If you were mayor, what would you do to make Richmond a better place to live? That question was posed to high school students whose ideas included more jobs, focus on youth, safer neighborhoods, better schools and even a picnic for police, firefighters and the community members they serve.
“The first initiative I would take is to build more teen centers,” wrote Daniela, first-place winner in an essay contest sponsored by the San Quentin Richmond Project at Leadership Public High School. “…the centers will help the students understand the material they are learning in school, helping them get good grades; and it will help the students’ fitness and, more importantly, keep them off the streets.”
KNOW ONE ANOTHER
She added, “The second idea I want to accomplish is a picnic, as a community, where we all get a chance to impact and get to know each other. There would be fun activities for all citizens of all ages. The main part of this event is to bring out policemen, firefighters, etc., to interact with the community members.”
Finally, Daniela wrote, “I would (establish) a student recognition dinner/fundraiser for those individuals who excel in school and give Richmond a good name.”
Second-place winner Sarah said, “One way the mayor of Richmond can change the community is by making rehabilitation centers for people who get out of jail and are looking for help.”
Sarah also urged counseling for kids from broken homes and job opportunities.
There was a tie between Karina and Edger for third place.
Karina wrote, “The first thing I would do is decrease the violence in Richmond. Additionally I would help raise money for all schools here in Richmond. Lastly, I would help make Richmond a better and nicer place to live so all people could have a voice and not be discriminated against (because of) the color of their skin, eyes, or anything else.”
Edger wrote, “I would establish a curfew for adolescents, encourage more entrepreneurs to open more businesses in Richmond, and hire qualified teachers for our public schools.”
The essays were read by a panel of Richmond citizens, including someone from the mayor’s office, a clergy person and a teacher.
Checks were awarded to the students with the highest number of points. Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, teacher Kelli Rice, Kathleen Jackson (Chief Sponsor of T.R.U.S.T), and neighborhood house of North Richmond, who all helped orchestrate the contest on the outside, presented the awards at the Leadership’s Awards Assembly, June 10, 2011.
The Richmond Project is sponsored by the San Quentin T.R.U.S.T. For more information about the Richmond Project and/or, to read the contestants complete essays, visit sanquentintrust.org.