The founders of IntheCity (ITC) lived in an apartment complex in the neighborhood of Lincoln Heights. Gangs, drugs, and violence riddled the alley that connected their apartment complex to another building. One evening in the summer of 2006, a spontaneous game of catch between neighbors turned into a football game. Kids and adults occupied the alley until 1am that night – an unprecedented experience. Every night that summer, this small community of teens and adults took over the space with their play, essentially reclaiming their turf. The alley was no longer the hangout spot for gangs, drug transactions, loitering, and violent crime; it was transformed into a positive, social place for residents to interact and hang outside again. New friendships were forged, and a real sense of community was created. In just one summer of football, the founders built deep relationships with their neighbors and witnessed the power that residents harbor for change. ITC was birthed out of a desire to see more of this power unleashed.
We fundamentally believe that the best solutions to the challenges facing underserved communities are found in the very people who live there. But, the systemic lack of equity and access for children and families from low-income neighborhoods often breeds hopelessness, affecting their ability to visualize alternative futures for themselves and their communities.
Many conversations with neighbors only kept highlighting the severe inequity in access and resources they were experiencing. Specifically, the most prominent concerns from parents were low academic achievement and inadequate, fragmented social support. In 2007, the founders began the nonprofit incorporation process to better serve the needs of, and come alongside, these neighbors and friends they love. ITC has since expanded from the alley to the local high school and elementary campus, to embolden students and their families toward the change they want to see for themselves and their community.