Our Pio Pico Koreatown’s Teens Leading Change participants chose to focus on making their Hollywood neighborhood cleaner and safer for all to enjoy. After researching ways to accomplish this, they are taking a two-prong approach: recruit teens and other community members to directly clean up the streets and create a tranquil garden space at the Will and Ariel Durant Branch Library. The teens explain the need for this in Hollywood:
We all love being part of the Hollywood community, and as students, our surroundings affect the way we feel as we move around the area. The main reason why we decided to focus on community beautification cleanups around Hollywood High School and creating a community garden at the Will and Ariel Durant Branch Library is the need to feel safe. Part of feeling safe is also living and studying in an area that is clean and free of pollution. Our community is special and we want to take pride. We know that our area faces many challenges due to the unsheltered population and tourism. Our streets become littered with trash and forgotten items. This not only affects the way we see our neighborhoods but it also leads to the spread of disease and germs.
When a group like us takes this approach our pride and sense of community will spread throughout the city. We want to create a positive change that lasts and that starts with city beautification and urban gardening. As this project grows we want to continue to encourage people to take pride in our community by actively participating in cleaning our streets and in finding solutions to facilitate access to safe spaces and healthy living environments.
—Oscar A. Giurcovich, Young Adult Librarian, Pio Pico Koreatown Branch, and the Hollywood High School’s Matter With Purpose Club
Hollywood High School’s Matter With Purpose Club consists of freshmen to seniors. Its members are actively engaged in several projects to bring awareness to global issues such as access to clean water in developing countries. The club first began working with Teens Leading Change in 2020.
The Teens Leading Change initiative has funded and launched nearly 40 projects across 50 branches, including 8 projects across 11 branches that are happening now! These projects are related to Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities, Fighting Food Insecurity, Addressing Environmental Racism, Neighborhood Beautification, Financial Literacy, Addressing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Supporting Youth with Housing Insecurity.