Astrid Hernandez, Los Angeles River School


The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit www.mylariver.org

Young people have been an integral part of The Northeast Los Angeles River Collaborative (NELA RC) since the launch of the project in January, 2013. As part of Departures Youth Voices students from the L.A. River School, ArtLAB and the Los Angeles Leadership Academy explored their relationship with their community and the River, by mapping neighborhood assets and collecting and sharing stories of its residents. All the while, they learned and expanded their knowledge of multi-media production, digital literacy, and civic engagement. You can see the works created by the students here.

In her interview above, Astrid recounts how her experience with Youth Voices offered her a new way of seeing the present and envisioning the future of the L.A. River.


My name is Astrid Hernandez. I live in Elysian Valley. I used to go to the Los Angeles River School but now I go to LACC and just started college.

I always lived next to the LA River, but I would only occasionally visit even though I lived right next to it. But I've volunteered to help out a lot around the river throughout the years.

With Youth Voices, we would go to the river and try to get to know the community way more and just hear about the past of the river and the community and pretty much what is going on to help out the future of the river.

Astrid gets her camera ready to interview a community member as part of her Youth Voices field work.
Astrid gets her camera ready to interview a community member as part of her Youth Voices field work.

I think it's important that people that live here get connected because they don't know all that much about what is going on. I didn't until I got into Youth Voices and now I feel like I'm way more involved in my community and know a whole lot more that I didn't know before.

Click below to see Astrid's neighborhood mural.


You can learn more about the Northeast Los Angeles River Collaborative and hear from other Youth Voices students HERE.

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