Long Beach, CA – Following the success of last year’s youth-led neighborhood tours, the City of Long Beach, in partnership with Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), will host a new series of tours this summer. My Hood, My City is a program that engages youth through civic education and leadership development by way of neighborhood storytelling.
“Long Beach is a city of neighborhoods, and who better to tell the story of our neighborhoods than the young people living there,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “This program helps youth become champions of their city and agents of change, while giving community members the opportunity to gain young peoples’ perspective of their neighborhoods.”
My Hood, My City is open to Long Beach youth ages 14 to 24 who live in North Long Beach, the Westside and the Washington neighborhood—all neighborhoods that experience disproportionate amounts of violence and poverty, and where historic redlining practices have left out the story behind these neighborhoods and the resilient youth and families who live in them. The program will engage up to 30 young people, who will cultivate a media project highlighting the beauty and struggle of their neighborhoods through photography, writing and interviews with neighborhood leaders. My Hood, My City is actively recruiting. The deadline to submit an application is June 19. The youth will meet weekly, in person throughout the summer, culminating with youth-led community tours in August. Along with the tours, participants will display their media projects at local business and libraries. These media projects will also be shared on the City’s and Youth Leadership Institute’s websites, social media channels, in newsletters, on Long Beach TV and more.
“Last year youth from each neighborhood had a chance to take control of their own narratives,” said Health and Human Services Director Kelly Collopy. “My Hood, My City shows people the breadth and diversity of our neighborhoods and shines a spotlight on the resilience of our communities.”
During the program’s inaugural session last summer, 28 participating Long Beach youth led a series of in-person neighborhood tours showcasing digital photography that told the story of their neighborhoods. The highlights of last year’s program can be found on the Long Beach Recovery Act Dashboard. This program’s initial launch was inspired by My Block, My Hood, My City’s youth-led tours in neighborhoods around Chicago that highlight the rich history of the area, and this year, Long Beach participants will have an opportunity to collaborate with My Block, My Hood, My City participants in Chicago.
The City’s Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) Office of Youth Development has partnered with YLI to manage the program. Application instructions and eligibility requirements are available through the Youth Leadership Institute’s My Hood, My City application. As space in this program is limited, people are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications to the program are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Prospective participants can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with questions.
My Hood, My City aligns with Goal 4 of the Youth and Emerging Adults Strategic Plan which focuses on Community Care priorities that give youth the opportunity to feel connected to their community and environment. My Hood, My City also aligns with Goal 2 of the Race and Reconciliation Initiative in Long Beach to design and invest in community safety and violence prevention to explore and increase investments in the broader continuum of public safety, such as community-based violence prevention and interventions.
This program is made possible by the Long Beach Recovery Act, a plan to fund economic and public health initiatives for Long Beach residents, workers and businesses critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information about the Long Beach Recovery Act is available at longbeach.gov/recovery.