Building Community in Arleta

I hope that you’re enjoying this time of the year with loved ones. I really appreciate the holidays because it gives me a chance to spend quality time with those who I am close to. This year has been very busy for me as I am going to school and starting a community program in Arleta with the guidance of Grand Aspirations. I’ve gotten to know some of the people behind this organization over the past five months due to my participation in a program partially supported by GA located in East Los Angeles called La Causa Summer of Solutions. I’m happy to be under the wing of an organization that is run by young people who are enthusiastically and successfully creating programs that integrate community building, social justice, and sustainability.

1Jaqueline Bartz, Program Leader

The Summer of Solutions Program in Arleta will take place during next summer of 2013. I have teamed up with one other community member named Ana, a dedicated young woman who has experience working with grassroots organizations that have focused and acted to make food more accessible to residents living in the greater Los Angeles area. 2

Ana Murillo, Program Leader

Ana and I are in the process of organizing and preparing for the year to come.
We plan to work with local elementary, middle, and high schools to expand education by running outdoor living classrooms and school gardens. We intend to create curriculum that will exceed the districts standards and show students that there are many different ways to learn other than in a conventional indoor classroom setting. A major part of our motivation for running such a program is to serve as an example to youth that those who want to make a move toward a stronger, more tight knit community can do so if one has the drive. Another plan we have in store is to work with or create a community garden in Arleta.

We have learned that the possibilities for sharing and becoming closer to those around us are endless. Sometimes we have very rigid expectations, but we have seen that there comes a time where all we have to do is let our inhibitions go and give our ideas a shot. Every individual matters and has the potential to act whether big or small. This is why Ana and I have come together to help reach the goal of living in a community that is forward thinking not only for their self-interest but for the interest and well-being of their elderly, children, and neighbors.

Potential Site for a New Garden in Arleta

This program is about creating relationships with each other and connecting with people who surround us. We do not wish to run away from challenges or pass obstacles on to others, but instead we want to create a network of people who will welcome a challenge and who know how to solve a problem as a collective.

We all need to start somewhere and Ana and I are doing just that. In the month of January we will attend a gathering held by another summer of solutions program in Washington D.C. Here we will learn how to maximize and create resources around us. We will have a chance to learn how to be effective as individuals and as part of a community.

If you would like to help us create our own Summer of Solutions chapter in the city of Arleta, you can donate here You can also contact us to let us know if you would like to help in another way or if you would like us to notify you of upcoming events.

I hope you enjoy yourself this holiday season and beyond!

Jaqueline, Program Leader

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