Negotiating for Time to Explore



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

Scheduling a time to take a community field trip with the Youth Voices students at the L.A. Leadership Academy has been a challenge for a variety of reasons. The students' day is full of academic, extra-curricular activities and family responsibilities -- both during and after school -- and the students' available time is short. In addition, the school is preparing students for the California Star Test (CST) and are reluctant to see them out of class. Standardized tests, although challenged by a growing number of teachers, parents, and students, are still the primary method the District and the State use to evaluate teachers, principals, and schools. The pressure is too heavy to allow for other activities during this time.

So the question became, how can we find the time, without completely up-ending the students and the school's schedule, to go out into the community to explore, and investigate the neighborhood?

Youth Voices student producer snaps a picture

The community field trip, or field work, is a vital component of the Youth Voices curriculum as it provides the student producers an opportunity to collect media that is crucial in building their personal and neighborhood stories. It also puts into practice the technical and creative ideas they have been exploring during the media workshops. As an added benefit, going out as a group creates a safe and communal space to practice taking photos, record audio, and possibly interview community members.

Thankfully, through on-going communication and the cooperation of the classroom teacher and the school's administration, we were finally able to secure a time for a field trip.

On a cloudy L.A. spring day, the class ventured out into the surrounding neighborhood from their school, where the students took pictures with their phones and with cameras provided by Youth Voices. The results provide a street level view of the neighborhood that is often missed: the treasures in an empty lot, the sweetness of the dogs behind the fences, the blooming flowers and elegant trees that line the street, as well as a few stark images including that of a crying carousel/bouncy horse locked behind a black fence.

Youth Voices producers in the community
Youth Voices producers in the community.
A neighborhood dog is ready for his close up
A neighborhood dog is ready for his close up.
Looking up to catch a beautiful view
Looking up to catch a beautiful view.
Photo from LALA community field trip
Photo from LALA community field trip.

L.A. Leadership Academy Community Field Trip Route
View LALA - Field Trip #2 in a larger map

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