L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success


Edgar Aceituno, former employee turned owner of Express Sign and Neon
For more than 16 years, Edgar Aceituno worked as a general manager with Express Sign and Neon, a signage company based in South LA. When the owners announced that they were closing the business in 2020, the Pico-Union/Westlake BusinessSource Center (BSC) helped Edgar find the resources to buy the business and save the jobs of his eight co-workers.

Established in 1989, Express Sign and Neon was previously owned and operated by

Synovia Jones, the founder of Nobe's P.B. Foods
Synovia Jones is the founder of Nobe's P.B. Foods and a 2022 cohort member of the SEE-LA Seasoned Accelerator program. Synovia has been a part of the SEE-LA family for many years and was a long-time, beloved food vendor at the Crenshaw Farmers' Market.

Nobe's P.B. Foods caters and sells plant-based foods, including Synovia's unique and tasty vegan crab cakes. Nobe's P.B. Foods strives "to provide locally sourced, sustainable food options that are

(left, right and bottom) Para Los Niños YouthSource participants Fernando, Maggie and Stephanie
EWDD currently operates 14 YouthSource Centers (YSCs) that provide young Angelenos ages 16-24 life-changing services in underserved neighborhoods throughout the City and at no cost.

Below are three inspiring stories of change from Para Los Niños (PLN), which operates the Northeast and Central LA YouthSource Centers.

LA:RISE participant Robbie
Before enrolling in the LA:RISE Youth Academy, Robbie was homeless, unemployed, unhappy and confused.

“I felt depressed, overwhelmed and frustrated,” she said. “My family was worried about me. They wondered what I was going to do next. I was stressed out and losing weight.”

LA:RISE participant Yolanda pictured at her paid internship with the Pico Union Housing Corporation Puede Center
After watching her parents struggle to pay bills, Yolanda enrolled in the LA:RISE Youth Academy Program for employment training that would allow her to find a job to help out her parents.

Yolanda, 20, was placed at a paid internship at the Pico-Union Housing Corporation Puede Center, where she gained office experience, including answering phones, preparing reports and working well with people.

Siblings Linda Mejia (left) and Armando Mejia (center) are co-owners of Village Mart & Deli in the El Sereno neighborhood. Armando's daughter Riana Mejia pictured right.
EWDD provides Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC), which spearheads the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network (HNMN). The program assists neighborhood market owners to build the capacity to operate as successful healthy food retailers in underserved communities.

This financial support from the program allowed sibling team Linda and Armando Mejia, co-owners of the Village Mart & Deli, to expand healthy food options in

go to the page top