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.
Creating this map brought me closer to identifying what I consider a community. I started from the farthest edges to find a good distance ratio. I made sure to keep my school, Mountain View High School, because I take pride in it and I invest a lot of time into it.
Name a place, corner or location in your neighborhood that you want to see changed.
I'd like to see some improvements in our riverbed and our industrial areas, because I think that they have potential to look more appealing and attract visitors.
Where is a place with great colors?
This may sound strange but one of the spots I know to have the most colors is GameStop. I know they are not natural but all those cartoons and designs are just fun to look at.
Name a place that has a deep personal meaning to you?
Mountain View High School, it's where I've found some of my inspirations, my life lessons, and my close friends.
What is a place that's always quiet?
Starbucks... people study there
A place that has "history?"
We have the San Gabriel River. It is a bridge between what this land used to be and what it has become. El Monte's Valley Mall was the first outdoor shopping center in Southern California.
Where is a great place to hang out?
Aaron's house, the Headquarters.
Name a place where people come together to participate in a shared activity.
Frank's Swag Castle, Wingstop, Jack in the Box, Kevin's Swag Palace, Jose's Swag Hut, JJ's Gym, McDonald's
Who is a person that defines your neighborhood for you?
Emily Tran, she's one of my friends whom at one point was at school everyday from 7 in the morning to 8 at night participating in school groups.
Name a place or person that you are afraid to meet or cross paths with.
I am afraid to encounter an intimidating cholo, or maybe someone who seems mentally unstable.
Where is a great place to eat in your neighborhood?
Tacos del Chino, and if you don't mind driving a bit, Chipotle.