When Phineas F. Bresee founded his new ministry in Los Angeles in 1895, he told his parishioners, “The poor will always have a front row seat in the Church of the Nazarene.”
In 1982, members of the Los Angeles First Church of the Nazarene were inspired by his vision and founded the P.F. Bresee Foundation. Their dream was to build a community center that could uplift families who were struggling to rise out of poverty.
In 1987, one of Bresee’s staff members, Jeff Carr, recognized that youth in the area needed a safe place to go after school and something engaging to keep them away from gang activity and other negative behavior. He headed out into the neighborhood with a bicycle and some basketballs to recruit the first youth participants, and Bresee’s youth programs were born.
Bresee has evolved significantly since those days. In 2001, Bresee was able to purchase and renovate the 15,000-square-foot facility where it is still housed today. The pick-up basketball games grew into sports leagues and recreational teams. And a drop-in youth center with pool tables and video games transitioned into a space for academic tutoring, arts and STEM workshops, career and college preparation, and workforce development.
In 2008, Bresee expanded further to include family supportive services through the Wilshire FamilySource Center. In 2012 Bresee launched a gang prevention program through the Mayor’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) initiative.
Today Bresee is a vibrant community center serving more than 3,000 youth and family members each year.