Photos by David Ng

On May 16th, our student leaders formally presented their year-long policy projects to an audience of their peers, at Roosevelt High School. Their policy project tackled the issue of illegal dumping in Boyle Heights.

Over the course of their program, the students conducted online and field research, collected data and evidence, identified obstacles, and created a list of policy recommendations. Through this process students learned how to transform passion and interest into real action. Our youth engaged in multiple discussions to identify illegal dumping as a public policy priority in Boyle Heights. For several weeks, our students worked together to better understand illegal dumping and its impact on the region.

One youth leader, Amy Olide, held a natural experiment using a recently dumped mattress by her home. She recorded the sanitation departments response time and the challenges she faced when reporting the dumped item. Not only did Amy discover that the Sanitation Department was difficult to contact, she also found that their services were delayed. Amy’s experiment reflected what the student’s research had found – although there has been significant progress made on illegal dumping in the City of Los Angeles, there is still a need for improvement. The policy presentation concluded with a Q&A discussion with their peers and teachers.