Samantha Martinez-Mendoza and Joe Chan are Harrison Park Elementary students in Timothy Schulze’s class, and participated in the Jade Journal project earlier this year. They both live near the school, and wrote about issues facing kids in the neighborhood.
On what they and their families like about the neighborhood…
Samantha: I’ve been here since fourth grade. My mom has been here before and she likes it. She also works in this neighborhood.
Joe: I was here since kindergarten. My parents really like this neighborhood because they can make friends and go over to their houses nearby. I really like the diversity, and how there’s people from all over the world here.
Samantha: Me too!
What did you write your story on?
Joe: I wrote about parks, because East Portland doesn’t have enough parks for us to play around. Kids just stay at home without any exercise, when they could go to park with their friends and family just to play, but they’ll just stay at home playing video games, so they don’t get to experience the outside, or the forests.
Samantha: I wrote about how APANO helped us here at our school start our garden.
Joe: Our article was about gardens, too.
Samantha: Yeah, so we’re growing things like tomatoes and watermelons and lettuce so we can have healthy food. We got to taste them a few days ago.
What was it like going to city council?
Samantha: We were really nervous before, but Joe went on first and I went on after him so I wasn’t as scared.
Joe: It feels weird to go first, because you don’t get to see other people do it right. But, if you go on afterwards you can copy the other person and what they did right, and fix what they didn’t
Samantha: We wrote letters to the mayor about what we think we need in our neighborhood. I wrote about food, and how we need more healthy stores around here. I remember when we got there, the mayor was holding up our newspaper.
Joe: I wrote my letter about safety, and how we need more sidewalks, stop lights and sidewalks. People are getting hit a lot with cars, because streets don’t have sidewalks. And the crosswalks need to be longer, because some people are old, and they take more time to walk over and they might run out of time and get hit.
Read more about the Jade Journal