Category Archives: Youth

Gravois-Jefferson Plan Update: 07/07/2017

The Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods planning team is excited to share an update on our progress and next steps. The past month has been busy!
We met with the TDLC Youth Council at Thomas Dunn Learning Center to discuss the Gravois-Jefferson Plan, participate in a neighborhood walk, and lead interactive mapping and community planning activities. These 13 through 19 year-olds are the community development leaders of the future. Equipping them with the tools and resources necessary to make change will be transformative for our neighborhoods!
We also held the seventh meeting of the Gravois-Jefferson Steering Committee — a remarkable group for fourteen passionate, engaged residents. Following a presentation by the nonprofit Forward through Ferguson, we began a conversation about developing criteria for evaluating draft plan recommendations. As defined in KU’s Community Tool Box, “criteria” as they relate to neighborhood planning “provide guidelines for making decisions… and depend on the community, the conditions that are in place at the time of the decision, the needs and concerns of the people making the decision, and other factors.” Examples may include urgency, equity, and feasibility. The Committee is currently in the process of determining which criteria they will use to evaluate plan recommendations.
We are also holding another round of Resource Groups to gain feedback on draft plan recommendations. Specifically, we want to ensure that our strategies support the work already underway and align with best practices and past successes. These meetings are also an opportunity to interact with community leaders and topic area practitioners to organize for implementation. Meetings are being held for all eight of our plan focus areas:
  • Safety and Security
  • Youth and Education
  • Employment and Business Development
  • Housing and Community Development
  • Transit, Streets, and Walkability
  • Health and Community Services
  • Environment and Ecology
  • Arts and Culture
From the resource group meetings and conversations with local and regional leaders, we will refine the plan recommendations and send them to the Steering Committee for evaluation and prioritization. Using the criteria they have established, the Committee will determine which recommendations are set out as community priorities. As this takes place, our planning team is actively developing plan content, including summaries of current conditions, catalogs of available funding resources, and overviews of best practices.
This process will lead directly into a draft plan meeting where local residents and organizations will gather to reflect on the plan, provide comments and organize around strategies. As we gather these local partners, we’d like the opportunity to connect them with individuals like yourself who have been a part of this process. If you would prefer not to have your email shared with these partners, please let us know. We look forward to disseminating information about the draft plan meeting once a date and time are finalized.
Once the draft plan is reviewed and any final edits are made, a final plan will be submitted for approval by the Planning Commission of the City of St. Louis!
Thank you all for your active participation throughout this process.
We look forward to walking these final steps alongside you,
The Gravois-Jefferson Team

Youth Engagement Update: 05/19/2017

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:

Greatest Strengths:

  1. Schools
  2. Public Transit
  3. Libraries

Greatest Challenges:

  1. Violence
  2. Access to Jobs
  3. Trash and Littering

Priority Programs for Young People:

  1. Summer Jobs
  2. Summer Sports Programs
  3. 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.


Cherokee Recreation Spring Break Camp: 03/24/2017

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.”

Carnahan High School Youth Engagement: 03/16/2017

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:

  1. Summer youth jobs
  2. Summer sports programs
  3. 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.


Youth Resource Group Meeting #1: 2/9/2017

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.