Lincoln Heights: Community Action & Awareness

Have you ever stopped and really looked at your community and wondered what you could do to help make it a better environment? Well, on Oct. 28th Lincoln High School students went around their neighborhood took photos of specific areas in the area that represented what they believed to be community challenges and community benefits. It was interesting to see what the students chose to take photos of and how in depth their explanations were when they spoke about the photos they chose.

Annett and Olivia organizing photos on the poster!

The students’ photos included areas such as empty lots, trash on the streets, and abandoned housing.

One of the students, Jennifer, discussed that one of the large empty lots right next to school has been empty for around four years now. We were able to discuss what benefits that empty lot could for the community if it were used for local gardening or used for anything in general that would be able to cater to the needs of the neighborhood rather than be a waste of space. Crystal, AFSC staff, shared about a city resolution supported by organizations like Los Angeles Food Policy Council that would support people who want to create gardens and local food businesses instead of having empty lots, by giving tax incentives to land owners. Students thought the idea was much better than an empty lot, especially when it only serves as a dump site for people’s trash. Olivia shared, “it just makes me sad seeing garbage everywhere on the streets when I’m walking to school.”

Students also discussed their dislike of an abandoned prison building in Lincoln Heights and many were surprised of the toxic chemical asbestos that was located in the walls. This is not only a waste of space in Lincoln Heights, but it is also a health hazard in the community. On a brighter note, Araceli, explained that she appreciated Lincoln Heights park because individuals and families were able to sit, relax, and enjoy the scenery of nature even though they live in the middle of a fast-paced city.

Aneht, Jenny, and Eli presenting their “Our Community Scan” poster!

Aerial view of one of the “Our Community Scan” posters.

Olivia discussing her thoughts on some community benefits.

Crystal, Olivia, and Araceli adding one more photo and the finishing touches to their presentation.

After both groups of students presented, we began a dialogue about what they would like to see in their community. These ideas would become our potential service learning project options. Some of the ideas the students felt interested in researching and working on during this semester included:
  • More Green Spaces
  • Community Cleanings
  • Farmer’s Market/Sidewalk sales
  • Community Events
In the next week or so the students will be deciding on one specific topic for them to be able to work on together for a final class community project.
After we had finished discussing the students’ suggestions for their possible future project, it was time to eat some snacks!

(From left to right): Eli, Zanetta, Araceli, Jenny, Crystal, Jennifer, and Olivia.

It was so delightful to being able to just sit and talk with these students about not only their thoughts on things that they had viewed in their community, but also just to check in with them to see how they were doing with school and anything else they wanted to talk about. I’ve had such a blast getting to know each and every one of these students and I’ve learned what examples of true positivity looks like from these amazing women. I feel so blessed to be able to learn alongside them; it’s wonderful for us to be able to think of creative ways to enrich their learning experience and brainstorm ideas for us all to cater to the needs of the Lincoln Heights community.
Written by Zanetta Uy
If you want to find out what topic they decide to do their final project on, be on the look out for more future blog posts to stay updated! Please check out our facebook as well for more pictures from Lincoln High School and other Roots for Peace sites! 
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Instagram: @RootsforPeace_AFSC_LA
 Written: 6th November 2014

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