Creating personal maps is one of the first activities we do in Youth Voices. We asked the students at Mountain View High School to identify the places they spend time with friends, or places that have meaning to them as well as other key locations, people, and things. This begins the process of thinking more critically about their neighborhood along with initiating a creative freedom to express ideas that are true to their experiences. The maps provide an opportunity to put it down on paper and reflect on a personal memories that start to paint a clearer picture of their community and what they would like to see it become.
Drawing my own map was an experience that actually made me like drawing. I started with the Santa Fe Dam because it is the most important to me because out of all the places closest to home it the most quiet and peaceful. Sometimes I run here to just relax and other times to have a picnic with friends.
A place I would really like to see changed here in El Monte is Valley Blvd. Not as in the street itself but its surroundings. This I would like to change because, as my partner Carolina Herrera and I have learned, this is the area people visit most, but still when people go out for fun or even to eat they leave El Monte because there really isn't anything around here. Plus there is a lot of empty places on this street so I really want this place to shine on every corner.
A place with amazing colors is the Santa Fe Dam trail because of all the people you meet there. Everyday, night and day, you will meet different people from around the world walking or simply just escaping this world in their own thoughts.
Madrid Middle School has the deepest strings attached to me, the reason being that I was created here. I came into this school a shy and timid kid and left a leader -- an out-going and social person. I have not been able to leave because as soon as I left I was offered to come back and coach at the school and do so to this day. I still learn and stay faithful to my middle school.
The Santa Fe Dam Park is is the best place when it comes to wanting peace and quiet because you could lay down and escape to your little world of fantasy. It is so peaceful here because you're surrounded by nature with no building or industries to bother you.
The first layer of Alexis' map of his community
Legion Stadium is a place that has had the most history here in El Monte from art to music concerts. This stadium really brought people from everywhere to El Monte. "One of the most memorable moments I had is the screening of the live stream of The Beatles Concert." Said Mrs. Zuniga. Although now we only have pictures of it before the earthquake, Legion Stadium was one way El Monte represented their unity as a city.
A great place for me to hang out is at my friend Gio's house. My Elite team always gets together after a long run or even just after school sometimes to play video games, talk, or just mess around like if we were kids again. Another major reason we go to Gio's is because we really don't have much entertainment here around El Monte, as Carolina Herrera and I have discovered.
The El Monte Aquatic Center is great place where people come together to have some fun swimming. There's even water slide located by the outdoor pools. Oops I almost forgot we have both indoor and outdoor pools. The problem with this is that it is only open to the public during the summer season and then closed the rest of the year, unless you are taking swimming classes.
Brian Arrellano, is a perfect example of who can define El Monte because he is a natural born leader, honest, but still knows how to have fun. He really knows how to get his point across. Every single person in El Monte is capable of this, of being a Brian.
A place I would be scared to be is probably the train tracks at night with not even the moon to light my way. The reason might be that I could trip from not knowing where I'm going, pass out, and then get crushed by a train and I would never be heard of again.
La Barca at The Valley Mall is a great Mexican restaurant, filled with T.V. sets that let you watch the game, kid shows and they even have a juke box. They have great food and if you ask anyone in El Monte that has eaten here you will always get a recommendation to go.
The second layer of the community map