Empower LV was founded in April 2012 by Dr. Sandra Leon-Villa, Ph.D. The organization was developed based on her experience in the mental health field working with children involved with Department of Family Services. Dr. Leon-Villa is a licensed psychologist with over 14 years of experience in the mental health field, specializing in trauma and comprehensive psychological evaluation. During her work, she learned that disadvantaged families lack access to quality services and that most of the children seen in her office struggled academically and did not participate in any extra-curricular activities outside of school.
Did you know...that racial/ethnic minority children and families, particularly those with economic disadvantages, are more likely to experience stressful and traumatic experiences? These experiences result in negative effects on the way that we view ourselves, the world, and others, in addition to changes in brain structure/development and physical responses. Often, these changes result in internalizing (e.g., anxiety, depression, inattention, problems concentrating, etc.) and externalizing (e.g., anger, impulse control problems, defiance, and substance abuse) problems. Research indicates that physical activity has been associated with improved academic achievement, mental and behavioral health. In other words, physical activity can improve the overall well-being of our children.
Equity vs. Equality: Equality means treating everyone the same. That is, equally. However, Equity means to give everyone what they need in order to be successful. Empower LV seeks to minimize health disparities among disadvantaged groups by creating access to services that promote healthy social, physiological, and psychological development. Therefore, we seek to create access to services including high quality and competitive sports, tutoring, mental and behavioral health services that promote wellness because health is not the absence of disease but rather, overall wellbeing.
Empower LV is an organization that seeks to empower families within our community by providing services that are inaccessible for a large portion of our population. Empower was granted 501(c)(3) in June 2014. Since then, our efforts have been focused on program development and planning. Children and their families receive education about the body-mind connection and the importance of a holistic approach to wellbeing. Children who benefit from any of our core programs are eligible to receive any and all of the services provided under Empower LV.
OUR MISSION is to EMPOWER our community using a holistic approach through youth and family services that enhance emotional, physical, and mental health as well as academic performance.