By TONY E. AGUILAR/Coachella Unincorporated
COACHELLA, Calif. — It’s been nearly two years since the youth journalists of Coachella Unincorporated began covering the Eastern Coachella Valley.
The young reporters have since reported on community issues, both up-close and from afar, with some students traveling as far as Boston and Washington, D.C. –- but without a home of their own in the community they cover.
That changed a few weeks ago when Coachella Unincorporated entered into a sublease with Raices, a youth development organization focusing on culture and the arts.
Located at 1494 Sixth Street, in the heart of downtown Coachella, Coachella Unincorporated’s space at Raices already felt like home to the young journalists. It is one of the many borrowed community rooms in which editorial meetings have been held for the past two years. The group has also meet at the Carreon Foundation, Inland Congregations United for Change, Coachella Boys & Girls Club, Building Healthy Communities, and various coffee and sandwich shops throughout the region.
“After jumping between meeting locations, it’s finally nice to have a place to call our own. With dedicated hours and a place where we can hold interviews, this new office adds to the journalistic feel of Coachella Unincorporated,” said the youngest member Johnny Flores, 15.
The most frequent meeting space has been the Building Healthy Communities conference room, where the group often debriefed and discussed potential story ideas and getting accustomed to the new meeting space of the week.
“We are very grateful to Building Healthy Communities and all the community organizations who generously provided us with meeting spaces,” said Brenda Rincon, the group’s coordinator. “But it is so important for our students to have a consistent place to call home and Raices is the perfect place. We have so many things planned for 2013, and our new office will provide us with much-needed work space in addition to increased visibility in the community.”
Now that the move has taken place, it is business as usual for Coachella Unincorporated. Providing the community with a website filled fresh content is the top priority for this dedicated group of youth. A visit to www.coachellaunincorporated.org proudly showcases interviews with public officials, thoughtful commentaries by students, original photography, and student-produced videos on relevant issues.
The public is encouraged to attend Coachella Unincorporated’s editorial meetings, to help brainstorm and pitch ideas to staff reporters. If you would like to attend, please email [email protected]