A.C.T.I.O.N. introduction session

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The South Bronx is often referred to as the poorest congressional district in the United States. But it might be one of the riches in terms of the diversity of cultures, potential for environmental improvements, and smart young people. A.C.T.I.O.N. at The Point Community Development Corporation is one of several organizations that help these young people in the Bronx to learn about environmental and social justice, teaches them to think critically, and engages youth in various community service and environmental restoration projects.

Adam Liebowitz, the Director of Community Development at The Point CDC in Hunts Point has invited me today to come to A.C.T.I.O.N.’s introduction session. This year more than 20 youth take part in this program; seven of them are new and others are returning students. This and next week returning students will be introducing new students into several ongoing projects organized by this community action program such as restoration of habitats on North Brother Island in the East River, urban agriculture, brownfields, greenway, and anti-tobacco campaigns.

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On the photograph above, a returning student teaches a new student about several issues related to water quality in the Bronx River, invasive species removal activities, and stewardship in community gardens.

The diversity of backgrounds and experiences of youth in this program is tremendous and hard to control for in our research project if we use quantitative methods only. Adam has suggested that it would be hard or even not valid to use just surveys to explore the impact of this program on sense of place in youth and their social capital because the majority of students have already participated in environmental activities. Probably a combination of quantitative (such as surveys) and qualitative (e.g., semi-structured interviews) methods would be the best option to explore the impact of this and other similar programs on youth.

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