For seven weeks, from October 3 to November 17, 12 youth participated in KYCC Prevention Education’s MacArthur Park Community Initiative (MPCI) Autumn Leadership Program. Over the course of the internship, youth interns were empowered to strengthen their leadership skills by educating the community about the known risks and dangers of the consumption of smoke and other substances.

The purpose of this program is to give youth the opportunity to get involved in the community, allowing them to get a hands-on chance to make a change and encouraging them to continue doing so in the future! By the end of this internship, youth are more knowledgeable of prevention techniques & strategies, receive professional and life-skills development, and attain valuable work experience at a non-profit organization. Additionally, they also learn skills in youth advocacy, prevention education, and community event programming.  

The internship also encompassed learning about substances, the risks and dangers of the consumption of drugs, and their relevance to an applicable problem at MacArthur Park. In the development of the Prevention Specialist skill set, interns reflected on the issue of smoking at MacArthur Park. This involved learning about city policies and their politics, the process of enacting such policies, and their participation in a petition signing event for more “No Smoking” signage around MacArthur Park.

The MacArthur Park Community Initiative is funded by the Sierra Health Foundation to reduce the use and exposure of smoke in youth between the ages of 12-26 in the Macarthur Park/Westlake neighborhood. This was the program’s second internship following the Summer Leadership Program (SLP). 

One of the youth interns said “My favorite part was the 5K marathon where we also got the chance to petition for more no smoking signs for the park.” 

Another student stated, “I found this to be a really interesting and great service to our community. My goal was to make a positive impact to my community and I felt like this time I actually met my goal.” 


The program concluded with the hosting of an intern-planned community outreach event that invited community members to learn more about KYCC and the work it does. KYCC encourages people to work together to help out the park. If everyone comes together and plays a part, MacArthur Park can receive the change it deserves. 

To learn more about KYCC’s Prevention Education program and MacArthur Park Community Initiative, click here