Many Long Beach residents say the closest healthy food outlets are too far from home and school. Fast food chains and convenience stores are everywhere, and lure young people into unhealthy eating habits. Long Beach youth were interviewed about this, and while all agreed that they need more food markets and fewer liquor stores, they also point out that working with existing liquor and corner store owners could help along the way. “The fast food restaurants do have an effect on my family. In fact, my mom buys more soda than water.” Long Beach youth talk about how they’re impacted by limited access to fresh food, and what they think would help, on Voicewaves.
As summer wound down, so did the Summer Night Lights program at the Ramona Gardens Recreation Center. The Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD), with support from the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies, held 32 city parks open until 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday. Community members said the parks created a safe place to enjoy sports, games, art classes and other activities, in neighborhoods where violence is common. This was the fifth year of Summer Night Lights.“Some kids are here at 2:00 p.m. when I get here and stay until I leave at 11:00a p.m. What else would they be doing?” Read about it on Boyle Heights Beat.
The ‘willful defiance’ category of high school discipline has undergone controversy due to the disproportionate use of the term in punishing African-American and Latino students. California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year prohibiting administrators from meting out harsh punishments due to ‘willful defiance.’ Now it seems Brown has compromised on a new bill that would limit schools’ power to enforce the category. Read the story on Access Sacramento.
Community health groups joined with Sacramento County to offer a three-part series of healthy eating classes this summer, aimed at educating singles and families about eating nutritious food on a budget and busy schedule. “The classes specifically are addressing the learning needs of individuals… These classes about healthy eating suit the community because people want more knowledge about the choices they make.” Read more on Access Sacramento.
Youth reporters conducted an interview on an important issue: the sharp increase of undocumented children crossing the border from violence-ridden Central America. A lawyer from the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project answered questions to inform Youth Radio listeners about this issue. The group is spearheading a lawsuit to give minors legal representation in their refugee status cases. “This is pretty serious violence, perpetrated by gang members and other people who… are targeting young people specifically, so that’s why you see a lot of younger people coming to the United States.” Read more on Youth Radio.
Supporters caravanned through Southern California, visiting 21 El Super grocery stores to push for contracts that include paid sick leave, full-time status, seniority rights and respect on the job. “Right now, a Super worker full-time is actually 32 hours. And that’s not enough to raise a family.” Workers and community organizers speak on the issues in a video on Voicewaves.
Mentors from the Sons & Brothers initiative, formerly Boys and Men of Color, talk about the value of a summer program that brings together youth of color from throughout the state, and engages them in the issues affecting their lives. “A lot of the kids are currently going through a lot of things. They come from broken homes… They have depression, and, especially during the summer, they don’t have places to go to let that out and share it. What we’re able to do is create a space for them to share.” Read more on Coachella Unincorporated.
Coach John Island has been boxing since he was 10 years-old, but he never thought about teaching the sport to others until a cancer diagnosis slowed his own career. Now Island runs the Richmond Police Activities League, a boxing program for at-risk youth. Island is both a coach and a mentor to the boys. “I found a way to use what I know to change lives.” Read more on Richmond Pulse.
Hundreds marched in Boyle Heights to speak out against crime in their neighborhoods. The annual National Night Out event was hosted by Hollenbeck Police Station and also included food and entertainment. “We all play a part in sewing the seeds of peace and we need to be active participants to maintain peace in our community.” Read more on Boyle Heights Beat.
If you’re a high school student, the last place you want to be on a beautiful summer day is in a classroom with 36 other kids, doing schoolwork. But Youth Radio found out that sometimes, the more relaxed learning environment in summer school can help students recover what they failed during the year. “It’s a challenging environment, with only five weeks to teach an entire course. While students seem to be getting what they came for, teacher Marlies Lewis has some reservations about how success is defined in summer school.” A teen shares his lessons from summer school, and in a story that aired on NPR’s All Things Considered, a teacher explains her approach to reach kids trying to get credits to graduate, on Youth Radio.