Mapping Community: Cynthia B.


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 critically about their neighborhood along with initiating a creative freedom to express ideas true to their experiences. The maps provide a visual narrative of their city and a possible vision for the future. To see more of their work click HERE or use #kcetyv on Twitter and Instagram.

As I drew my map, I began with places that have a huge significance for me. The map didn't help with my responses, however, it helped me notice places I visit often and, of course, helped me improve my drawing skills. Mountain View High School is the place I spend most of my time and is the first thing I drew on my map. Additionally, my future is dependent on this school which is the most important thing to include.

Incomplete streets are streets that do not ensure safe transportation for pedestrians, bicyclist, public transit users, and vehicles . As an El Monte resident, I find our streets to be incomplete and potentially dangerous. In order to resolve this situation, I suggest to promote the Complete Streets policy in our community to provide safely designed and operating streets for users of all ages and abilities.

Jamba Juice screams healthy and fun having it's bright colors, mostly green, is the reason I choose this as the most colorful place in El Monte.

My childhood experiences are drawn widely around Voorhis Elementary School and is currently the place where I create memories having conversations with friends and/or spouses.

Edwards Movie Theaters is a quiet place in El Monte. Nobody is allowed to talk during a movie for it will disturb people watching the film.

The first layer of Cynthia's map marks out the locations in her community that are important to her.  At the top of the page is the map with the second layer that provides more descriptions and experiences.

A place that has history is my house. I have so many memories and experiences there, that leaving that place would be a bittersweet moment because it's crowded there, and because I grew up there.

Whether its window shopping, eating, or walking around without any cash, the Valley Mall is a place friends/families can hang out any day of the week.

A great place for people to participate in many events is Zamora Park, including Rockin' Wednesday.

One person cannot define my community or neighborhood. It takes many people, the diversity, and the culture to define my neighborhood.

A place I avoid is McDonald's. It is disgusting, the playset has not been replaced since I was a child. The food is DISGUSTING, it's UNHEALTHY, it's not even food.

On the other hand, La Barca is a great place to eat. " El Molcajete", a mexican dish, is something I enjoy when I visit. I connect with the people there and the environment of the restaurant gives me positive vibes.

Cynthia references her Youth Voices Notebook as she draws her map.

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