LAFC Foundation

Force For Good Fridays 6/28/24

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.


Angelica Urquidez, Chief of Programming and Community Engagement, Thinkwatts Foundation

Angelica Angie Urquidez Thinkwatts 2024

Meet Angelica “Angie” Urquidez! Angie is the Chief of Programming and Community Engagement for the Thinkwatts Foundation. Get to know Angie - her passions, purpose, and how she and her team are making a difference in the Watts and Los Angeles communities.

Tell us a little bit about who you are and where you grew up?

My name is Angelica Urquidez, and I am a first generation Mexican-American. I was born in Watts and raised by a single mother. Growing up, I went to schools throughout the Los Angeles area and graduated high school in Watts. I love animals and anything about the environment – I'm a big environmental justice advocate – and my goal is to bring more awareness and support to the issues surrounding my community.

What inspired you to work in the community? What led you to work with Thinkwatts?

After high school I started at a community college and transferred to CSUN, where I graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science. Originally, I wanted to become an attorney, but while in school I gravitated more towards opportunities where I could explore my passion for animals and the environment. In college, I even had the chance to travel out of the country and learn about different communities.

This was a great experience for me, and once I graduated from CSUN, I returned to my community in Watts. I wanted to see a change and bring more resources to the area. I wanted to build pathways for the people in my community and show them if I - someone who walked the same streets, hallways, and classrooms as them - could do it, they could too.

Back in 2020, after the death of George Floyd, a close friend and I decided to organize a protest in the Watts community to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement. I messaged community organizations through social media, and messaged Stix directly - not knowing who he was - asking for his support. He replied instantly and set up a meeting.

Through that, I was introduced to other leaders and non-profits in my community, all who fully supported me with organizing the protest and that's where it all started. At that event, I met so many people and was exposed to a whole new world I didn't realize even existed in my community.

I began attending other events and volunteering to see how I could support and collaborate in these spaces. I continued to spend more time with Stix and his team and chose to volunteer at their events because I was grateful for their support at mine. Towards the end of 2020, Stix and his team had a toy drive distribution, and, on that day, Stix offered me the opportunity to be a part of the team. I've been with the Thinkwatts Foundation since.

Thinkwatts team 2024

How would you describe the purpose of the Thinkwatts Foundation and its main pillars?

The main purpose of Thinkwatts Foundation is to bring solutions to issues that surround the LA and Watts communities. Some of our main pillars are addressing homelessness, environmental justice, income inequalities, food insecurity, and sports programming.

Our different programs help address the issues that impact people daily - supporting people in their entrepreneurial journeys, providing financial literacy workshops, offering clean filtered water and food banks, and testing the air quality in our community. A lot of these programs are through different partnerships and organizations that help us address the issues and make positive impact happen.

Why is it important to have programs like the Thinkwatts Foundation?

This is a program that's never been offered in the community. Growing up, there was never enough access to the resources that the Thinkwatts Foundation offers. We had to go outside of the community to find resources, and even then, those resources often had a fee. Now, through the Thinkwatts Foundation, we're directly in the community, providing these free and accessible resources. We're here to meet peoples' needs and answer any questions they may have.

Why is it important to have the LAFC Foundation support Thinkwatts?

This is the first time that we've gotten to work so closely with a Major League Soccer team in LA. Seeing the foundation behind LAFC support communities like us shows the relationships and connections they're building and creating. Through this partnership, we're able to connect with the young people who look up to the team and its players. These kids don't have access to see the games, or play for free, so the partnership with the LAFC Foundation allows us to bring those opportunities directly to them, in their own backyard. It makes a huge impact. Meeting LAFC academy coaches, training with them, getting a jersey and t-shirts, all these little things, bring so much light to the students' lives. It makes them even more invested in the program. The access to resources and coaches makes it significantly easier for them to enjoy the game.

What impact has sports programming had on the youth and community?

The pay-to-play nature of youth sports is a huge barrier in our community. The Thinkwatts Foundation removes this barrier. Parents are used to paying for sports programing, but because we eliminate that, we just ask children to show up, bring a positive attitude, and take something away from the program – whether it's building their soccer skills or communication skills.

Additionally, most of our community members struggle with income and other barriers that don’t allow them to put mental health first. It was important for me to bring mental health advocacy into our sports programming, not only because I know how hard it is to deal with, but because it's important to learn why it's necessary to take care of our body, mind, and soul. Teaching children this at a young age helps break cycles within their households and opens their mind to learning.

During our soccer practices we include wellness aspects, including breathing exercises, stretches, and positive affirmations, both before and after practices. This helps make the “health is wealth” mindset a habit that our youth get used to and hopefully build into their daily lives.

Many youth participants start off shy and nervous. Now, many of these same participants will open up to me and share how they're feeling on a particular day. I'm very proud of that growth because it shows they know they can trust us if they need someone to talk to. This confidence also impacts how they go into their games - you can tell when they feel a little more confident and focused.

What impact has the partnership between the LAFC Foundation and the Thinkwatts Foundation had in the community?

The access to resources eliminates so many barriers for youth who are interested in advancing towards a professional soccer career. Through our soccer program, we've also been able to support the families of our participants. We have families share little struggles they're going through, and we often have the means and resources to support. If it wasn't for our soccer clinics, we wouldn't be able to hear these stories and help the families in this way.

By partnering with the LAFC Foundation, we're able to connect more deeply with our community members. It goes beyond the impact of sports; it extends the resources to the community and families who might not even know where to ask for resources. They show up to our soccer clinics and see that they are in a safe environment to share their struggles or ask questions. LAFC has always been a huge support and we can't thank them enough for how much we've done together through this partnership.

LAFC Foundation Highlights:

LAFC X BMO Thinkwatts Youth Soccer Tournament

To close out the Thinkwatts spring soccer clinics, we hosted our second LAFC x BMO Thinkwatts youth soccer tournament on June 8, 2024. The participants warmed up and learned helpful tips from our LAFC Academy coaches before kicking off the tournament! In partnership with BMO, we provided BMO soccer balls, t-shirts, and giveaways for all youth participants.

Thinkwatts collage LAFC Foundation 2024

Kei Kamara Juneteenth Community Conversation

In honor of Juneteenth, Kei Kamara hosted a community conversation with local LA students to share stories and experiences growing up as young leaders and athletes. The group also discussed the importance of representation and how sports can impact social justice.

LAFC Foundation Juneteenth collage Kei Kamara

LAFC Foundation Auction

Visit the LAFC Foundation auction to bid on exclusive memorabilia and help us continue to support young people in Los Angeles and serve as a force for good in the community! The auction closes Sunday, June 30 at 5:00 pm.

062824 LAFC foundation auction

Thank You!

Thank you to all who support our team’s critical social impact work. To date, we’ve positively impacted 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 and 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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