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Center For Living and Learning

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Employment Preparation & Procurement, Job Training

Mission: To improve lives by assisting individuals transitioning from rehabilitation or with barriers to employment, into the workforce so that they may become contributing members of society.

Results: Over 150 apprentices have received paid job and computer training. CLL's job search program boasts a success rate of 74% this past year, in assisting those obtain employment who completed the job search preparation course.

Target demographics: Individuals with barriers to employment in the Los Angeles area, including those transitioning from drug rehabilitation, prisoner re-entry programs, welfare to work and youth at risk.

Direct beneficiaries per year: The disadvantaged clients served, CA Dept. of Corrections and local treatment centers.

Geographic areas served: San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Area

Programs: Apprentice Program and Job Search Assistance Program

Community Stories

95 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came from prison to here at center4 living/learning. They help me get into cri help drug rehab. I owe them my life for what they have done for me. before completing cri help, they offered me a job here. they have done everything under the sun to help me like, like myself no one ever has. as well I've had the opportunity to watch them help others .

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Living & Learning is one of the great resources we have in Los Angeles to assist people reentering their communities from prison and jail. Gaining employment is one of the keys to helping people stay out of incarceration and CLL is focused on getting and keeping people employed.

Jennifer-Jonathan L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Homeless Navigator and work to assist hundreds of homeless people every year.
The Center for Living and Learning provides an amazing service helping very challenged
Individuals to return successfully to full employment . I know that if a client accesses their
Resume services - they are on the way to getting a great job . The people they help have
fantastic true life experiences changing their lives and achieving their goals .

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

At one point I was an part of CLL, first as an apprentice, then as a mentor. I can vouch that this program saves lives. In my case, it gave me the drive to, and the resources to achieve my goals and dreams of becoming an attorney. Without them I would not be where I am today. They helped me understand that a criminal conviction is not an automatic bar. I hope that this charity is able to help countless others through their programs.

Elaine19

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came to CLL in October 2012. I was broken and inside ready to make change. I was greeted by the staff with encouraging words. They assisted me in preparing a resume and complete a job search. The energy level of the staff raised my enthusiasm I began to feel better about myself and my situation. I was given choices I had no idea I ever had. On December 20 I was given an enrollemnt into the apprentice prorgram. I'm still to this day working at CLL. Spreading the message of hope can be seen here in our office.




Client Served

Rating: 5

Through AB109 and my residential rehab, I attended and completed a program at The Center of Living and Learning focused on re-entering the workforce. The employment program taught me the tools I needed to get hired and keep a job. I learned interview skills, how to write my resume, and was assisted with job searching. Upon completion of this program, I was fortunate to get hired at the Center of Living and Learning as an apprentice. The apprentice program has taught me basic office skills and given me the opportunity to return to the workforce in an amazing environment. I get to daily help those who are in the same position I was in a year ago, homeless and in recovery.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This program has been very helpful by providing me with a resume, job interview training, and mock interviews. Allowing me to use the computers for job searching and staff been very helpful which is condusie to job hunting and employment avuistion. I recommended that anybody that has barriers to employment and or obstacles can come to Center for Living and Learning and be assisted and actually find a job. (you need this)

