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Futures Fund Receives Grant from Charles Lamar Family Foundation to Empower Baton Rouge Teens

The Walls Project is thrilled to announce that the Charles Lamar Family Foundation has awarded a generous grant of $25,000 to support the Futures Fund and its transformative teen programs, JOLTcon and Culture Club. This funding will significantly enhance our efforts to provide educational enrichment and vital social connections to high school students in North Baton Rouge.

Expanding Culture Club Afterschool Program

The Culture Club Afterschool program, which is hosted at Scotlandville Magnet High School and Capitol High School, is a comprehensive initiative that brings together various elements of The Walls Project. The program includes:

  • Visual Arts & Campus Improvement Projects

  • Futures Fund Technology Sessions

  • Hustle & Grow Gardening and Healthy Living

  • OneRouge Civic Engagement

  • PBIS Enrichment and Entertainment Events

These activities aim to support school performance and foster community engagement. The pilot programs at both campuses have hosted an average of 30 students and contribute to Positive Behavior Intervention & Support programs, rewarding positive school environments, lowering truancy/absenteeism, and reducing behavioral referrals with fun, student-designed events such as mini-concerts and splash days held twice a semester.

Transforming Futures Fund with JOLTcon

Futures Fund has evolved to include Fall and Spring JOLTcon workshops and competitions at Southern University. These events are integrated into our Culture Club Afterschool media arts and technology programs, providing students with opportunities to learn new hard and soft skills in technology, digital media, entrepreneurship, and teamwork. Each JOLTcon event attracts approximately 70 teens from North Baton Rouge high schools.

JOLTcon workshops are themed, helping students understand specific topics, prepare for pitch competitions, and develop skills to design innovative solutions. The competitions culminate in a $500 cash prize for the best pitch, fostering a spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship among participants.

Addressing Critical Needs

The Walls Project targets areas where services and programs are scarce or unaffordable, particularly in communities with residents who are in the ALICE population (asset-limited, income-constrained, employed). By connecting youth with essential resources, we aim to enhance the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

To date, the Futures Fund and Culture Club have trained over 4,000 people in creative arts and technology. The lack of technological knowledge often leads to low-paying, dead-end jobs or unemployment. With technology sector jobs offering up to 76% higher wages, IT education, workforce development, and real-world paid work experiences are crucial for impoverished segments. Futures Fund strives to build a more equitable economy with access for all, strengthening the economy as a whole.

The Collaboration’s Impact on the Community

We would like to thank the Charles Lamar Family Foundation for the many years of support of our Futures Fund youth program. The foundation's initial grant aimed to create a photo archive of North Baton Rouge, now displayed at Exxon. Our work continues with support from the Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation, focusing on transforming the 70802 zip code. Students in high schools served will have opportunities to create photo archives of their neighborhoods, participate in blight remediation, and engage in placemaking arts and urban agriculture programs.

The latest photo archive project, launched during MLKFest 2024 in partnership with GGI Institute, revitalized prior public art projects, cleaned up over two dozen city blocks, and expanded our urban farm and garden footprint in the Eden Park neighborhood.

A Brighter Future Ahead

The $25,000 grant from the Charles Lamar Family Foundation marks a significant milestone in our journey to empower Baton Rouge teens. With continued support and collaboration, the Futures Fund and Culture Club will keep transforming lives, building a stronger, more inclusive community for all.

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