Kid City introduced its Youth Participatory Action Research in 2019 to encourage student community and civic participation to address pressing educational issues in their community. Since becoming a staple in Kid City's high school and leadership programming, youth have truly molded a sense of community responsibility and ownership through the program.
Student have intentionally identified other forms of inequity (mental health, immigration status, income inequity, housing insecurity) as student issues due to their own and their peers' lived experiences.
Snapshot of Past YPAR Projects
2022-23: Student Perspectives on the State of Housing in South LA
2021-22: The Plight of Redlining: In the lens of Students of Color Movements
Amidst a time of uncertainty, there are disadvantaged students experiencing the effects of underfunding due to redlining. In the past, there has been student activism in regards to attaining more fair and equal opportunities for students, especially students of color. Students researched the impacts of redlining and sharing the student perspective on these disregarded issues through interviews and short films.
The defacto discrimination of racial and ethnic minorities has resulted in adversities still felt today including low employment and income which directly affects school funding and resources available to children. Stimulating programs, challenging classes, and opportunities for growth are not presented to children due to schools exercising their funding on other areas, like campus police.
Faced with such obstacles and forced to accept it as the norm, Kid City participants have documented their experience through the 2019 Teacher strikeout and their day-to-day being an LAUSD student in a Title 1 school.
Funding in the right areas can push the lives of children for the better. School is supposed to be a safe space but the majority of LAUSD students do not have the privilege of experiencing it.
2020-21: Resilience in the Face of Multiple Realities: Impact of COVID-19 on LAUSD High School Students
What began as a 2 week closure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in LAUSD schools has now persisted for over 10 months. In those 10 months, the amount of learning loss and creation of multiple realities for high school students has exponentially increased in a similar way as Covid. In their research presentation, High School students created a short video documentary sharing their experiences during the pandemic. The short documentary illustrates the four primary areas of impact COVID has created for students across LAUSD including 1) alternate realities (what educators see vs what students actually experience), 2) a lack of mental health support, 3) multiple roles for students and 4) increased disparities in services to undocumented students.
The YPAR students' goal is to inform educators about their experiences to help teachers, counselors and administrators make informed decisions about their online learning curriculums and student engagement.
YPAR Student Team: Joel Salas • Stephanie Contreras-Reyes • Alma Castillo • Kesha Linicome • Maria Maldonado • Bryan Lopez • Jonathan Renoj
2019-2020: Mental Health of Undocumented Students
Research over the past three years has shown an alarming downward trend on undocumented youth’s mental health in the United States. Since 2017, Latino youth have been found to have higher levels of depression than peers in other ethnic groups, related to discrimination and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Kid City high school students conducted research on issues related to the impact current immigration policies, rhetoric, laws, and negative narratives are having on the mental health of undocumented high school students. Our high school students proposed solutions that include social-emotional best practices, community engagement through education, and how school districts can make a difference by advocating for their students and families. The YPAR team had the privilege of presenting their findings at Harvard's Alumni of Color Conference (just a few weeks before the COVID-19 Pandemic)!
Check out Kid City's Community Resource Page featuring the 2022-23 YPAR Team's Project for Essential & Low-to-no cost Leisure Resources for low-income residents!