail/email campaign in the Fall. The remaining funds have been obtained through private and corporate foundations.


Friends’ collaboration with the following organizations has broadened our ability to advocate and provide support to the Watts community.

  • Youth Opportunity Watts works with Friends to find employment and volunteer opportunities for Watts’ teenagers.

  • QueensCare Health and Faith Partnership and Friends bring the children in the Watts area quality, no cost, comprehensive dental and vision care.  Dental trailers parked on our campus during the summer of 2017 and winter of 2019 performed over 2,000 dental procedures on the children.

  • Friends invites Watts Health Mobile Mammogram Program to our campus to perform screenings and provide references for women over 40 with limited or no health insurance. Events each year served 25+ women.

  • Camp Stevens in Julian, CA offers summer camp opportunities for school age children.  Every summer, the camp offers 20 scholarships to children in Watts.  Friends works with Camp Stevens to select the children (ages 10-13) who will benefit the most from a week in the outdoors with peers from around Southern California. 

  • The Los Angeles Regional Food Bankin coordination with Friends, provides healthy after school meals to the 80+ children who participate in after school programs at the St. Lawrence of Brindisi School every Monday-Thursday. 

Friends and Partners
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