Every summer, KYCC’s Environmental Services Summer Youth Program provides paid positions for youth in Los Angeles to join our Environmental Services unit and learn more about how KYCC helps make Koreatown a more green and beautiful neighborhood. The Summer Youth take part in activities such as tree planting and maintenance, community engagement and outreach, graffiti removal and abatement, street cleaning activations and more.
This Summer, the group also participated in two projects to help bring more greenery to the streets of Koreatown. On July 28, the Summer Youth cared for three blocks on Pico Blvd. in between Arapahoe Street and Elden Avenue. The youth cleaned up areas of the streets with loose litter, rebuilt and repainted the fence barriers around four planters, and planted new succulents in planters. KYCC Environmental Services will work with local businesses in the area so that the succulents remain watered and cared for.
A week later, on August 4, the Summer Youth once again helped pick up loose litter on the streets of Venice Blvd. and helped restore planters at Exceptional Children’s Foundation. The hanging planters contain succulents that are planted in recycled plastic bottles, were originally planted and installed by KYCC Environmental Services at Exceptional Children’s Foundation four years ago. Now with the help of the Summer Youth, the old planters were restored and new succulents were planted, bringing more greenery to our neighborhood streets.
Nurjannah Wiryadimejo, one of the Summer Youth Supervisors, explains the importance of environmental education for younger generations. “As a Summer Youth Supervisor, I was able to observe how much of an impact exposing youth to actual nature can have on their mental, emotional, and physical health. When you’re a young person living in the city, it’s easy to become desensitized to all the concrete around you and forget what green environments feel like. Providing a gateway to environmental education for a younger generation, whether through tree maintenance or field trips to a farm, acts as a wake-up call that urban jungles aren’t only unnatural but harmful to the human existence. Seeing the interactions and realizations of the youth with nature has reminded me that environmental education is crucial, not only for their personal growth, but to a future filled with climate uncertainties.”
Danika Yi, a Summer Youth participant shares how she will never take this experience for granted. “It taught me so much about the environment and how much of an impact I can make within my community. I’m so glad that I signed up and reached out to take part in the first-hand experience of working. I hope I can be a part of it next year as well!”
Funded by Nissan North America and the City of Los Angeles Office of Community Beautification, the Summer Youth Program is a seasonal program overseen by KYCC’s Environmental Services unit. Since its establishment in 2012, the Summer Youth Program has not only made Koreatown a more beautiful and environmentally-friendly neighborhood but has also offered over 70 paid summer positions for youth in the city of Los Angeles. To learn more about ES Summer Youth Program, click here.