WNS 8th Graders Tackle Homelessness Through Entrepreneurship

At Westside Neighborhood School (WNS) – an independent preschool through 8th grade school in Los Angeles’ “Silicon Beach” neighborhood of Playa Vista, middle school students are challenged to affect social change through innovation and ideation. This is a consistent theme throughout the middle school curriculum and culminates in a two-year capstone project. The first half is titled SPLASH, or Solving Problems for Los Angeles Society and Health, during which 7th graders identify and tackle a public health or safety issue facing Los Angeles, and create a proposal to solve it. This then evolves into the 8th grade capstone project, SWIM, or Solutionary Work In Motion, during which our graduation class takes their ideas from the prior year and puts it out into the community.

Three 8th grade students, Beck, Harley, and Rishi, have partnered with an organization called Worthy of Love – a local Los Angeles charity that supports families facing homelessness in both Los Angeles and Houston, TX, through initiatives including hosting birthday parties for children whose families are facing food insecurity and homelessness, who otherwise would not have this experience.

In order to support the charity, the 8th graders took on the challenge of designing and screen printing 150 custom t-shirts to raise both money and awareness, with the motif “Everyone is Worthy of Love”.

Shortly after, the students were delighted to receive news from Worthy of Love that their design will be featured on a t-shirt that will go out to over 1800 individuals facing homelessness.

A representative from the charity said “These will go out to Los Angeles and Houston. They are moms that are incarcerated and at a rehabilitation shelter. They are able to keep their kids out of foster care by staying at the facility. We have the most newborn babies at this shelter. They will have onesies with their design printed on them…It’s really a beautiful sight seeing everyone in the same shirt.”

At WNS, students are challenged to become changemakers, and we are so proud to see these middle schoolers embodying exactly this.


Due to limited supplies, t-shirts are only available for purchase by the WNS school community, however, should you wish to support the charity and the students’ initiative, please visit this link to make a donation today.