Compiling the Evidence: Let's Make Something Out of Nothing.

Vacant lot on Cypress Ave. & Division St. The Sotomayor Learning Academies are visible just down Division and the bus stop the students frequent is on the far left

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 Angelels Riverfront Collaborative. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here and on Instagram and Twitter by using #kcetyv.

Describe the cause your team identified, investigated and documented.
The Builderz focused on trying to make the empty lot on Cypress and Division something nice and fun for the teens that attend the Sotomayor Learning Academies across the street.

Why did your team select this cause?
The team selected this cause because it's right across from our school just taking up space and a lot of people seem to agree that it could be used for better purposes. it was just annoying to be sitting there waiting for the bus and have nothing to look at but an empty ugly lot.

What did you learn about this issue in the community?
We learned that a lot of people are actually interested in what happens in the community and it just takes one voice to but it all out there in perspective for others.

Who did you interview?
We interviewed mainly teens across the Sotomayor campus and one community member.

What did they have to say about your cause? Were you surprised by any information they provided or did they confirm your ideas?
They were very interested in seeing something new that would benefit them at that location. It surprised them that anything could be done to change it .

Did they provide possible solutions to the community cause your team identified? Describe.
Yes they did especially the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council. They were really impressed and interested in our concerns towards the community.
They gave us different options for the lot, including a community garden. They named a handful of organizations that would be willing to donate plants, funds and labor.

What are other ideas towards improving this aspect of your community that you've come up with or discovered?
After speaking with so many people we figure the best way to get something done would be the garden because it'll benefit everyone in the community. We know now that we have to contact the owner and try to convince him to let us use his lot because it's not public.

What is the community support for your cause?
Just to try and build a better bond between everyone and trying to figure out a beneficial cause that makes everyone happy.

How does your team plan on encouraging community involvement in your team's cause?
We can publicize it by going around the community to let people know what we are doing and what our vision is for the lot. Surveys will help us learn what the community is interested in seeing there. We will continue to reach out to the public, old and young, because the kids are the future and this is their future.


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