The Watts Bears was started as a program to serve the youth residing in one of the most gang affiliated and recurrently violent communities of South Central Los Angeles. The Watts Bears were created by LAPD officers from the Southeast Division, with these officers coaching student-athletes in football and track & field. The teams were created to give underprivileged youth in Watts a chance to play organized sports but on a larger scale, and to positively change the historically strained relationship between the police and the community of Watts.
The program provides a safe and positive outlet for well-deserving kids. To be eligible to participate, the student-athletes have to meet standards in school, stay out of trouble, and must possess a desire to positively contribute to society. The coaches use sports as a vehicle to introduce, reinforce and promote concepts that we all value in society; strong moral character, positive values, personal responsibility and a commitment to academics. The coaches stress structure, discipline, team spirit, friendship, and positive competition.
The Watts Bears program hopes to positively change the minds of the youth by challenging, guiding and teaching all our student-athletes to be positive leaders, not only in Watts, but throughout the world.