Education and Enrichment Program breaking down barriers to college for youth and adults who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education and help them chart their pathway to a college degree and a promising career.
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MISSION & OVERVIEW

Overview

Each year, the West Angeles Education and Enrichment Program serves around 500 youth and families, primarily black and Latino, in the heart of South Los Angeles along the Crenshaw District and its surrounding areas.

Beginning in 1991, as a faith-focused rite of passage program for West Angeles teens, this ministry has been reimagined to emphasize academic excellence and enrichment and has expanded its services beyond church members to include all community residents. Although faith-based, we serve families throughout Greater L.A. based on need, not creed.

Since we opened our doors to the community and refocused its efforts on academic success for minority youth, EEP has become one of the church’s largest community-based outreach programs where over 80 percent of all families served are unaffiliated with the church.

Year round, EEP offers a wide variety of extended learning opportunities to youth including programs for after-school tutoring, summer bridge courses, college admissions and financial seminars, and STEAM-based career exploration workshops.

Our programs build students’ academic competence, personal character, career aspirations, and community involvement. These elements of youth development form our 4Cs - competence, character, career, and community.

The volume and depth of our services has made our program a 360-degree enrichment resource that supports youth along their long-term school career from junior high classrooms, to college campuses, and career workplaces. EEP boasts a 100% high school graduation rate and an 90% college enrollment rate of our participating youth.

EEP serves as a leading social ministry of West Angeles Church and carries out two of the five pillars of the Urban Initiatives as envisioned by the Church of God in Christ International: educational equity and healthy families.

 

 

Our Mission

We break down barriers to college for youth and adults who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education and help them chart their pathway to a college degree and a promising career.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create a world where Southern California youth are nurtured to develop their talents and given an opportunity to reach the heights of what God has called them to be.

 

 

Testimonials from Parents and Students we’ve serviced

 
 
 
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Early Beginnigs

The History of West Angeles Education & Enrichment Program

 

When John Wilson moved from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles with his young family in 1982 to accept an aerospace engineering position at Hughes Aircraft, he had no idea that his calling would eventually lead him away from launching satellites toward launching the college dreams and careers of youth.

Soon after he arrived in the City of Angels, Wilson met with the then, Rev. Charles E. Blake. – a rising star within the growing black Pentecostal denomination of the Church of God in Christ.

Under Blake’s adept leadership, West Angeles had experienced remarkable growth and was planning its expansion from a modest chapel on West Adams Blvd. to a larger complex on Crenshaw Blvd. which would accommodate its burgeoning congregation.

During their first dinner together, Bishop Blake’s words left a lasting impact on Wilson. Blake shared his vision that West Angeles would become a cornerstone institution that served both the spiritual and social needs of the city’s historically black Crenshaw District.

West Angeles would become a cornerstone institution that served both the spiritual and social needs of the city’s historically black Crenshaw District.

Their meeting was more than a cordial conversation and an enjoyable meal – it marked a synchronization of two great minds. Both men believed that the church’s future rested on its commitment to meeting the needs of the whole man and the whole family.

Wilson became so active in the church that he was appointed to the West Angeles Deacon Board as one of its youngest members.

He also joined the church’s Men’s ministry, called the Brotherhood, which stressed the importance of male fellowship and boy’s mentorship. His first act of mentorship was as the founder and Head Coach of the church’s boys’ basketball team which competed in the city-sponsored sports league.

He leveraged the lessons that he learned from his own personal mentor – his high school basketball coach at Maranatha High – to transform a group of boys with untapped raw talent into a unified team that would eventually clinch the league’s championship title.

 
 

Wilson learned as much from coaching his players as they had learned from him. He began to rethink his life’s purpose – seeing himself as more than an engineer but also as a developer of young talent.

 

His calling was further confirmed in 1991 when he answered Blake’s commission to start a Rites of Passage program. This kind of youth program was becoming increasingly necessary as West Angeles attracted more and more young families to its doors.

For 10 years, Wilson oversaw the moral guidance of the church’s teens under Rites of Passage. But he discovered that they were also in serious need of life guidance. Many, faced academic failure in school and failed to enter college, which only crippled their prospects for promising careers. Those who struggled to find gainful employment were often caught in cycle of poverty or street life.

In response, Deacon Wilson turned the focus of his mentorship toward improving the educational achievement of inner-city youth – which he believed was the prerequisite of their success. From 2001, Wilson began to build an impressive range of educational programs at West Angeles that rivaled those of surrounding schools.

 
 

Using his love for math, he began the church’s first after school math tutoring program in 2001.

 

Wilson also partnered with LaVerne University’s Masters Academy in 2002 to prepare high school students for college. A year later, he launched the church’s first summer bridge program and in 2004, by partnering with Princeton Review, West Angeles became one of the test preparation giant’s few community-based training centers in California.

Today, the Education and Enrichment Program at West Angeles stands as one of the city’s select full-service academic enrichment programs and a leading, independent authority on affordable higher education options for families. From modest beginnings of serving a dozen of youth, EEP now serves over 500 families annually in through its five major programs.

Wilson’s passion for enriching the lives of youth is matched by the long-time friend, mentor and visionary of Charles E. Blake who has supported his call to social ministry.

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Meet The team

Our team members come from varied backgrounds and share eclectic interests. But one thing brings us together: our passion for serving youth and our communities. 

Our staff – which includes a blend of working professionals, college graduates and undergraduates – have impressive resumes and even bigger hearts. Through our interactions with families, we strive to create a safe, friendly environment where youth feel welcome to fellowship and learn. Collectively, our skills allow us to respond to the changing needs of our community and deliver high-value services to families.


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Deacon John Wilson – PROGRAM DIRECTOR

John H. Wilson, III became the fulltime Education and Enrichment Program (EEP) Director at West Angeles Church after earning his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from George Washington University and enjoying a 20-year career as an aerospace engineer.

Under his direction for nearly two decades, EEP has grown from modest math tutoring sessions to a noteworthy educational program that has provided year-round enrichment opportunities to thousands of youth, mostly non-members, from over 50 middle and high schools across Los Angeles County.

John’s vision to provide the best resources developed into a partnership with Princeton Review for SAT Prep classes; a Summer Algebra Institute for 6th through 9th graders; a Summer Bridge Program to enhance math, science and language skills; and a College Readiness Program to equip students for higher-learning.  He also established youth Life Skills Workshops and a Parent Institute to communicate vital information.

His region-wide outreach includes coaching math teachers and consulting with charter school staff to help them build strong math curriculums. John has also served on several community boards at El Camino Community College, received the El Camino Community Service Award in 2007, and the NAACP Man of Valor Award in 2006.

Great vision without great people is irrelevant.
— Jim Collins, Good to Great

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AMANDA NWAOPARA

Math & Science Instructor

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ERICA COPELAND

Programs & Community Relations

CHRISTINA WHITE

English Instructor

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VINCENT SELHORST - JONES

Math Instructor

 
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JASIRI LIGGINS

Math Instructor

 
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TALOR JOHNSON

Science & Spanish Instructor

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NICOLE JOHNSON

Program Coordinator

 
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NIA LIGGINS

English & Math Instructor

 
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WINTA STEFANOS

Science Instructor

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STEPHANIE BROWN

Math Instructor

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SIERRA WILLIAMS

English Instructor

 
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YARED YONAS

Math Instructor

Meet Our Partners