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Billy Crystal grant boosts teen, young adult counseling program

Long Beach native Billy Crystal, shown on Jan.

Long Beach native Billy Crystal, shown on Jan. 18, 2015, made a grant in an undisclosed amount to help disadvantaged Long Beach teens and young adults. Photo Credit: Invision / AP / Richard Shotwell

Long Beach city officials and the Mineola-based Family and Children’s Association is using a grant from actor Billy Crystal to provide career counseling and job placement for teens and young adults.

The Long Beach Ladders to Success program focuses on helping disadvantaged youths between the ages of 16 and 24. City Manager Jack Schnirman said the city’s community development team is identifying opportunities through the Empower North Park initiative, which is designed to create opportunities for residents charting a career path.

Crystal, a Long Beach native, and his wife made an undisclosed donation to support the program. The funds are allocated specifically to focus on Long Beach youth skill training for jobs.

“When Jack Schnirman told us about the opportunity, Janice and I were excited to get involved,” Billy Crystal said in a statement. “We have seen firsthand the power that mentoring can have on young people’s lives, and this program can truly help those who need it most.”

The Family and Children’s Association offers assistance to families with emotional, social and economic challenges. The services will include vocational education, career coaching, case management, transitional housing and financial education.

Organizers are partnering with local universities, trade schools and employers.

Training is based at the Long Beach Martin Luther King Jr. Center and partners with community and religious organizations to recruit members.

“The ultimate goal of this program is to help young people transition into successful, independent adults with the capacity and confidence to lead productive lives,” Long Beach City Council President Len Torres said. “As an educator, I know the importance of helping young people thrive in our community.”

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