Coming to my City Hearts class is my most important keeps me happy when things are going hard at school. My grades are better and now I like going to school. - City Hearts Student


As a result of participation in City Hearts programs, our students

  • make choices away from gangs and drugs
  • transform negative behavior patterns into constructive energy outlets
  • experience joy in learning with increased motivation and a desire for self-discipline
  • set higher education goals for themselves
  • and interact in more positive ways with family, peers, and school engagement.

 I like how I speak loudly and how I am not shy. - City Hearts Student


City Hearts students are children ages 5-18 in the economically distressed neighborhoods of South and East Los Angeles, Compton, Pacoima, Sylmar, and San Fernando.

Many of our students are first-generation, and are predominantly Latino (69%) and African-American (19%). 100% of the families make less than 50% of area median income, with an average income below $12,000/year.

Homelessness is a critical issue for over 15%, others live in low-income housing or transitional homes. 93 to 99% qualify for free breakfast/lunch programs.

I told my family about how I explain my emotion and how City Hearts helped me show my feelings. - City Hearts Student


Research is vast and compelling regarding the benefits of arts learning for brain development.

  • Arts training has been shown to be superior to computer instruction in enhancing abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science, and facilitates the ability to read.
  • Education in the arts develops vital visual-spatial skills, critical thinking, decision-making, constructed learning and, improves health.
  • Adults who receive arts training as children have a higher involvement in civic engagement, extracurricular activities, volunteerism, voting, and professional careers.

Here are some wonderful stories and work from students in Brian Nieman's

 Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life photography class!