Vince Caldera, 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 his interview Vince talks about the importance of recognizing the value the L.A. River provides the surrounding community and the people that live and work along it's banks.


My name is Vince Caldera. I live in the Glassell Park area. I go to the L.A. River School.

My neighborhood relates to the river because it is really close, it's unbelievably close, so you basically become a part of it. Whether you know it or not, you become a part of the LA. River.

I think people relate to it as a place to get away from other things because you can get so caught up in doing one certain thing that you forget what is around you. There was a point that I could say I got more interested in the river. And that was the point when I got introduced to KCET Departures. I would go to local places, places in the community like parks, near the riverfront, small businesses, and I saw how people near there would interact with the river and what it was like just being near it, and saw their perspective that they have on the river. It really just shows you different opinions someone can have on it.

This project has given me a bigger sense of ownership because it is everybody's river, but it is also my river and I need to learn to take care of it and appreciate it because not everyone has that opportunity to have something as great as a river near them and I realize that I've taken that for granted. That the river is there and I can go there whenever I want and it will always be there for me to just go and visit.

Vince explores the L.A. River in Elysian Valley
Vince explores the L.A. River in Elysian Valley

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

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