Empower, Educate & Encourage Vulnerable Children and Families
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.
Project Joy was awarded California Non-Profit of the Year in 2019 for the 21st Senate District (nominated by Senator Scott Wilk). This affirms our program design and sustained impact in the community.
We are a partner agency with the national iFoster organization and helped launch the inaugural TAY AmeriCorps program, in 2019, as a leading host site, which reached close to 100 foster youth in the Antelope Valley and bridged them to supportive services, educational and employment resources. Our impact is based on a peer specialist outreach model, where foster youth are hired, trained in leadership and 21st Century job skills, and assist with program design and implementation to reach their peers in need.
Project Joy is strongly rooted in community education and outreach with collaboration and partnerships including lead agencies in the area, including our America’s Job Center of California, LA County Department of Mental Health and Department of Public Health, and local area homeless shelters for domestic violence and TAY (transitional age youth).