Watts Residents Engage in the Holiday Spirit!

Since the Watts Community Studio presented on its findings, the neighborhood of Watts continues to offer exceptional events that involve community service, civic engagement, and cultural diversity. From the Dia de los Muertos event hosted by INSPIRE Youth Academy, to the Resident Advisory Council elections at some of the developments, to our local Lee’s Market and ESR partnering to deliver food on Thanksgiving, Watts continues to challenge the dominant narrative that it’s an unsafe, violent, and disengaged community.
Students at Grape Elementary School enjoy a snow experience in Watts.

Students at Grape Elementary School enjoy a snow experience in Watts.

Watts is active and during these last few weeks residents have offered their participation in the WeCleanWatts event, the 5k Turkey Trot and Farmers’ Market, along with turkey giveaways on behalf of multiple partnerships of agencies committed to serving the residents of Watts like Watts Health Foundation, Children’s Institute, Kaiser Learning Center, Kedren, First Five LA, and many more. Residents have met to offer ideas on the future of Watts through the Our Town Project facilitated by the WLCAC. Additionally, Parents of Watts gave away over 100 bikes to the youth of Watts to continue the active living and cycling movement ongoing in the community.These particular events have had active participation of local residents that demonstrate the continued community engagement in Watts.
Sweet Alice Harris and the Parents of Watts blessed the community with over 700 turkeys.

Sweet Alice Harris and the Parents of Watts blessed the community with over 700 turkeys.

During this holiday season, the Watts Community Studio has witnessed the cultural history that is alive in Watts. Local churches are participating in events like the traditional Posadas preparing for Christmas and honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe on Dec 12, which is also a Catholic tradition. Watts residents celebrated the Watts Christmas parade and unveiled a mural at the civic center that was a product of two great artists from two distinctly diverse communities: Mexico and Philadelphia.
Revving up for the Watts 2nd Annual Turkey Trot and so much more... good times!

Revving up for the Watts 2nd Annual Turkey Trot and so much more… good times!

These events are just a summary of the work that is ongoing in Watts that offer a great introduction to the ways in which Watts challenges its misrepresented identity. This most important during this season in which culture, tradition, and values establish a basis for holiday cheer. The Watts Community Studio will continue to share pictures, videos, media coverage, and data about Watts during this season to introduce a Watts that is very different from popular perspectives.
Is that a group of Watts residents I see riding down Central Ave? Yes it is!

Is that a group of Watts residents I see riding down Central Ave? Yes it is!

The Future of Watts: The Power of Youth Voice

Brainstorming Session

At the beginning of the Watts Community Studio project, our resident data nerds brought you the fun facts that the average person in Watts is 24 years old and that 39% of Watts residents are under 18. Watts is a young place, full of families (see Resources Page) and this matters as we think about how we can improve the quality of life for the neighborhood.

This summer, young people from Watts joined the Watts Community Studio through the Summer Youth Employment Program and conducted over 700 resident surveys. These youth got to know their own neighborhood in a more intimate way than so many of us get a chance to. Can you imagine asking 700 of your neighbors what they feel needs to be improved in the community?

700

Within the last few weeks, these incredible Watts young people have entered resident survey data into spreadsheets for data analysis and continued to participate in other aspects of the project.  As school has now started, their time with the WCS is coming to a close. Yet before they leave, we decided to turn the tables on these teens and ask them what they think Watts needs. 

Youth Presentation

For two weeks, the youth met with each other and talked about their experiences growing up in Watts and being a part of this project. They presented the WCS team with their ideas and recommendations last week. The team was blown away by their thoughtful insights into what the young people of Watts want the most. Their idea will be in our final report. It will remain a surprise for now, but here is a sneak preview by way of Wordle:

Wordle