Watts community and wellness center renamed after the late Jacqueline Avant

The former MLK Child and Family Well-Being Center has provided mental and physical health for families and children of the South Central Los Angeles area.

The MLK Child and Family Well-Being Center in Watts was newly unveiled last week as the Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center.

A renaming ceremony was held Friday, with Avant’s daughter, Nicole Avant, on hand, along with her father and Jacqueline Avant’s husband, entertainment impresario Clarence Avant, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Guests included Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Jimmy Jam, Quincy Jones III, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, L.A. Reid, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and businessman Rick Caruso, among others.

The newly minted Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center sits on the MLK Medical Campus, a 42-acre site in the Watts-Willowbrook community that helps the medically underserved in South Central Los Angeles. Among other facilities on the campus are the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, MLK Behavioral Health Center and the King/Drew Magnet High School.

(From left) Businessman Rick Caruso and his wife, Tina Caruso, along with Nicole Avant and her husband, Ted Sarandos, attend the unveiling of the Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center in Los Angeles. The revamped and renamed facility honors Nicole Avant’s mother. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for the Jacqueline Avant Children and Family Center)

The renamed facility provides mental and physical health for local families and children of South Central L.A. It will provide pediatric care for children in foster homes and mental health evaluations for about 4,000 children and teens exposed to violence.

“This center specifically, my mom was very focused on — she knew it was going to be rebuilt,” Nicole Avant said of her late mother. “She knew the city was going to put a lot of money into it, and God bless Supervisor Mitchell because she really led the charge for this to happen.”

Jacqueline Avant, a philanthropist and community activist, was shot and killed on Dec. 1, 2021, by an intruder who broke into her Trousdale Estates home near Beverly Hills. She had spent much of her time and resources on efforts that benefit at-risk youth at the South Central Community Child Care Center while serving as president of its support group, Neighbors of Watts.

“My mom’s dedication was, ‘Listen, we’re not here to save everybody — I can’t do that,” Nicole Avant shared. “‘But I am here to serve, and I am here to create opportunity … we’ve been blessed with so much that it is my duty to be down here.'”

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