Schooling Youth: Quality of Education in Elmhurst
In 2019, our community needs assessment revealed a wealth of dynamic data about the issues plaguing Elmhurst, from the rise in gentrification to a subpar public sanitation system. After analyzing our survey data, one of the issues that stood out to most of us was the lack of awareness younger students and parents had about their agency in public and charter schools, and the resources they had to offer.
Elmhurst is populated with predominantly Asian and Hispanic immigrants, which equates to difficulty with communication and a strong language barrier. Parents are unable to provide the necessary time and effort to contribute to their child's education and in return, their children lack the necessary enrichment and support from their parents. By hosting an event at Elmhurst Park targeting parents and young students in the neighborhood about how they can and should be involved in the school community, we were able spark a sense of inspiration, willingness, and passion for change and action.
Our park day event was composed of fun and informational activities, pamphlets, and a speech to engage the young student population about the significance of standing up for themselves in the face of authority. We realized that fear and misunderstanding blockaded these young people from effectively addressing the injustices or inequities they noticed at school. As young community leaders ourselves, we took particular interest in extending the concept of youth agency to younger generations to ensure that they understand that regardless of age, they have authority and can create it for themselves when united with other students.