Student work at Lift for Life Academy
As you know, we set out an intention at the beginning of our process to engage young people – especially those under 18 – in the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods planning process. Through multiple youth resource group meetings, visits to local schools and after-school programs, we have talked with over 150 young people about neighborhood planning and the future of our community. From reimagining vacant property to developing maps of their communities, youth have consistently responded with optimism and ingenuity when asked about the future of their neighborhoods.
However, many young people have also expressed major challenges they face on a daily basis. Based on survey results gathered from more than 100 local youth, we see emerging trends:
- Public Transit
- Access to Jobs
- Trash and Littering
Priority Programs for Young People:
- Summer Jobs
- Summer Sports Programs
- Tutoring Programs
Additionally, about half of those who filled out the survey are involved in some sort of after-school activity or program. While almost 75% of young people said they were interested in being involved in improving their communities, only three said they were involved in local neighborhood associations. This highlights the great opportunity to engage young people in improving our neighborhoods.
On the morning of Friday, March 24th, we went to Cherokee Recreation Center to meet with kids participating in Cherokee Rec’s Spring Break Camp. We met with 20 kids ages 4-7 and talked to them about our planning efforts, their neighborhoods, and the kinds of things they want to see. Using interactive maps with pens and markers, kids mapped their homes, where they spend time in their neighborhood, what they want to see and the challenges they face. Here are photos of the two maps the kids drew:
“Community Loves: a lot to do, a lot of people you can trust, a lot of friends, library, people with talents, paints on houses.”
“Community Challenges: violence, bullying, lies, windows broken on houses, people are bad.”
“Love is all you need.”
On Thursday, March 16th, staff from Rise and DSCC facilitated a table and interactive mapping station during the parent-teacher conferences at Carnahan High School of the Future, located at 4041 S Broadway. Dr. Racette, the principal, has been active in our youth resource group, and graciously invited us to meet some of her teachers, parents and students.
We had the opportunity to distribute flyers to more than 50 parents, and engaged a dozen youth in conversations about their neighborhoods. We also gathered nine responses to our youth survey, asking students what they see as the strengths and challenges in the neighborhood, what kind of services or programming they need, and what question they would ask of other young people in their community.
When asked which activities they would most support for local youth, the majority of students said:
- Summer youth jobs
- Summer sports programs
- Tutoring programs
When asked about what would make their neighborhood a stronger, more supportive environment, they consistently said that we need to end the violence and clean up our streets.
Finally, every student said that they want to be a part of improving their neighborhoods.
On the morning on February 9th, 2017, we convened a cross-sector group of organizations working to support and empower young people in the Gravois-Jefferson planning area. These individuals were identified through community input to be necessary partners in advancing the strategies set out by residents and local leaders.
We began the meeting with a presentation about the plan, our progress, and the community input we’ve received related to youth
. We then went around the room and shared different work each organization is tackling, relating it back to the community input we have received. You can view the presentation we delivered here: Youth Group Presentation
We also catalogued how organizational and individual efforts are responding to community input. You can view that feedback here: Youth Resource Group Feedback
We look forward to continuing our work together.