Lincoln Height Tutorial Program, USA
Dennis Ortega is the Executive Director and Founder of the Lincoln Heights Tutorial Program (LHTP).
Born in East Los Angeles, Dennis grew up understanding the affect crime and gang activity has on the community. In 1985, after graduating college, he set out to ensure that children growing up in neighborhoods similar to his own could have the same opportunities to education that he had.
When LHTP began, it was not common for organizations to have after school tutoring. With the deepest issues concerning these communities being youth related (gangs, violence, crime, drugs, teen pregnancies, etc.), Dennis believed the healing and forward progress of the inner city would come from education and college preparation, raising up children in a new direction. His vision was to undermine the pipeline of children into gangs, by getting them excited about school in their younger years, and changing the direction of their lives.
Dennis worked for the County of Los Angeles as an Engineer during the day, and then ran the tutoring program and youth clubs in the afternoon. Once LHTP was incorporated as its own non profit 501(c)(3), Dennis was able to direct LHTP full time, hire staff, and began to hire key youth from the youth clubs to become the tutors and staff, instead of importing non inner-city staff from the college campuses. This helped fulfill the vision of raising up new role models from the community, that would also give back their knowledge to the next generation of children, while also acquiring the job skills and resume build.
LHTP grew from 20 students back in 1985, to now serving 1,110 children and teens, and through multiple sites, locations, and programs. Throughout the years, they’ve developed an extensive leadership training program, and a workforce training program that is fully integrated into their tutoring and youth club sites, all to assist their youth to prepare for college and careers. They also added a Summer Day Program to assist their families in providing enriching activities while school is not in session and added nutrition and wellness components to deal with the obesity issue of inner city life. LHTP continues to develop programs that serve their children, teens, and parents, and assist with the new issues that they face in each new decade.
You can help support Dennis Ortega and the Lincoln Heights Tutorial Program on June 8 at Vintage Hollywood. Purchase tickets, bid on an auction item, or make a donation! All net proceeds go to supporting our Local Heroes in Los Angeles.