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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 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 twitter @RaulDemetrio23 and on Instagram using #kcetyv.
Our cause is to remodel an empty lot on the corner of Fletcher Drirve and Avenue 35 into a dog park for the community. The empty lot has been full of trash, debris, and no one has done anything about it for such a long time. With this project we hope to change the vibe of the neighborhood into a more vibrant mood.
Nothing is more cute than a puppy. Our team chose to work on an empty lot because we thought we could do something about it. We believe in the philosophy of "If you don't like where you are, then change it. You're not a tree." We felt we have been trees for a long time, but not anymore. This type of mindset will influence others to do something as well, to be more proactive in their community.
We chose this because we have dogs of our own, and our dogs can barley play around in their home. Then it hit us: every dog in our community is going through the same thing. By starting the idea of a dog park it will have a two-fold effect. One effect will be giving dogs a space of their own. The second effect will be on the people, by bringing them more closer together like a tribe.
Our team learned about the process of planning a community project. We realized how to do outreach to the community, use social media to our advantage, and improve our leadership skills. Also from this experience, our teamwork skills have improved, and our public speaking has improved. In addition, we learned how to ask the right questions to so we can get the best responses.
We interviewed Joshelin Demetrio, a junior at Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies, who has a dog of her own. We also interviewed Glen Dake , a landscaping architect and leader in community based projects.
Joshelin Demetrio supports the idea of a dog park because her dog needs more doggy friends, and the empty lot is an eye sore. She did have some questions and comments:
"How long do you think it will last if there is a dog park?"
"If the neighborhoods really love it, then it should be able to sustain itself."
She also encouraged us to get the community to back up the idea of a dog park. There's strength in numbers and especially when there is a strong leader.
Glen Dake and others also suggested getting more stats on dog accidents and the number of dog owners in the area.
Overall we had a positive response from the community. They loved the idea of a dog park because the residents have a soft spot for dogs. Many suggested to bring this up the neighborhood council and city hall.
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