Since 1996, Kid Watch has mobilized volunteers to provide safe passage for over to 9,000 neighborhood children as they walk to and from school, local parks, museums and libraries, and other neighborhood areas.
The Kid Watch volunteers, vetted by the university and the police department, are more than just passive onlookers. Their homes – displaying the Kid Watch logo in black and yellow – are safe havens where children can go.
By helping students feel safe, it improves the quality of K-12 education and the quality of life for neighborhood children and their families. By mobilizing residents and other stakeholders to “watch and report,” it also helps reduce crime, bullying, and pedestrian-vehicle contact, thereby improving public safety.
(A part of the University Park Campus served as the site of a faux disaster to help community members apply what they had learned in a seven-week emergency preparedness course. April 25, 2014)
USC Kid Watch partners throughout the year with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Southwest Division, Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department (LAUSDPD), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), USC Department of Public Safety (DPS), USC Civic Engagement, and the USC Family of Schools. In the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year, USC Kid Watch expanded their Safety Partners. The new partners include USC Fire Safety and Emergency Planning, City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, and the City of Los Angeles Fire Department.
Using these new partnerships, Kid Watch will continue to conduct Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) to further build its organizational capacity for dealing with contingencies such as earthquakes and fires by building teams and mobilizing community members.
“Besides being a form of protection for their children, Kid Watch provides parents with a connection to their schools and communities, and opportunities to build their networks,” said Bertrand Perdomo-Ucles, program coordinator. “The goal is to make our community more prepared for all types of safety issues. I also want to help the volunteers who are helping us, by giving them access to university resources they can use to develop new skills and be empowered in return for their volunteer service.”
USC Kid Watch Appreciation Day
May 17th, 11 am – 3 pm
at the USC Community House
2801 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles
USC Kid Watch 2801 South Hoover Street Los Angeles, CA 90089 (213) 743-5262
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Since 1996, Lou Edwards has watched countless children from his front porch almost every weekday morning and afternoon as they go to and from school. He began doing so after Los Angeles and USC police identified the safest routes to and from school for children in the University Park neighborhood. That route passed by Edwards’ home. A retiree, he became one of KID WATCH’s first 25 volunteers and still safeguards the neighborhood each day.
“I’m always outside gardening, planting vegetables, or working in the garage,” said Edwards, who lives near West Jefferson Boulevard and South Normandie Avenue, where, he says, conditions have improved in the last decade. “So, I watch out for the kids at the same time.”
Edwards, who said he always has been active in the community, plans to continue being a part of Kid Watch “as long as I’m here. I just want to make the community safe for kids going to school, and let them know that they have someone watching over them.”