July 31st – What changes do you want in North Troy?

Today the morning session was comprised of the ‘Youth Change Makers’ splitting up into three groups. Each of the groups were focused on a different part of the continued mapping workshop with Rutgers professor Atif Akin.

The three groups switched stations every 40 minutes. The first of the groups worked directly with Atif to learn some basic graphic design techniques and skills. The teens are going to use these skills in order to adequately build their maps and make them more aesthetically pleasing.

The second group worked with visiting artist Blaine to do some Internet research. For each of the teens various topics, they did some research in order to ensure the accuracy of their maps. For example, the group that is working on mapping the violence that has taken place in North Troy researched recent violent crimes in the area and noted where they took place in order to know where these events took place. 

The third and final group focused on field research and stencils. In addition to this mapping workshop, the teens are working on a large-scale stencil project to put on a boarded up window of an abandoned building. The third group began working on this, and they also went out to the community to do some field research about their respective topics, asking local people if they had any insight about their topic.

Today’s lunch was pasta with some delicious homemade tomato sauce!

After lunch the teens were surprised with the arrival of special guest and Assemblyman John McDonald. The ‘Youth Change Makers’ were incredibly fortunate as they were able to talk with Assemblyman McDonald about the different problems that North Troy faces and the ways in which he can work with them to improve it. Check out THIS VIDEO of Assemblyman McDonald’s talk with the teens.

In the afternoon the teens went back out into the community to talk to people and gain more information for their mapping project. The group documenting the violence in North Troy They learned of more stories of violence and followed their community excursion by adding the newfound information to their map. They also began to separate the different kinds of violence in North Troy and made a ‘key’ to represent this.