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Pearls Academy Inc. founder, Rosa Johnson, is looking to edify young women in the community. Photo by Brian W. Carter
The non-profit is helping to create strong and edified young women in the community.
“I feel our community needs reformation,” said Rosa Johnson, CEO & Founder of Pearls Academy Inc. (PAI). “[PAI] is exactly what the community needs as far as our young women becoming educated, [aware] and being able to contribute to the community.”
Under the umbrella and in collaboration with Eastside Pride Sports Club, PAI is an institution that provides mentorship, educational skills and self-esteem training to young women in the community. Johnson felt the need to fill in the gap that so many minority women fall through.
“As a young girl, looking back, I felt like if I had certain information, I would’ve made better choices,” said Johnson. “I see others, that I grew up with, doing the same thing.”
Through PAI, Johnson is hoping to create a place were young women can lean on each other for strength, courage and wisdom. She has created an organization where young women can go to get information, encouragement and feedback.
Johnson is a Los Angeles native and attended 95th Elementary School and Dorsey High School. She later attended Santa Monica College and transferred to Cal State L.A., where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She recently graduated from USC with a Master’s in Social Work.
Now that she’s completed her education, she wants to use her skills to help the young women in the neighborhood.
“[PAI] offers mentoring, college prep [and] etiquette [training],” said Johnson. “We want to give them scholarship opportunities.
“Finances are a big issue and I feel that was part of the reason why I was discouraged from applying to school.
“[There] are a lot of organizations that have scholarships and [financial aid] for our youth in this community.
“So… I find these [organizations], put all this information in one place [so] when a young, Black girl tells me, ‘I want to go to college,’ I can hand her information.”
Johnson strongly believes in the term “girl power,” which is a powerful motivation for her endeavors with PAI. According to figures, only 8.2% of South L.A. residents have a four-year college degree, that’s 749,453 residents.
Some research has found that young women, with a secondary or higher educational background, help bring to economic growth to underserved communities. Johnson hopes PAI can help to start a continuing process where young women will help other young women to reach higher.
“We’re very set back in our community and I feel like nobody is coming for us,” said Johnson. “And we have to go and get it for ourselves—that’s what [PAI] is [about].”
PAI will have tutoring, anti-bullying workshops, volunteer opportunities and entrepreneurship among other subjects and focuses. Johnson stated that PAI is not off limits to young men, but wanted to stress it’s true purpose.
“I am helping young men as well,” said Johnson. “I will not turn anyone away but [PAI] is specifically for young girls.”
Pearls Academy Inc. is located at 1126 E. Vernon Ave. in Los Angeles, CA. You may contact them at (213) 793-1221 or by fax (323) 231-6531. You may also contact them through e-mail at