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This spring 2013, Child Leader Project begins an innovative initiative to engage youth and young people in the Arlanza community on voting and civic engagement.
This “Civic Engagement Initiative,” engages youth organizers in a listening campaign throughout Arlanza to understand local concerns and civic interests. Based on this listening campaign, these youth organizers will organize a “Get Out the Vote” for the Ward 6 election in June 2013. This is the first initiative of its kind in the neighborhood of Arlanza in Ward 6—a ward of over 40,000 residents.
Youth Civic Engagement Coordinators: Paty Garcia and Eliza Arcos
To lead this initiative, CLP is happy to introduce Paty Garcia and Eliza Arcos as Youth Civic Engagement Coordinators. With the help of adult mentors from CLP and other local organizations, Patty and Eliza will be partnering with community, university and business organizations to engage the community and mobilize the vote.
Both young women have been students at Norte Vista High School, one of the public schools in Ward 6 and the primary partner of the Child Leader Project.
“Many of the people in the Arlanza community have to deal with daily inconveniences and challenges which can be easily changed if they are brought to the city council’s attention. The only problem is that the city council does not resemble or represent the community the way it should– but we can change that,”says Paty Garcia.
Not Just Another Sleepy Election in Riverside’s Ward 6
CLP is dedicated to creating a safe space for youth to connect and develop their leadership. This project will engage both youth and adult voters as leaders in establishing a wider base of community power. Recent elections for Ward 6 have averaged 2,000 voters even though the ward has more than 40,000 residents.
The campaign is non-partisan and will not support a specific candidate—the primary goal is to engage more residents of the Arlanza community in voting for their city council member. “Not only will more people participate, but it will give the council candidates a chance to understand who the community is and understand what needs to get done and how. City Council needs to understand the concerns and ideas of people like me,” shares Eliza Arcos.
As for Child Leader Project, the organization is excited about the opportunity to gain more knowledge about Arlanza and what the community thinks needs to be improved. CLP will also become more widely-recognized in the community for its other projects—including the Arlanza Community Garden, annual international trips to Mexico and India and Social Justice Saturday leadership experiences. CLP’s vision includes turning the Arlanza Garden over to a community-based non-profit of local residents within the next three years.
Reflections from the Coordinators
“I’ve been with Child Leader Project for nearly three years,” writes Eliza. Eliza is currently a graduating senior from Norte Vista High School, with the vision to stay local for her college education. “Within Child Leader Project I have worked on social justice issues that are important to me, such as immigration. From working with undocumented youth to working with lawyers, I work on presentations to educate the community. This city council election in June will be the first time I vote—and there are other youth like me who would vote if they were aware of what was at stake.”
Paty Garcia is a graduate of Norte Vista High School and a current student at Riverside City College, double majoring in Psychology and Political Science with the goal of transferring to a four-year university to obtain and PhD.
“I am an outgoing and active young Latina in my community and I have a passion for helping others who do not receive the help they deserve,” says Paty. “I am the first one in my family to graduate high school here in the United States and a first generation college student as well.”
Paty also serves as RCC’s Puente club president. “I’m excited for this project because I believe in giving back to my community because it has already given me so much.”
Donate and Support
CLP is a non-partisan, non-profit organization. This civic engagement campaign supports the engagement in young voters to understand what is most important to them, meet candidates and make conscious decisions to vote in one of Riverside’s most underrepresented wards.
To support this civic engagement initiative, you can donate on line by clicking here.