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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. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here, on Twitter @Jams_LARIVER and on Instagram at #kcetyv.
We want to make our community beautiful so it can have a positive influence on younger generations, and to improve the overall image of our neighborhood. Our cause is to clean up an empty lot sandwiched by two apartment buildings. After the lot is cleaned we hope to hear community opinion as to what should go there next -- a dog park, a garden. Our team feels that the garbage infested lot makes our community look bad, so we feel that this lot can be the site of change.
For our community interview we spoke with Oscar and Sagrario Ortiz, both parents of one of our team members. Oscar and Sagrario live next to the lot so we felt that their opinions would be good markers towards how the community feels about this eyesore. Though they have not been active in bringing change, after the interview both said they were willing to dedicate their time to help change it.
Oscar said that he would be willing to put together a committee along with several neighbors to fight for the cause. When we asked Sagrario what the first thing she thinks of when she sees the lot she answered this: "the first thing i think of is that it has to get cleaned."
What is your view on the lot?
When I think about it, I feel sad, unsatisfied, and worried.
What would you like to see in the lot?
A park or recreational place.
How do you feel about having the lot in your community?
I get worried because children play in it but there is a lot of trash, shattered glass, and sharp metal.
What would you be willing to do to change it?
I would be willing to start a committee along with other neighbors.
Why do you think improving the neighborhood is important?
Because if it looks nice, everyone will be happier, and there will also be less distrust among neighbors.
Do you like your community?
No, we need more protection, we need to get rid of delinquents, and stop the graffiti because the community looks bad because of it.
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