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was referred to the center for living and learning through Hope of the Valley, I was homeless, jobless in need of employment as well as getting help with a new resume, interviewing skills and job readiness. The staff was awesome, they even picked me up and dropped me off and gave me bus tokens to get to job interviews. I was very insecure to become employed since I hadn't worked for several years. The staff motivated me to think positive and helped me to see the positives in my self for future employment. I learned how to interview and became an aggressive job seeker, sending out resumes and calling job leads all day. I am so excited to say I have just become employed full time and its all due to the wonderful staff here at the center for living and learning ! Im now on my way to a new life and a new career!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was introduced to the center for living and learning during a job search phase through a local treatment center. I was apprehensive about the whole job search process, because I had so many employment barriers against me. Years ago I could find a job within a couple of days, but in today's job market I found it to be very competitive and a lot more challenging. I didn’t know where to begin. My first priority was building a resume that would get me an interview. I had major gaps in my employment history, and the facts of my previous employment weren’t very clear anymore. The staff at the Center helped me with every detail. Together we created a resume that I was proud of. They also offered to create various types of resumes so my scope could be larger when picking out positions to apply for. Another concern of mine was answering those tough interview questions. Again with their one on one guidance, mock interviews, and reviewing commonly asked interview questions....helped me immensely in the interview. I was confident in my answers, I didn’t stumble on my words, I was prepared. I started seeing some hope, and my confidence was building. I did end up with 3 job offers in the same week. One of them being part of the Apprenticeship program here at the Center. I chose the Apprenticeship program. I can't explain how happy I've been about this decision. I've never worked for a company that pushes so hard for my personal growth and success. It's up to me and how much effort I put in what's being offered, because the support is here. My life has gradually been improving and today I see myself with a solid career somewhere down the road. I absolutely believe that road began when I walked through these doors at the Center for living and Learning.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I owe my furture to the Center for Living and Learning .This program has helped me in more ways, then words could ever express! It's taught me how to live in society and stay out of prison. There also assiting me with getting my GED and survive skills. I know more about computers now then I ever have due to the Living and Learning Center. One of my goals in life has been to go back to school and I'm starting that now, because of the encouragement I've gotten from the Living and Learning Center.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been aware of the Living and Learning Center for 10+ years and while I worked as a counselor in the Drug Treatment field referred many a client to The Living and Learning. These clients learned how to engage in community, learned resume writing, basic computer skills ie excell, outlook, data entry dealing. By working with the public regarding car donations self esteem building took place naturally, these clients also learned to have integrity in their life. Many obtained full time employment as a result of being clients at The Living and Center and have gone on to promotions in those jobs. As confidence built many also chose to return to school obtaining degrees. Thank you Living and Learning Center.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I (Phillip Williams) received job searching assistance to the fullest from the employees at the Center for living and learning. I also received help in finding affordable housing within my budget. The employees were courteous, respectful and willing to listen to my point of views concerning moving forward in a peaceful, productive and humble way. I appreciate they're presence.

Review from Guidestar

1 jenniferroseoverton

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been with the Center for Living and Learning for a year now and I can honestly say they have changed my life in a profound way and I don't know where I would be without this program and the people who make it possible. I came to them from the Welfare to work program, my ex-husband was in prison and I was struggling to make ends meet for myself and our baby girl with no family and an overwhelming feeling of failure. I was depressed and lost and I didn't know where to go or who to turn to. I grew up with no guidance or direction and now I had to figure it all out for myself and my daughter. It was a very scary place to be as a mother knowing this little life I helped create was depending on me to not only take care of her but guide her in a direction that will later on teach her how to survive in society and succeed. I don't think people even realize what a place like the Center really does for people like me and our families. They have made me a better person and most importantly a better mother. I went from being helpless and alone to being independed with a support system that I never imagined. It’s not just a job or just another program the people that make it all possible become family and it becomes a place that is not only educational but safe to be who you are and learn at your own pace without anyone placing judgment. With the Center for Living and Learning I can now teach my daughter by example of what it takes to be a strong, confident and successful woman knowing it’s not about where you have come from or who you came from but about where you’re going and who you become.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center for Living and Learning and it's staff are life-changers!! Everyone there is professional, knowledgeable, encouraging and immensely helpful. I would definitely recommend their services and advocate that resources in our community contribute to their cause. I have an education and diverse work history and needed the professional insight and feedback from the staff at Living and Learning to inspire a new direction in life, both personally and professionally. Their work space fosters productivity and they provide current / relevant resources (ie: MS Office 2010, Adobe, Software Tutorials, Resume Assistance, Job Leads, etc). I am so very grateful for the Center for Living and Learning and hope to give back what they so generously did for me!!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was seeking employment and was refereed to the Center for Living and Learning. The staff there was excellent and assisted me on a one on one basis when I went through thier job search program which was helpful to me. I have been employed shortly thereafter for four years. This organization was different to other organizations I went to for assistance because of the one on one atteentention I recieved. I was not very computer literate and needed assistance with job searching, the staff took the time to walk me through it and show me how to do it properly. Other places I went to told me that they were just resources and could not help me and I had a time limit to use those resources that were available. At the Center all the staff works together to help the clients in every possible way.

