Having volunteered for Maravilla Foundation in the 70's and early 80's, I have witnessed firsthand its extraordinary growth, from a single-issue agency operating a gang prevention program out of a one room office, to an organization which has taken on the challenges of our communities with such effectiveness that they have earned the reputation of being one of the most successful community-based organizations in the state of California.
Senator Richard Polanco (ret.)
Former Senate Majority Leader
|History and Accomplishments - Page 2|
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Getting Into Energy
The 1980s started as a difficult time for CBOs across the country. During a time when federal programs designed to assist low income people were dramatically reduced, CETA, the Comprehensive Employment Training Act, was slashed almost in half, causing the loss of more than 50% of CBO base funding, including that of Maravilla. Many service providers did not survive the drastic reductions in funding and were forced to close their doors. This forced many to recognize that the programs we had been administering for years were not going to last forever— and compelled us to find ways to become self-sufficient. Maravilla was forced to look beyond the traditional to find ways to keep the company afloat and still fulfill its mission to its community. In 1983, the company’s leadership found a way when it sought contracts for weatherization services geared toward low income households. Funding was ordered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and administered by Southern California Gas. These programs have allowed thousands of homes to be weatherized and opened a new avenue of service in this new and innovative field. A decade that began on a perilous course for Maravilla ended with a United Way sponsorship and more opportunities to serve than before.
Rededication to Our Youth
Maravilla has never forgotten its original mission—to provide opportunities to gang and at-risk youth. From 1983 until June 2000, Maravilla offered a wide variety of services to L.A. County youth through the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). On July 1, 2000, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) replaced JTPA. WIA offers federally-funded employment and training, literacy and vocational programs. In order to best serve the community’s young people, Maravilla in 2000 developed the Maravilla Teen Center, a state of the art facility with class rooms, a computer lab with internet access, a library, game room, and other amenities that make it an ideal place for youth to congregate. It houses workshops, one on one mentoring, and special presentations by outside experts. The Maravilla Teen Center plays a crucial role in offering long-term guidance to community youth most in need.
Creation of Southland Energy Systems
Southland Energy Systems is a for-profit environmental control agency, formed in 1994, as a means to provide similar health-hazard reduction and energy and housing rehabilitation services that Maravilla Foundation offers… to people who do not meet the stringent income guidelines necessary to be serviced by Maravilla. Among the services provided by Southland Energy Systems are home rehabilitations, furnace repairs and installations, weatherization measures, appliance replacement and repairs, installation of evaporative coolers, air conditioning and window air conditioners, as well as complete lead abatement services including inspections, monitoring, and work-plan designs. One of the first agencies of its kind to receive state certification, Southland Energy Systems employees are specially trained to meet all EPA and HUD training protocols. Since its creation, Southland has helped thousands of families substantially lower their energy costs and has become a leader in health hazard reduction and environmental controls.