Youth Voices is working with students from the Los Angeles River School to re-imagine the L.A. River and the surrounding communities as part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. The student teams are exploring and investigating their communities by mapping assets, conducting outreach, and collecting stories through interviews with local residents and experts. Follow their work here and on Twitter and Instagram at #kcetyv.
Our community cause revolves around adding trash cans, signs, and dog stations along the L.A. River path. This is important because the trash that falls into the river affects the animals living there. Additional signage will help pedestrians and bicyclists share the space on the Elysian Valley side of the path. At dog stations visitors will be able to get bags to clean up after their pets.
For our community interview we decided to contact Ruth Gallardo, a new Elysian Valley resident. Ruth came to our class as a guest, and talked to us about her involvement with the river, working with FOLAR (Friends of the L.A. River) an organization that is best known for their annual river clean ups.
How long have you lived in Elysian Valley?
I am a new resident, its been about seven months but I am very involved with the community.
Where did you live before?
I lived in Hollywood.
Is it different than Elysian Valley?
Yes. After a time, I would go outside and say hello and I wouldn't get a response. And in Elysian Valley we can see familiar faces and we can look out for each other. The connection is very important to me.
What things do you dislike about the L.A. River?
Well the trash of course. Also the fast cyclists because the older people are afraid to come out and do their walks because it's too busy. The problem is the path, it's too thin.
Is that one thing you would like to change? The bike path?
Well yes if possible or maybe have some bicyclists slow down. Or maybe signage saying its a residential zone so slow down.
Where do you work these days?
Right now I am an intern with Friends of the L.A. River and i have an background of recycling and resource management, so that's how I got involved.
What bad things do you see that could be changed?
I think it is the homeless issue, somehow we need to address that and I know it is a huge huge problem.
How often do you go to the L.A. River pathway?
I go at least four or five times a week.
What can we do to improve the wild life?
Keep the water clean and create awareness.
What can we bring to improve the L.A. River?
Bringing in dog stations to clean up the poop. Some kind of signage about how we all need to care for the L.A. River.