Last friday I was invited to an event at City Hall, in Los Angeles, celebrating the amazing success of a non-profit organization called Operation Progress, in Watts.  The success is due to the inspiring story of one police officer, and the partnership and community he created fifteen years ago.

Its founder, an unlikely source in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, a police officer in Watts. His name is John Coughlin, Boston born and bred from a nice family, who moved west to join the LAPD in 1995. Five years later he was tired, frustrated and sad from the violence and hopelessness he saw while on patrol. So he decided to do something about it.

In 2000, Officer Coughlin decided to turn his frustration into something that could help break the cycle of inner city  poverty.  This time his weapon was education. His idea was to mentor and provide scholarships for the “good kids” to help them to escape their violent surroundings by partnering the LAPD and the kids. With that idea he founded Operation Progress  and the motto, “Helping good kids get out of bad places.

Operation Progress’s mission, ” a thread that will weave together the Watts neighborhood under the common goal of using education to empower the community’s youth.” 

Today, Operation Progress is thriving. What started out as a few scholarships ($2,000) to inspire and help get kids heading on the right path has morphed into a model program for the community. OP has brought the LAPD and the community together, to help the children of Watts and has become a national beacon of hope for community policing.

Currently, Operation Progress has 31 students that will be sponsored from Kindergarten all the way through college with scholarships, mentoring, tutoring and everything needed in their 10 pillar program. The motto of the LAPD, “Is to protect and serve”  and LAPD officers and John Coughlin truly live that motto daily.

Charity Matters.


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1 Comment

  1. Incredible ! Operation progress is a true definition of progress and the importance of our children.

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