We had the good fortune of connecting with Kira Nashed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kira, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I have the honor of helping the Los Angeles community through providing mental health resources to underserved youth. As a school psychologist, I started working in lower socioeconomic status (SES) areas in order to help bridge the gap between lower SES and lower academic achievement. I wanted to help steer students away from the school to prison pipeline. The school to prison pipeline refers to systemic setbacks that result in directing students away from academic success into the juvenile system. I observed good students who simply struggled with their own version of generational trauma and as hard as they tried to make life changes, there was not enough resources in the community or role models to help them succeed in unlearning negative patterns. I created Amal Center (amal means “hope” in Arabic) as a space to empower at risk youth by principally focusing on healing the mind. Through customized trauma informed therapy, mentorship, and wellness resources, services are provided to help young individuals evolve into independent, healthy leaders that are free from the complexities of the juvenile justice system.
What should our readers know about your business?
Amal Center is a diversion program that provides trauma informed therapy, mentorship, and wellness resources to at risk youth. We are connected to LA schools and probation officers in order to get referrals in helping our youth.. At the start, it was very difficult gaining clients since it was very new and when the pandemic hit not too many organizations wanted to bring in a new vendor to provide services even if it was remote since there needs to be a background check etc. With some persistence and prayer, doors opened up in connecting with different principals, probation officers, and juvenile justice advocates in gaining more clients. I truly believe in the power of prayer any time I hit a roadblock I prayed and things divinely opened up. It’s so simple, yet powerful and it is the greatest tool that I can share with the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them on a drive down PCH towards Venice Beach to explore the street vendors and great music. Head to Santa Monica Pier to check out the rides and food trucks. I would do lunch in Pacific Palisades at Gladstones. I would end up back in Long Beach put some skates on and skate through the boardwalk. In the evening, I would go to Perch in Downtown LA for some dessert and live music.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My students for inspiring me to create Amal Center, family; especially my parents who encouraged me to take risks and pursue higher education, and Roads of Success, a nonprofit organization that guided me in taking a leap of faith in starting my own nonprofit at a young age.
Instagram: @kik0o0 & @amal_center_
DCWB Productions & Jonathan Cortes