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SOUTH LOS ANGELES – When Tyrone Nance saw the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest unfolding in 2020, he saw an opportunity to create an organization that was part of the solution.

Established three years ago, It's Bigger Than Us (IBTU) has since become a valuable community resource for changing the social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles. Nance's work in aiding that cause as the 501c3 nonprofit's president and founder is why he was recently recognized as the Rams' sixth "pLAymaker" honoree of 2023.

"Saying that this means a lot is an understatement," Nance said. "This means a great deal to me and my community. The Rams highlighting the hard work and dedication IBTU has been putting in shows we're making a difference on a notable level."

IBTU carries out its mission through programming such as weekly outreach events on Friday and Tuesdays that address food disparity and critical healthcare needs; community engagement featuring listening sessions, surveys, community events and volunteer opportunities; plus youth programming to supplement students' education such as guided course-work and on-campus activities.

The organization hosts three flagship events to further its mission as well: Back-2-School, which prepares youth for the upcoming school year by providing school supplies and various activations focusing on health resources for families, career opportunities and more; 'Tis the Season, which involves collaborating with volunteers and partners to bring the holiday experience to the classroom; and a Service Learning Trip.

In 2022, IBTU served more than 97,000 people and more than 9,400 families.

"The mission of IBTU is to provide solution-based resources to undeserved families so all communities can thrive," Nance said. "Since the inception of It's Bigger Than Us LA, our vision consists of creating pathways for communities to experience better living through health equity and community activations. Lastly, we focus on building safety, trust and power within communities, whilst bringing them the resources and infrastructures that they need to amplify their voices and thrive."

For Nance, inspiring change "means to live your life in a way you embody hope."

And when it comes to inspiring change in one's own community, Nance shared three simple ways to do so.

"We can start inspiring change by just showing love and kindness to those around you, no matter the circumstances or status," Nance said. "Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I would say the next step requires you to be a good listener. To discern exactly how you can help others first starts by us asking how they are doing and following up with them. Lastly, I would say build relationships instead of new clients or new partners. If you focus on relationships that inspire change, you not only get to help others, you get to build with others as well."

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