Mapping Community: Esther Alvarado

Detail from Esther's neighborhood map

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.


It was a bit difficult for me to draw my own map because I do not have a good memory. I had to start mapping from my house because it was the easiest part. The most important thing to include is my house because it is where I spend most of time.

Name a place in your neighborhood that you want to see changed.
There is an empty lot a block down from my house that needs some cleaning up and it would be nice to plant a garden with lush green grass and beautiful vibrant colored flowers.

Where is a place with great colors?
A place with great colors is Zamora Park because it is full of trees, it has two playgrounds, a basketball court, and a wall full of art.

A place that's always quiet?
Usually my whole street is quiet. Except when the firemen pass by in their fire engines.

A place that has "history?"
The 7-Eleven has history to the people around because it always has a lot of customers.

The first layer of the map

Where is a great place to hang out?
A great place to hang out in is the Edwards El Monte 8 with friends or family and watch a movie.

Name a place where people come together to participate in a shared activity.
A place where people come together in my street is Legore Elementary School. Children attend school there.

The second layer

Who is a person that defines your neighborhood for you?
A nice old lady that always walks down my street defines my neighborhood for me.

Name a place or person that you are afraid to meet or cross paths with.
I am not afraid of crossing paths with any person or place.

Where is a great place to eat in your neighborhood?
Cate Japan is my favorite food place in my neighborhood because they serve delicious sushi, chicken, and boba teas.

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Mapping Community: Andres Villatoro

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