Residents mobilize to clean up streets

With crime rates down, Boyle Heights residents are focusing on how their neighborhood looks. Community members have taken up the task of rescuing neighborhood sidewalks from common blights like abandoned couches, mattresses and old televisions. Volunteers recently organized a cleanup – the third so far this year. “For me, it’s uncomfortable to see trash in every corner. That means that people don’t really care about where they live.” Find out more about the issue and what the neighborhood is doing about it, on Boyle Heights Beat.

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Learning the Dos and Don’ts of manhood

Derek Williams learned a lot about responsibility from his mom, and is critical of how his dad contributed to the household. Hear his perspective about manhood in this complicated family unit, on Youth Radio.

Dancer fuses east and west traditions, sparks conversations

Shyamala Moorty is bringing awareness to global issues by teaching “creative world dance” in elementary schools and performing throughout in Southern California. She does this hoping that the cultures of dance from different ethnic communities in Long Beach will intersect more — and says the local dance scene is currently dominated by Western forms. “She is trained in the traditional vocabulary but is also using it as a means of exploring the issues of our world today. I’m convinced this is what our region will become known for and Shyamala is leading the way.” Read more about her dancing, fusing cultural histories, on Voicewaves.

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Natural remedies flourish in Boyle Heights

Remedios, herbs and other natural substances used to treat medical illnesses, are part of Boyle Heights history. Their modern day use by people like Olivia Chumacero continues an ancient culture. Chumacero grows herbs and teaches a class about their healing properties. Read more on Boyle Heights Beat.

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Why Doctors Medical Center can’t close

Doctors Medical Center is the only public hospital in West Contra Costa County, serving 40- 45 thousand people per year. The hospital has been standing on the brink of closure in recent years, as proposals for a parcel tax to keep it open failed. But there continues to be an ongoing community effort to save the hospital. “We think it would be catastrophic for everyone in West Contra Costa County if the only public hospital that serves this area closed…  I’ve heard many community members say, ‘If the hospital were to close people will die.'” Read more on Richmond Pulse.

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Transit workers strike for better pay and more work

Drivers and mechanics for Golden Empire Transit have been on strike since July 15, picketing for a living wage and equal treatment for part-time drivers – “flex drivers” – who don’t get the same holidays or opportunities to advance as their full-time counterparts. Picketers at the stressed that contrary to rumors, strikers and their families are far from prosperous and are not making excessive demands. “We’re not asking for anything unfair or outrageous. The biggest issue is how unequal it is between full-time employees and flex drivers.”  More coverage of the strike is on South Kern Sol.

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Are students prepared for college… and career?

Last year, only 43 percent of high school students who took the SAT met the College Board’s standards for college readiness. More than 300,000 high school students who were qualified to take advanced placement courses didn’t take any. Are students being properly led to excel in college and in turn, advance a career? “English, math and science are the core subjects in our education system and in many high-paying careers. By learning these subjects, we are getting the tools to success. But many of us don’t know how to use them and apply them to real life.”  High-school students respond to the question, ‘Do you feel like you are being properly prepared for college and career?’ on Voicewaves.

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Local teens cope with loss of sex-ed

With one of the highest teen pregnancy rates among industrialized countries and 19 million new sexually-transmitted infections each year, the United States needs youth sex education classes. They help teens bridge the gap between what they know about sex, and what they think they know about sex. But the Long Beach school district cut sex education classes two years ago, and young people must look elsewhere for facts about sex. “I’ve been forced to direct my questions about sex to my mother. Other teens…look to their friends or the Internet. Sadly what they don’t understand is that their friends don’t know much more than they do.” Get the update from high school students on life without sex-ed in school, on Voicewaves.

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Why restorative justice is the best alternative to school suspensions

Long Beach students and teachers gathered at Reid High School to discuss the potential of restorative justice, a growing alternative approach to resolving conflicts in school settings. “In restorative justice what we actually do is require the student to stay, and when we require the student to stay, we also give them an opportunity to make it right.”  The report was published on Voicewaves.

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Encouraging literacy in youth

The Reading Buddies program helps to soften the “summer slide” between school years.  Children can lose grade-level equivalency during the summer months, when they don’t get the literacy stimulation from school. The library’s Summer Reading Program is also promoted for adults, who may overlook the program thinking that it’s meant for kids. But the program is beneficial for them too – and parents who read books cultivate reading among their children. More about the reading programs – one for young children – on Access Sacramento.

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