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Postcard Tour of El Monte and South El Monte

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By Ivan Jimez, student at Mountain View High School

What's your city postcard? We asked the Youth Voices students from three local El Monte and South El Monte High Schools this question at the end of our third meeting, and requested they design a postcard that defines their city as they see it. The assignment required students to explore and photograph a historical landmark or unique location iconic to local residents. The postcards offer a personal link and understanding of their neighborhoods, community, and history. We invite you to take a tour of El Monte and South El Monte through the eyes of current Youth Voices participants.

The City of El Monte has over 113,475 residents, according to the 2010 US. Census. Commuting is an important part of life in the San Gabriel Valley. The majority of high school students commute by alternative sources such as walking, biking, and skating. The Metrolink overpass, seen in the postcard above, is located on Durfee Avenue in between Valley Boulevard and Stoddard Way.

The Valley Mall

"A nice place to shop with ice cream in hand."--Guadalupe Avila, Mountain View High School

The Valley Mall is an iconic shopping center familiar to local El Monte residents. With a variety of storefront businesses, restaurants, and medical clinics, the shopping corridor spans east on Valley Mall Street. onto Tyler Avenue. Food is a predominant figure at the Valley Mall with an array of Mexican foods, such as the highly-rated El Chamango, a fruit salad, healthy juice, ice cream, and sandwich shop. El Chamango's best seller is a mango smoothie with mango chunks, Mexican Chamoy chili sauce, and a Tamarind-Chili stick called The Chamango. For a healthier option try a Bionico, a popular Mexican dessert fruit salad, made up of a variety of fruits drenched with sour cream and condensed milk, topped off with granola, shredded coconut, raisins, and sometimes honey.

By Ruby Muñoz, Student at Arroyo High School

Zamora Park

"Parks are key to any neighborhood and this is mine! Spent my childhood here and I am proud to call Zamora Park my home, and it made me who I am today."--Ivan Jimenez, Mountain View High School

Continue eastbound on Ramona Boulevard and Peen Mar Avenue and you will come across Zamora Park, a 5.17-acre park in El Monte. The park has a community center, playground equipment, and during the summer there are a variety of youth programs such as Pee Wee Cheer and Sports Club. If you're in the park during the morning hours you could join the large group of elderly residents practicing Tai Chi -- a type of martial art known for its defense techniques and health benefits.

By Stephanie Tang, student at Arroyo High School

The Starlite Swap Meet

The Starlite Swap Meet opened in the 1950s when the 860 car drive-in theater began to operate as an outdoor swap meet during the daytime. Over time, the swap meet was more successful than the theater; despite the closing of the theater in the mid-1990s, the swap meet continues to be held every Saturday and Sunday, hosting over 200 different vendors each day. The entrance with the iconic at deco sign is located on Rosemead Boulevard and Fern Street.

By Rafael Banuelos, student at South El Monte High School

Legg Lake Park

"Legg Lake is a large park that is plentiful of green, ducks, and people."--Laura To, Mountain View High School

Legg Lake Park is an incredible resource for both residents of El Monte and South El Monte. The park is part of the 1,492-acre Whittier Narrows Recreational Area. The park is located on both sides of the 60 Pomona freeway, at Rosemead Boulevard and Santa Anita Avenue. The park has a 2.5 mile dirt jogging path with breathtaking resting areas. For children there are several large sea creature playgrounds: an octopus, two dragons, and one friendly gray whale slide. The Los Angeles Dragon Boat Festival is held annually in the fall at Legg Lake Park. The 2000 year-old tradition is popular in China, and is now practiced by local Chinese residents in the city of South El Monte.

By Laura To, student at Mountain View High School

To see more of the student's postcards and other post please follow our projects social media hashtag #kcetyv on Twitter and Instagram.

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