By ALEJANDRA ALARCON/Coachella Unincorporated
COACHELLA, Calif. – Racies Cultura, a non-profit organization promoting culture and art in the community, revealed the findings of its yearlong Youth-Led Participatory Research Project (YPAR) at the most recent Building Healthy Communities collaborative meeting.
Over the course of the project, youth research leaders reached out to the different communities of the Eastern Coachella Valley to find answers to the following questions:
- What are the recreational activities available to youth in the community?
- What changes would you like to see in your community?
Different Communities, Different Needs
Students found different needs in each community.
According to the YPAR, 58.3 percent of youth in Coachella wish to see more culture and art in their community.
“I was expecting a higher number of youth to want more culture and art in their community, because Coachella is very cultural,” said Kathyrine Lizarraga, first year Raices research student.
Student researchers also found that 65.1 percent of youth in Thermal believe there is a lack of youth involvement in their community, and 59.2 percent of youth would like to see more youth-oriented activities and workshops.
“The boxing club is the only local recreational opportunity in Thermal,” said April Alarcon, first year Raices research student. “We hope to promote youth-led projects in Thermal.”
In Mecca, 56.2 percent of youth would like to see more environmental workshops in their community.
“There is a big environmental issue in Mecca, and we would like to collaborate with task forces to help promote environmental projects in the community,” said Alarcon.
Seventy-five percent of Oasis participants responded that they do not have public transportation. Youth are not able to easily access recreational opportunities in other communities due to this lack of transportation.
“Oasis and North Shore lack transportation and accessible activities,” said Nereida Montes, second year Raices research students.
In North Shore, 58.1 percent of youth answered that they do not have anywhere to go besides school and home during after school hours. One hundred percent of youth in this area said there is no public transportation.
Youth Taking Action
Raices Cultura is taking immediate action with the data they have collected from their research. The group is currently working on “Operation Beautification.”
They plan to beautify Coachella by painting electrical boxes throughout Harrison Street with a historical and cultural theme.
“Without our research and findings, I don’t think we would be able to do anything because now we have the proof,” said Montes.
Youth researchers were successful in collecting nearly 635 youth surveys and 159 adult surveys from residents throughout the Eastern Coachella Valley.
The voice of the Eastern Coachella Valley is being heard and Raices Cultura is ready to take action.
For a copy of the report, please visit our website www.raicesdelvalle.org