Review from Guidestar

Forthose W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience as a Client far exceeded my expectations, it is incredible how the staff keeps a professional environment as a Client is learning how to find jobs and at the same time sets an example of how to behave and how a Professional environment should be. That helps a lot when someone goes to an interview and successfully cause a great impression with a future employer, as professionalism shows since one cross the door. Without the Center For Living and Learning I wouldn't be able to find a job that suits my needs and skills. I deeply appreciate the help I received for the Center For Living and Learning to find the path for success for the rest of my life.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Iam very greatfull for the center! everyone there is very helpfull! they are helping me get my life back on track!! thankyou

Raymond B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

From the moment I walked through the door I knew this would be the first day of the rest of my life. The members of the staff immedately made me feel like I could do something, with their insight on my hidden abilities they put me right to work. I have come a long way since I started this program, such as email, websited, photos and most important of all jobs. Thanks for your guidance and support.
Raymond Allen Burlew III

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience with this organization first began when I was brought in as a consultant to screen participants in order to determine whether they were eligible for the services and training available through the Center. Immediatley I knew that this was a special program, only because of the attitude and feedback I received from the apprentices. Almost to a person they exhibited a very deep sense of appreciation and commitment to what they were about to begin. These were people who very well may have been written off by most agencies, but that is the mission of this program, to help those written off by many, including employers, family members, and society at large. It was very apparent that there was something special at CLL.

I have worked in non-profit social services for over twenty years and have come across many, many programs which span the spectrum in regards to their values, their modus operandi, ethics, etc.
CLL distinguishes itself as a solid program. I must say that it all begins as a result of the amazing work and intuitions of the two women working tirelessly, Maria Alexander, Executive Director, and her office manager, Rhonda C. Much of what goes on at CLL is untangible, not really seen, but felt when you walk in to their office. There are a million "little miracles" happening all the time. These are people who give HOPE and PURPOSE to those who might not have had it before. If you have never been at a place in your life where there was no hope, than you probably wouldn't understand. For those who have been there, and have been shown a better way, then you know what I am talking about.

I know that car donation programs might have a bad reputation to some, but I can tell you without any hesitation that this program is completely above board. My reputation is important to me, and I would not associate with program that exploits its participants, or practices any other type of unethical behavior. This program saves lives. It also saves society money as the apprentices become productive-tax paying members of society. I totally support the Center for Living and Learning and the good work that they do.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Center for Living has been my tenant in a commercial office building I own in Van Nuys, California, since June, 2000. I am a lawyer by profession and have seen some amazing things happen with those involved in Center for Living programs. One of the most important lessons I have re-learned is that you can't judge a book by its cover. As a landlord who needs to keep his office building full, one wouldn't think that a group of recovering drug and alcohol addicts would make very good tenants. If I had bet against them, I would have missed out on an opportunity to know some really special and highly motivated people.

It has become apparent that those involved in the program offered by Center for Living want to succeed. If they truly strive to succeed, they remain in the program. If not, they are asked to leave.

A prime example of why one shouldn't judge a book by its cover was an individual I observed to be a very tough looking and heavily tattooed man that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. I initially met Billy when he first arrived as an apprentice in the job training program. Billy spent much of his life behind bars. My initial reaction was to judge him by his appearance but after getting to know him my impression changed completely. It can truly be said that Billy is a very capable and nice, a gentle man. In this program I watched him grow into a responsible position as a supervisor, helping others like himself seek employment. Today Billy is working in a very responsible position as a drug counselor for another progam.

