Creating personal maps is one of the first activities we do in Youth Voices. We asked the students at WELA YMCA Youth Institute 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 personal memories that start to paint a clearer picture of their community and what they would like to see it become.
It was really fun to draw out my map because it shows people what my neighborhood is like. I started with my house and branched out from there, the most important place I included was the skate park because I spend a lot of time there when I can.
Name a place, corner or location in your neighborhood that you want to see changed (and why)
I would like to change a street light between the Youth Institute and KIPP. It takes a really long time to change and it only gives you around 10 seconds to cross the street.
Where is a place with great colors (what are they?)
A place with great color is the mural at KIPP because it has a lot of really nice colors.
Name a place that has a deep personal meaning to you (and why.)
A place that has a deep personal meaning is the skate park, I spend a lot of time there with friends to hang out and have fun.
What is a place that's always quiet?
A place that is always quiet is my house because nothing really goes on there. I am usually always away from everyone so I don't really interact with people.
Name a place that has "history?"
A place that has history is the Linda Vista by Hollenbeck Park. There have been so many stories of it being haunted and that lots of people have died there in the past.
Where is a great place to hang out (why, with whom?)
A great place to hang out is at Fosters Freeze because it's a great place to go to on a hot day and eat ice cream.
Name a place where people come together to participate in a shared activity.
A place people come together to participate in events is at the Youth Institute, we are able to hang out and be friendly.
Who is a person that defines your neighborhood for you (and why?)
A person that defines my neighborhood is César Chávez because he lead many protests for Latino rights.
Name a place or person that you are afraid to meet, cross paths with, relate to (and why.)
I would be afraid to be at the Linda Vista because it is really scary to be around.
Where is a great place to eat in your neighborhood?
A great place to eat is at Jim's Burgers because the food there is just really amazing.
Are there other people, places or things you marked on your map?
I would mark my Dads old store right by the Y because I have had many years of memories there.