A California Non-Profit Corporation 501(c)(3) Fed. Tax ID 95-4358515
LABT Mission Statement
Our mission is: “To improve the quality of life in Los Angeles by empowering citizens to change their environment for the better.” We achieve this through environmental improvement efforts, job training for at risk youth and environmental education for youth and communities. From our grass-roots origins in 1992, to our current role as a respected, county-wide environmental improvement organization, for two decades we have been guided by a fundamental belief in the power of community partnership.
Through its work, HLABT serves entire communities by: planting trees, designing and implementing resource conservation projects, improving school campuses, neighborhoods and business districts.
Through these projects we solicit community participation and provide educational workshops and vocational training to at-risk youth and young adults. Each year we plant more than 2,000 trees, remove 3 million square feet of graffiti per year, and help to improve our communities for current and future generations.
In the past 20 years, HLABT has adopted over 140 public schools, hired 2,500 youth and completed 250 mural walls, transforming campuses and neighborhoods throughout the region. Through this work we have also provided environmental and arts mentoring to more than 35,000 school children, inspiring many of them with a conservation ethic and increased civic pride.
Video: Inside the Mayor’s Office – HBT
The Hollywood Beautification Team was founded by community volunteers working with our Hollywood Police due to the overwhelming gang activity in Hollywood. Painting out the gang graffiti was a prime objective. Neighbors began painting out graffiti on their streets which was frequently dangerous, and most streets had no neighborhood watch group to clean up. HBT was created for all community members to have an organization of their own to call upon for support.
With a $25,000 Community Redevelopment Agency Grant and a van donated by Paramount Studios, HBT held its first community event on April 4, 1992 and began per five day a week cleaning and graffiti abatement program. Three weeks later the 1992 Civil Unrest occurred and devastated the South Los Angeles area; Hollywood became the secondary area of rioting and looting. HBT was called upon by the city to clean up Hollywood. Over eight days, 600 volunteers cleaned up the broken glass and debris from the streets and sidewalks, boarded up the burned out buildings, painted out the hateful graffiti everywhere, and swept all the streets. Over the next month HBT helped merchants clean up their shops and restock shelves. The CRA then funded HBT with small grants for three years to continue graffiti abatement, and to be on call for the community.
The 1994 Northridge Earthquake instigated an aftershock on the Hollywood fault, causing damage to buildings which were red tagged by the City, resulting in 3,000 residents having to live on the streets. HBT cleaned the earthquake debris from the streets and sidewalks, and assisted the Red Cross in bringing supplies to those who were displaced. HBT also picked up the trash from all the areas where people were living on the street and in parking lots, in order to keep them clean. Over the next several months we assisted these homeless residents in moving their belongings to storage so they could feel free to leave the street and move into shelters.
In 1995 HBT began working as a City Public Works Contractor for graffiti abatement and cleaning. We also serve as the City’s Graffiti Prevention Vining Contractor. We are State Licensed Painting Contractors (C-33) and Landscape Contractors(C-27). We are Cleaning and Landscape Contractors for two Business Improvement Districts, and do commercial landscape work. We utilize the Court Referred Community Service Program, and mentor and provide job training for adults and youth.
LABT is a project partner of Million Trees LA. Our areas of responsibility include the East Valley and Central Los Angeles. We have been planting trees in the community and at LAUSD schools since 1992 (adopting 140 public schools to date); we bring science based expertise, technical skills and grants to the community, engaging and teaching stakeholders. HBT sat on the City’s CFAC for five years. We also implement commercial tree and landscape plantings, restore native habitat and trails.
As we have worked county-wide since 1995, we are “doing business as” The Los Angeles Beautification Team (LABT), however most people still refer to us as “HBT”. We are grateful to the City Departments and staff who have helped us learn and grow. These include the Bureau of Sanitation, Watershed Protection Division; Public Works Bureau of Street Services, Office of Community Beautification, Urban Forestry, Bureau of Engineering and LADWP.
CEO Sharyn Romano Bio
Hollywood native Sharyn Romano is CEO and President, and a founder of the Hollywood/Los Angeles Beautification Team (H/LABT). She graduated from Hollywood High School, and Calif. State University at Los Angeles with a Masters Degree in Social Sciences. Recently appointed to the new USDA Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources Sustainability’s Strategic Framework Team, Romano also served on the City Community Advisory Committees for Urban Forestry, the Community Development Department, and the CRA Hollywood Project Area.
