LAFC Foundation

Force For Good Fridays 5/31/24

lafc foundation newsletter

Who We Are

The LAFC Foundation furthers our club’s mission of uniting the world’s city through the world’s game, bringing joy to people, and being a force for good in our community by supporting critical programs and bringing the indomitable Black & Gold spirit wherever we go. By supporting the programming and infrastructure that allow young people to access our favorite game, we provide not only fun and physical exercise – but also critical mentorship and a pathway to lifelong success beyond the pitch.


Howard Serpas, Regional Director of Corporate Partnerships, Community Outreach and Public Relations at Beyond the Bell

Howard Serpas LAFC Foundation Beyond the Bell 032024

We sat down with Mr. Serpas to get to know more about him, his passion for supporting the LA community, and what inspired him to work in education. Howard is a true believer in the power of sports and the positive impact they bring to the world. Most recently, Howard helped develop and execute multiple youth soccer clinics in LAUSD schools in partnership with BMO and LAFC.

Can you tell us little bit about who you are and where you grew up?

My name is Howard Serpas, and I was born and raised in South LA. Growing up, I was in Boy Scouts, but soccer was a huge part of my life. It was the first sport I ever played and kept me motivated in school.

I went to a private high school on a basketball scholarship, but the school was starting up its soccer team again. I had the chance to play varsity soccer in my freshman year. I jumped at the opportunity, and although I lost my basketball scholarship, my parents supported my decision to join the soccer team. I ended up doing really well in high school and, due to my love of sports, I played soccer, football, and volleyball.

What inspired you to work in education?

While in college and playing soccer, I needed a part-time job, so I went to schools in the area to ask for a TA position. I couldn't find anything at a high school, so I went to an elementary school and got hired on the spot. I became the TA for a kindergarten class and stayed there for four years. The kids were so positive, which I loved, so I became even more involved.

At the same time, I also started working as a sports coach with LA's Best and stayed there for about three years. After those three years, I found and got a job at Beyond the Bell. I moved up quickly and was in the office and running all the sports for the west side schools. I love being able to do work that I am passionate about. Sports have always been “my thing,” and being able to coordinate, train, and manage sports programming at this level means a lot to me.

Why do you think it’s important to have programs like Beyond the Bell?

Without programs like Beyond the Bell, it would be difficult for parents to figure out how to occupy their children while they are at work. Before Beyond the Bell existed, there was a childcare program called Youth Services. However, when Prop 49 was passed in California, LAUSD used the funds to build Beyond the Bell and provide more than just childcare services. We now have comprehensive programs, academic assistance, enrichment activities, and sports. As we grew, we also started building relationships with other community-based organizations which really helped build out more school-wide support. Those relationships helped us spend more time providing critical programs like sports and arts in middle and elementary schools.

We know how expensive it is to play in sports leagues or join an arts program. Since Beyond the Bell is in schools, everything is completely free and therefore more accessible. Without our program, many kids would not be exposed to the sports or art programs that they are now so passionate about and can freely explore.

What impact have you seen sports play in the role of young children and their path in education?

I have seen a huge impact. Education opens doors to many opportunities, and I think sports do too. At Beyond the Bell, we use our relationships with different sports teams to show the importance of education and sports.

Something that always comes up is the restriction on girls in sports. We have worked to change how families look at their daughters’ playing sports. Many families focus on their daughter’s safety first and do not want to leave their girls playing sports after school. As a program, we had to learn how to convince families that it is important for girls to get involved in sports.

We did our research and found correlations between education and sports. We found that the majority of sports college scholarships for women are unused and leveraged this information to showcase to parents the opportunities that come from being involved in sports.

By learning the fundamentals through elementary and middle school sports, children can learn what sports they are good at and enjoy before high school. We highlight that sports are an avenue to get college scholarships and found data on unused scholarships for women in sports. Upon bringing that information back to parents, we changed how parents saw our program and its benefits to the students.

Why is it important to have the LAFC Foundation support programs like Beyond the Bell?

Through the support of the LAFC Foundation, Beyond the Bell has access to sports programming, the opportunity to bring kids and their families to matches and bring professional players to the community. It’s a win-win – we get the kids motivated and provide them resources needed to be successful in life, and LAFC gains a fan for life.

Having LAFC's presence gets the kids more involved in our programming and enables family and community involvement. Once we have this engaged audience, we can start important conversations about the next level of sports. It's also about more than just the sport. We're talking about social skills, the well-being of children, and the importance of team building – things they don't get to do anywhere else.

What impact have you seen the LAFC Foundation have on the schools/communities in Los Angeles?

LAFC was built in the heart of LA, but the way it was built was so different from what I've seen before. They had a presence in LA before the team was even created. They established that they wanted to be involved and build a fan base within the community. They focused on building a community around the team and intentionally bringing positive impact. They showed up for the people of LA, which allowed the fans to have their back from the very beginning. Working with an organization like LAFC has helped bring life-changing opportunities to a lot of families and kids. I am proud to play a part in these special moments.

LAFC Foundation Highlights:

LAFC Day Run

On April 24th, the LAFC Foundation hosted a community Run to celebrate LAFC Day! Fans and community members gathered for a run around BMO stadium and helped raise funds for our LAFC Foundation!

042424 LAFC Run Club foundation event

LAFC Foundation Auction

Visit the LAFC Foundation auction to bid on exclusive memorabilia & help us continue to support young people in Los Angeles and serve as a force for good in the community! The auction closes Friday, June 7 at 5:00 pm.

LAFC Foundation auction merch 060724

Thank You!

Thank you to all who support our team’s critical social impact work. To date, we’ve had the privilege of positively impacting more than 30,000 underserved youth in the Los Angeles area. We are excited to watch this number grow exponentially in the years to come – we couldn’t do any of it without you!

We look forward to keeping you updated with our Force for Good Friday newsletters. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram, @lafcfoundation!

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