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People of Cypress Park: Valerie Sanchez

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My name is Valerie Sanchez. I am a family service worker for Kedren Head Start, and I service the families in the communities of Cypress Park and Northeast L.A.

I've been doing family service work for four years. I originally started as a preschool student here at Kedren Head Start. Now I work for them.

I grew up in Cypress Park. Two years ago I moved to Elysian Valley, but I was born and raised in Cypress Park.

I have noticed the amount of violence has toned down a little bit. I remember when I was growing up, a boy got shot outside of our house. He was being chased by a gang from outside of the community, got shot, and fell off his bike. Another gang from a different community drove by and shot a dad as he was picking up his daughter from school. There was a lot of violence growing up. Now I've noticed a lot of people from other ethnicities and nationalities actually moving into our community because they've noticed that the violence is going down and the graffiti is going down. It's quiet and a little bit safer. It used to not be quiet.

What I notice about this program for these kids is the fact that there are a lot of ethnicities. They're all bringing their kids to these preschools, whereas the kids that I grew up were only Hispanic, Mexican American. I didn't see culture, I didn't see diversity. Now I notice there's a lot more diversity.

I hope that in the future everybody will learn to respect each other, love each other and speak different languages as they get exposure to the different cultures in our community.

The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:

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