HBT evolved out of the Hollywood Neighborhood Watch movement in the early ninties when Hollywood was being overrun by violent gang activity. On April 4th, 1992, HBT hit the streets with community volunteers and painted out graffiti, swept sidewalks and planted trees at Hollywood High, and that became the blueprint for our work over the last twenty-three years. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Los Angeles by helping change environments through community education, civic empowerment, physical improvements and job creation.
In 1993 HBT received our first greening grant and we began job training and mentoring at risk youth, greening our neighborhoods and our schools. In 1995 in partnership with LAUSD we began adopting public school’s City-wide, and then Countywide. Our school programs began with environmental and art education classes for students, followed by their hands-on activities to improve their school campuses with trees, landscaping, mural and
mosaic projects. HBT has brought programs to 140 public schools. Neighborhoods and Business Districts across Los Angeles have received trees and other greening projects from State, County and City Grants won by HBT.
Now the Los Angeles Beautification Team, to reflect all the communities we serve, LABT began working on stormwater capture and conservation projects six years ago to help address the water crisis faced by our region. We developed a stormwater capture system to collect urban runoff to support urban forestry, a project adopted by the City now as a standard plan. LABT has constructed the city’s first bioswale and dry well project in City right of way, which is projected to collect over 31 acre feet of stormwater off the street annually.
LABT brings workshops to the community to offer everyone the opportunity to participate in stormwater conservation at home and work. These include “how to build” cost effective rain barrels, and create your own Rain Gardens. Classes begin with how to assess the stormwater runoff from your home, and learn different methods of stormwater capture and infiltration.
In October 2012 LABT held the Grand Opening of our new, green Education and Job Training Center at 1741 N. Cherokee Ave. in Hollywood, which will enable us to bring more services and environmental programs to the community.
LABT Headquarters / Urban Forestry Classroom
The HBT Headquarters Facility is located at 1741 North Cherokee Ave. This facility provides expanded training space, an outdoor nursery and the infrastructure to support a dramatic increase in the number of at-risk youth we train and employ in the implementation of our projects. In addition to its interior spaces, there is 7,000 square feet of outdoor “green” space to facilitate operations and use for training purposes. Parking and covered storage is also part of the facility.
Just as important, our new home has been designed to meet a high level of environmental sustainability, and will serve as a model for ways that similar small-to-medium sized business can incorporate green building design and techniques in their own facilities. This exciting new facility’s hours of operation are 7:30am- 4:00pm Mon-Fri. If you would like to contact us our office number is (323)-962-2163.
LABT has completed a CAL FIRE (California Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection) grant to plant 1,300 trees.
Cal Fire Grants:
Last year, LABT was awarded $434,490.66 from CAL FIRE that enables us to plant 750 trees in 13 parks. LABT applied for this grant to partnership with Rec’s & Parks who have lost thousands of trees over recent years. Parks and tree species will be chosen by Recs & Parks. Soon, we hope to invite volunteers to join us in the planting. Last year, LABT was awarded $434,490.66 from CAL FIRE that enables us to plant 750 trees in 13 parks. LABT applied for this grant to partnership with Rec’s & Parks who have lost thousands of trees over recent years. Parks and tree species will be chosen by Recs & Parks. Soon, we hope to invite volunteers to join us in the planting.
Also, LABT has been awarded a $700,000 Growing Healthier Neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley grant (with a two year watering program) to address the issue of tree and canopy loss in disadvantaged San Fernando Valley residential corridors by restoring the environmental, health, recreational and aesthetic benefits that street/school trees provide. Project will start on 9/1/2020 and run through 3/30/24.
LABT has been awarded an Envrionmental Enhancement Mitigation Program $712,000 grant to remove asphalt and create a green recreation space at Berndo Middle School in Pico Union. This new green space will be used for study, play, yoga and other activities.LABT has been awarded an Envrionmental Enhancement Mitigation Program $712,000 grant to remove asphalt and create a green recreation space at Berndo Middle School in Pico Union. This new green space will be used for study, play, yoga and other activities.
Also, a $415,000 grant has been awarded to LABT for outdoor classrooms and green recreation space for play. The schools which will benefit from this grant are Kingsley Elementary in Hollywood, Logan Elementary in Echo Park and Wadsworth Elementary in South Los Angeles.
Special thanks to the generous donors who make our work possible.