Creating a New Normal for South Los Angeles

December 3, 2019
Ryan Imondi


My name is Raul and I’m a Parent Partner at Children’s Institute in Watts. In my role, I use my life experiences to support, engage and motivate families to achieve their goals. I wish CII’s services had been available when I was a child.

Growing up in South Central LA, it was normal for me and my brother to witness violence. Whether we were riding bikes or playing catch, it wasn’t unusual to hear gunshots, take cover, and then resume playing like nothing had happened. I remember walking around yellow police tape on my way to school, seeing dead bodies more than once, and witnessing domestic violence in our home.

Adults never talked about what was going on. I don’t remember anyone sitting me down and saying, “You shouldn’t go outside right now,” or “Maybe we should talk to someone about what you saw.” Instead, everyone acted like it wasn’t a big deal—it’s normal and it’s what happens in South Central.

I’ve made plenty of wrong turns myself and had to work very hard to overcome the trauma in my own life. But today, I feel so lucky to be a part of Children’s Institute where I am helping people from my community heal from trauma.

Our caring, compassionate services support families struggling from the effects of community violence and poverty. These families have witnessed many of the things my brother and I experienced growing up, but thanks to Children’s Institute, we are able to help by offering trauma-informed early education, behavioral health and family strengthening services.

This year, partner with us to create a new normal for South Los Angeles. When we invest in kids, we lift up the whole community. With your help, change is possible.

Happy Holidays,

Support life-changing services for children and families with an end of year donation this holiday season.