Youth Leadership. College Access. Lifetime Success.




Welcome! Kid City is a project of the Urban Foundation -- we are currently hard at work working on updating our site,, with the most up-to-date information for participants and community members.  

At Kid City we encourage teens and young adults to find their voice, share their stories, and become self-empowered leaders. Our small staff works with volunteers, mentors and families to provide programs in leadership development, music and arts, college access, and college completion in a welcoming and supportive environment.

 Most participants at Kid City are first-generation college or college-bound students living in neighborhoods around downtown Los Angeles including South Central and Pico Union. Kid City recognizes the problem of educational inequity and severe economic hardship among the communities we serve. We strive to provide ways for students to access opportunities, explore their intellectual curiosity, and discover their ability to advocate for themselves and their communities. 

  • We place a high value on lasting, genuine relationships; and radical hospitality that demonstrates respect for all individuals, including LGBTQ, dreamers, undocumented families, and differently abled. 
  • We practice careful, empathic listening and encourage students to be honest as they find their own voice and share their stories. 
  • We recognize the pervasiveness of educational inequity, severe economic hardship, and other injustices, and seek within our learning community to understand  and alleviate some of those issues affecting the youth and communities we serve.
  • We believe the communities we serve, though low in economic resources, are rich in resources and we are confident everyone involved has gifts to contribute and will do so generously.
  • We believe in creating expectations tailored to individual students, and in the power of a community of  “fictive kin” to encourage everyone to succeed.
  • We are committed to Kid City as a transformative program that ultimately impacts extended families and communities, as it allows students to dream and become self-empowered leaders.

Join our KC Alumni Network  


Above, Kid City alum, Gladwin Osakwe, tells the story of how he came to Kid City. Thank you to Gladwin and the filmmaker Kobi Essilfie for this video !

Click here for more Kid City videos! 

Kid City... where “leadership is taking responsibility for the things you care about.”

Take a look at our Kid City facebook page for current news.

Programs include:

  • College Access  Personal statement workshops, SAT study groups, college visits, mentoring, FAFSA help, and more has combined to help get nearly 200 students enrolled in college. 
  • College Persistence  With growing numbers of kids in college, Kid City is piloting a college persistence program that includes writing preparation, study skills workshops, support groups, online support, and connecting students to on-campus resources.
  • Job Training  Kid City offers an extensive 18 hour job training that culminates in mock job interviews and results in a Work Readiness Certificate awarded by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Further training is available for students who wish to volunteer and intern with Kid City, the Urban Foundation, and other partner organizations.
  • Leadership  Kids learn leadership in many ways at Kid City, including planning and producing an annual festival and fundraiser that takes place in the parking lot in August. Kids make arcade games, sell homemade pupusas and mangoladas, dunk their teachers and their friends, and perform with the Kid City band. Check out our Splash of LA 2016 photo gallery! 
  • Music and other arts are a big part of academic enrichment programs at Kid City. Kid City offers music lessons to students at all levels, and has its very own band. Learn more about the music program! Contact [email protected] if you would like to book the band! Help us get ready for 2020 & check out our wish list!

Kid City... make it your city too.

Kid City is not just for kids. It’s a great place for mentors and volunteers to find joy and inspiration. Be a part of Kid City: join our mailing list, mentor a high school student in and through college, participate in our events as a guest-speaker on a career or college panel, and tell others about our work. You’ll find Kid City a wonderful experience, no matter how you decide to participate.

We are growing!

Other churches and organizations have asked us to help start similar programs, or expand existing ones. We have the infrastructure, knowledge base, and passion to do it! But we can’t do it alone, and we need regular, ongoing support from people who share our vision. Please help!

  • Provide a challenge grant to help us recruit new donors and fund our programs.
  • Donate, and invite others to make a one-time or recurring monthly donation on our Donate page.
  • Give an internship to, or mentor a college-bound student.
  • Volunteer in your area of expertise or interest.
  • Donate laptops, musical instruments, or a 15-passenger van.

Thanks to our supporters!

Kid City is a program of the Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation and First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles. It has received funding from First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles, the United Methodist Women of First UMC, Justice and Compassion Ministries of the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Vesper Society, the California Wellness Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Annenberg Foundation, California Community Foundation, All Ways Up Foundation, ECMC Foundation, Capital Group Companies, FoxGives of 21st Century Fox, Living Into the Future Foundation, and many generous individual and business donors.

Kid City's music program is supported in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. It is open to all, regardless of religion.


Advisory Board

Sheri Dunn Berry
Community Partners
Gaile Price
East Los Angeles Community College
Michele Dunbar, Ph.D.
Whittier College
Ted Ramirez
United Methodist Federal Credit Union
Lincoln Johnson, Ed.D.
California State Department of Corrections
Jane Rosenthal, Ed.D.
USC Keck School of Medicine

Lisa Tinker

Rev. Kelvin Sauls



Executive Director Anne Hawthorne 

Anne Hawthorne
Urban Foundation Executive Director
Salvador Sanchez
Program Director
Kwesi Essilfie
Program Coordinator - Postsecondary Programs
Colin Deas
Program Coordinator - Music & Arts

Pedro Larios
Program Coordinator - High School Programs

Ben Garcia
Program Coordinator, JW

William McKeithen
Math Tutor

Christy Illescas
Coordinator - Communications and Development



Splash   In partnership with First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles, Kid City Hope Place was launched in the fall of 2008 as Kid City South Park (our neighborhood) an afterschool program for children and youth between six and 17-years-old. It has evolved into a year-round program extended to high school and college students. Academic enrichment activities include: after-school tutoring, activities like chess club, science days, field trips, swimming lessons, music, dance, and art for all ages. College access program includes SAT study groups, personal statement workshops, mentoring through the college admissions process, FAFSA and financial aid workshops, high level math support, college visits, and college and career special events. We are now piloting several different college persistence models, including online support; a support group for students from local community and commuter colleges; and we have linked up our UCI students with the Irvine University United Methodist Church, which is providing fellowship and a safety net for students there.