Students grade school district’s Local Control and accountability plans

Parents, students and community leaders, along with the superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District met to grade the district on the first year of its implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula. Now that the spending and accountability plan has been submitted, students and community members had a chance to grade them from A to C.  With this evaluation, they hope to give education authorities feedback to integrate into its second-year process. A video of the discussion is on Voicewaves.

Former prisoner finds solace in community garden

Brandon Clark has learned a lot in his 25 years. He went to prison for a robbery he committed while at the same time getting job skills training in carpentry and gardening. Now he’s back in Richmond picking up where he left off  – gardening and landscaping with the community group Urban Tilth.  Working outdoors is a stark difference to the confinement of prison, and reminds Clark to stay far away from crime. “That’s a chapter of my life that is closed now. I’m never returning back.”  A full profile of Clark is on Richmond Pulse.

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Old Town Artisan Studio to host clay camps in Mecca

A mobile art program is coming to Boys & Girls Club, with different art camps specifically reserved for students in Mecca. Instructors there are excited to welcome students in the Eastern Coachella Valley, who they hope to teach that their hands are tools for creating.  “A lot of the parents [in the Eastern Coachella Valley] are picking grapes, or working with their hands, and they’re working with the earth. The way I see it, [working with clay is] a way to show kids you can work with your hands, but your hands aren’t just for work, they’re for creating.” Learn more on Coachella Unincorporated.

How to make a liquor store a place for healthy food

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.

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When parks are open late, ‘sense of community’ awakened

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.

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The statewide impact of ‘willful defiance’

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.

Free nutrition classes give a boost to Oak Park

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.

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Legal help for minors crossing the border

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.

Why El Super grocery workers should get paid sick leave

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.

Coachella Valley youth attend Sons and Brothers Camp

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.

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