My name is Maggie Darett-Quiroz. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I grew up in Glassell Park, and I'm a lifetime resident. Growing up, Glassell Park was always a very nice community. I've seen many changes from positive to negative, and from negative to positive.
Right now Glassell Park needs more fitness for seniors, programs for children, and after school programs. When I was little we were limited on schools. Now it's very nice because we have a lot of schools, including a lot of charter schools. We have kids in the area that have a lot of choices. When I was a kid, we didn't have choices. Even while we were raising my daughter we didn't have choices so we put her through private school.
When I was a kid, my mom couldn't afford vacation, so our vacation was going to the Glassell Park pool. A lot of families did the same as well.
The park itself used to be very dangerous. We were not allowed to go to the park, but through the years it has become a beautiful park. It's nice to see families go there. As a child, there were not a lot of kids on my block, so my mom used to make me help the elderly on my block. I helped them vacuum their homes, clean their windows, carry their groceries, and other things like that.
When the community garden came about and we found out that the bank owned the land and the council office didn't know what they were going to do with it. So we started a community group. Now we have this garden and I do the best I can, with my husband, to always clean, provide seeds, and help with whatever gets donated to us. We have potlucks sometimes and when people get together it just feels like family.
When I was a kid you used to see kids riding bikes and skateboards or playing baseball on the street. You don't see that on Drew Street. A lot of the kids are inside their apartments. The parents are afraid for them to come out because they feel like they're going to get bullied, and they're afraid of the negativity that surrounds the area of Drew Street.
One of the things that got me more involved in the garden was meeting these two little boys, Gus and Ernie, and they told me they had never planted a plant. So I taught them how to plant a plant, and now the kids have changed so much. The garden has given them a positive outlook.
The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:
Northeast Los Angeles