I remember when Maria Alexander, now the Executive Director of Center for Living first came to the program many years ago. She appeared to be a very beaten and downtrodden woman starting out in the job training program. I recall her excitement when she scraped up the money to purchase her first used car, an old beat up jalopy. She was so proud of her car. A day later it was stolen from its parking place in front of our building. It seemed to Maria that in losing her car she had lost her whole world. She did recover quickly! It has been a privilege to watch her grow into the person in charge of this entire organization! Who would have ever guessed that would happen? Certainly not Maria. The stories could go on, but can be summed up with these words. Rarely have I seen such a diverse group of recovering addicts who came from horrendous situations, completely turn their lives around and become responsible and productive citizens.

I wouldn't hesitate to hire any one of these hardworking and responsible people. Hopefully society will view them in the same way.

Ron E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and I had not had a job in a while. My time in treatment was coming to an end and I was very scared. I have a very spotty work history along with felony convictions and I did not think I could find a job. I came to the Center for Living and Learning and the staff there taught me vital job search and interviewing skills. I applied to and was accepted to the apprenticeship program here at the Center. I have been here for 3 years, I completed the apprenticeship and was hired on as a mentor. I am now teaching those vital job search and interview skills to our new job search clients. I am very grateful to Alex and Rhonda for giving me the opportunity to become successful. I am in my 3rd semester at Los Angeles City College majoring in Human Services, Drug and Alcohol counseling.

John S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Coming out of prison and going into a treatment facility was a new experience for me, I had never really had a real job and was having a hard time looking for work. The Center hired me as an apprentice and helped me to aquire some much needed job skills. I improved on my typing skills and learned computer and office skills. While working here they helped me to clear up some legal problems that I had hanging over my head. I also got enrolled in college and found a job in the field that I want to work in, all in all, without The Center for Living and Learning I firmly believe that I would have ended up back in prison, instead of the responsible, productive member of society that I am today. Thank you

Marili

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi my name is Marili Sanchez. The Center for Living and Learning has helped me through all my legal matters during my first year of the program. I've gone from four legal matters down to one, which I'm currently completing my requirements now. I have learned alot in customer service and computer skills. I've now gone into the training program where I'll be able to gain management skills. I've struggled with my reading and writing, and the Center for Living and Learning provided me with a private tutor. With that help it's allowed me to grow within our charity. I'm so thankful to the Center for Living and Learning for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow and enlarge my vision and try new things, as well as giving me a second chance in life. I encourage my daughter everyday that all things are possible and never to be discourage.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Several years ago I was sitting in a prison cell feeling lost and hopeless. For the past 25 years or so, I was doing a life sentence on the installment plan, that is, I was in and out of jail and prison mainly due to substance abuse. As much as I hated to admit it this lifestyle had become a normal comfortable routine. When I thought about it I literally had lost my ability to function in society, and I just did'nt know how to live a normal life. My way of thinking was so twisted I actually "believed" that I would spend the rest of my life in prison and die there.
Today my whole life has changed! The Center for Living & Learning has, and is, playing a major role in restructuring my life. I am no longer on parole. And, for the first time in my life I was able to get a drivers license! Today I am able to be a giver rather than a taker. I don't have to make phone calls to my family from prison, at their expense, to request money or packages. I have become an asset when I was nothing more than a liability and a loser in the past. My deepest thanks to the Center for Living & Learning for the opportunity they gave me!

Nicole G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This Charity has helped transform me into a working class citizen. Alex and Rhonda have patiently guided me in a professional and positive direction!

Vanessa L. Bolton

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi my name is Vanessa Bolton I've been here at the Learning Center for a year and one month. I really have learned a lot of job skills that i never thought I could learn. I am getting my GED with the help of the Center. I'm very proud of myself. Plus, they have a job search program that really works if you work it. The Center 4 Living and Learning helped me a lot, I hope they are still around when my daughter starts looking for work.

