Moving Forward: Seeing the Finish Line!

Surveying at several locations around Watts throughout the summer.

Surveying at several locations around Watts throughout the summer.

Today concludes the survey administration phase of the Watts Community Studio (WCS) project!  Survey administrators walked throughout Watts within Council District 15 boundaries asking residents about community needs, assets, and conditions. Several Watts-area organizations also hosted survey administration days and provided support to the WCS team.  Throughout the summer, the Los Angeles Police Department and City of LA’s Summer Night Lights program collaborated in survey administration and bolstered community support.  Additionally, local churches informed their congregation about the project and as a result of all these great efforts, the WCS received endless support.  LA Department of Water and Power (DWP) donated light bulbs, coloring books, bags, and stress balls for a surveys administration day.  Additionally, local residents hosted a dinner for the tireless work of the WCS team during hot and long days of survey administration.

Images from around Watts where surveyors often spent time talking to residents.

Images from around Watts where surveyors often spent time talking to residents.

Our survey administrators were composed of youth born and/or raised in Watts employed by the City of LA’s Summer Youth Employment Program. These youth drove the success of the WCS survey administration phase. Watching them use their observational skills and knowledge about Watts in order to identify the challenges and struggles in the community, as well as assets, has been a great experience. Their skills for community engagement and knowledge of their own neighborhood grew. Today our WCS survey team can tell us where all the service planning areas of Watts are and what differences there are between them – do you know your neighborhood that well?  They can also identify local organizations, programs, parks, and businesses that are actively engaging in the future of Watts.

The WCS survey team gets treated to a home cooked meal made by Maria Gonzalez. Maria and Javier Gonzalez are also the proud parents of WCS staff member Cynthia Gonzalez. Cynthia and her family live in Watts. This was a lovely impromptu treat.

The WCS is committed to a collective community engagement approach.  The survey administration phase has definitely demonstrated the commitment of local community-based organizations, city agencies, youth, and residents.  WCS is thankful for this collective effort.  The next phase of the project includes asset mapping, data entry and analysis, focus groups, and the writing of the 5-year plan.

Watts is resiliency and commitment!

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