About Us

Our Mission is to Empower, Educate & Encourage
The most Promising Youth and Families.

Founded in 2014

Project Joy was founded Valentine’s Day 2014 and inspired by 9-year-old Joy who wanted to help a peer and her family who appeared to be homeless. Our first organized event was a TNT (Teddies N Toiletries) Drive at Joy’s elementary school in partnership with PTA. Over 300 stuffed animals were collected and distributed to area homeless shelters for Valentine’s day parties to spread love to youth.

We continue to operate from a peer-based and lived experience foundation, rooted in sharing resources and supplies, but always giving in a way that connects and uplifts.

Project Joy’s founder, Kim Watson, is the executive director and is committed to equipping youth for fulfilling careers and encourages them to pursue their dreams.

Project Joy is nationally certified by NCDA as a Certified Career Services Provider; certified domestic violence/sexual assault advocate; member of the FDIC Money Smart alliance for instruction and use of evidence-based curriculum in Financial Literacy for all ages.

The 3 Pillars of Project Joy

Project Joy operates under Three Strategic Pillars towards the aspirational goal of ending poverty and being a catalyst for a life full of joy.
YOUTH PROGRAM
FAMILY RESILIENCY
COMMUNITY POWER

Statistics

It is estimated that more than 5 million young people between the ages of 16 and 24 (15 percent of the total youth population) especially those who are more disadvantaged or a part of low income families, spend a significant portion of their time disconnected from work and school. Disconnected youth are more likely to be poor, to have academic difficulties, to suffer from mental health problems and/or substance abuse, to be involved in violence, and to be teen parents. Moreover, youth who are disconnected for three or more years suffer long-term consequences, such as lower incomes, lack of health insurance, and difficulty getting and keeping a job. In addition, young women who are disconnected for three or more years are more likely to receive continues government assistance than are their counterparts who have never been disconnected. Project Joy mission is to connect youth to resources that leveling up their skills to create new opportunities

In LA County 1:6 Youth are Disconnected from education and employment

Meet Our Team

Kim Watson
BA, CCSP, GCDF-Instructor Founder & Executive Director

Jalisa Burton
U.S. Coast Guard Veteran
Program Assistant

Derek Gordon
BA, MFA US Air Force Veteran
Project Coordinator/ Youth Team Leader

Project Joy impacts annually over 2,400 youth and individuals who are vulnerable or currently experiencing homelessness