Vanessa Bolton

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for Center for Living and Learning and I hope to continue to do so. The experience was outstanding. I was continually impressed by the way the Center was run by Executive Director Maria "Alex" Alexander, and, as a result, her benefactors. Every time i walked in the door I felt a sense of calm and warmth, not to mention productivity, seriousness of learning skills taking place, especially regarding business/office skills and computer, as well as a sense of colleagues’ professional yet genuine relationships. Alex never interfered in the learning process I volunteered for Center for Living and Learning and I hope to continue to do so. The experience was outstanding. I was continually impressed by the way the Center was run by Executive Director Maria "Alex" Alexander, and, as a result, her benefactors. Every time I walked in the door I felt a sense of calm and warmth, not to mention productivity, serious of learning skills taking place, especially regarding business/office skills and computer, as well as a sense of the colleague's professional yet genuine relationship. Alex never interfered in the learning process going on as I tutored program participants in things such as gaining the skills to pass their G.E.D. and, as they were inclined, availing themselves of my expertise in business writing and grammar, among other things I endeavored to help with. Each and every person I encountered at the Center met me with a smile and a welcoming sense of acceptance, as well as respect. During the time I worked there, I saw progress in all participants, even those I did not directly work with. Those I had informal conversations with consistently impressed me with their positive attitudes and desire to succeed, leaving behind often destructive and damaging lives to move ahead to betterment and growth. Center for Living and Learning offered an Education room with computers and software which had tutorials in the latest programs needed to succeed on the job market, and I always saw avid learners glued to the terminals volunteered for Center for Living and Learning and I hope to continue to do so. The experience was outstanding. I was continually impressed by the way the Center was run by Executive Director Maria "Alex" Alexander, and, as a result, her benefactors. Every time i walked in the door I felt a sense of calm and warmth, not to mention productivity, serious of learning skills taking place, especially regarding business/office skills and computer, as well as a sense of the colleague's professional yet genuine relationship. Alex never interfered in the learning process going on as I tutored the program participants in things such as gaining the skills to pass their G.E.D. and, as they were inclined, availing themselves of my expertise business writing and grammar, among other prowess. Each and every person I encountered at the Center met me with a smile and a welcoming sense of acceptance, as well as respect. During the time I worked there, I saw progress in all participants, even those I did not directly work with. Those I had informal conversations with consistently impressed me with their positive attitudes and desire to succeed, leaving behind often destructive and damaging lives to move ahead to betterment and growth. Center for Living and Learning offered an Education room with computers and software which had tutorials in the latest programs needed to succeed on the job market, and I always saw avid learners glued to the screen. Alex herself worked every moment I stopped by her office to say hello and she was always kind enough to chat with me, sharing her vibrant and impressive ideas, be it computer web page overhaul, public relations re-working, ways to increase revenue, how to help her protégés, or whatever it might be. Alex was always supportive of me and what I was trying to do. I've volunteered for many organizations but i can honestly say that this was up amongst the most rewarding and motivating experience. Center for Living and Learning deserves this recognition!!! Please feel free to contact me with any further questions .









2 Terry R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Coming to the Center for Living and Learning I was just out of treatment and on house arrest. My life was very unmanageable and I brought all my problems with me to the work place. CLL saw something in me, when I didn't see it in myself and kept me around. The Center for Living has taught me so much such as: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Frontpage and Quickbooks. I gained clerical, customer service, and management skills as well. CLL has been my stepping stone to a better life and I'm so thankful to them.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

True I am some what biased as I am a board member. I have worked in the non-profit field for the past 15 years and have rarely seen a program as dedicated to their mission statement as the Center. Without any resevations and with inside knowledge I can attest to the fact that all of the resources obtained by Center for Living and learning are used for client support.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Center for Living and Learning took me into their paid on the job training program as I was finishing drug treatment. Right before that I had been to prison. I was very afraid to go out and find work. CLL helped me get many job skills, a GED, dental assistance and alot more. The directors there helped me in so many ways and were real examples to me. Today I am drug free, I have a job and give back to those trying to get off drugs as well.