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November 19, 2019 @ 5:25 pm

Changing the Narrative - Pacoima episode 4: Pacoima Perspectives

What do you know about Pacoima? What makes a place, a community? During the first half of our Changing the Narrative program at Vaughn Next Century Learning Institute, our eighth grade podcasters explored the deep roots of art with muralist Levi Ponce, the power of advocacy with Pacoima Beautiful, and the rewards of leadership with Assembly Member Luz Rivas. Together we looked deeper into the narrative of Pacoima told in movies and media and found what was missing. We celebrated adversity grown into Hip Hop healing with the Gr818ers and their new Unite Cultural Center.

 Ready and armed with microphones and curiosity, Team JALV- Leilah Ortega (producer), Valeri Garcia, Jolene Caballero, and Aidyn Robles went in search of Pacoima beyond the stereotypes.  Asking local residents, as well as outsiders, "What do you know of Pacoima? What have you heard?" they've created a complex picture of the place they call home. Pacoima is for sure a place of challenges, but also friendship, family, love, and unexpected beauty. It's all in your perspective!


Shout out to guest artist musician and producer Joe Foldes who edited and engineered this piece with the team. 

Changing the Narrative is made possible by a generous grant from The California Arts Council, a state agency. To learn more go to Thank you!

Changing the Narrative- Pacoima is produced by Betsy Foldes Meiman

Changing the Narrative curriculum created by Andrea Lopez, BFM, with guest artists Daniel P. Castillo, and Joe Foldes.

And thanks to Mr. Harmon, for sharing his class with us! 






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October 4, 2019 @ 10:55 am

Changing the Narrative Pacoima Ep.3 Advocate! An Interview with Yesenia Cruz of Pacoima Beautiful

Our research into Pacoima life continues with a visit from Yesenia Cruz from Pacoima Beautiful. What is Environmental Social Justice? What is a frontline community? How can Yesenia speak so fast? First-time Podcasters Ashley Lozano and Anthony Hernandez lead the class Q&A after Yesenia's presentation, featuring the very astute questions of Adrian Lomeli, Cesar Rosales, Sergio Gonzales, Analiss Fernandez , Leilah Ortega, Ashley Gonzales, Jenry Gonzales, and Angel Ponce. 



Changing the Narrative Pacoima is supported in part by a generous grant from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at 

Thank you! 

  Changing the Narrative is Produced by Betsy Foldes Meiman

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September 25, 2019 @ 1:01 pm

Changing the Narrative Pacoima ep. 2: Create! with Muralist Levi Ponce

Research for Changing the Narrative Pacoima continues! International muralist and Pacoima homey Levi Ponce dropped by to visit our podcasters at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center to share his artistic journey to fame, fortune, and happiness (hint- it has to do with doing what you love and sharing the joy of your talents to uplift your community). After Levi's presentation of past, present and future murals, first-time podcasters Agueda de Santiago and Aiden Robles Mares lead the group Q & A. Turns out Levi is quite comfortable in the "hot seat" and even turned the tables by grabbing the mic and interviewing Agueda about her art! Always lighthearted and fun, he manages to dive deep. Levi is a dynamic artist in every medium, including this one! 

Changing the Narrative Pacoima is supported in part by a generous grant from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at 

Thank you! 






  Changing the Narrative is Produced by Betsy Foldes Meiman

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September 18, 2019 @ 4:56 pm

Changing the Narrative-Pacoima episode 1: Lead!

TaDa! And just like that, the very first episode of Changing the Narrative Pacoima happened! Assembly Member, 39th district, Luz Rivas came to visit us at Vaughn Next Century Learning Institute. The podcasters were prepared with new tech and interview skills, preliminary research, and most importantly-QUESTIONS!

Assembly Member Rivas shared her Pacoima upbringing with a Single Mom (yes caps it's a career), her education journey from Pacoima public schools to MIT and Harvard, her advocacy as a non-profit founder of DIY Girls, and her rise to elected official of her hometown district. (Sheesh-Inspiration much?!)

After an informative introduction by Cesar Rosales and Angel Ponce, she answered a  barrage of questions prepared by the class and hosted here by first-time podcasters Ralphie Miranda, Jessica Esparza, with help from Jenry Gonzalez-Vargas, Leilah Ortega, Valerie Garcia. 

Changing the Narrative is supported in part by a generous grant from the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at 

Thank you! 

 Changing the Narrative is Produced by Betsy Foldes Meiman




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August 30, 2019 @ 6:55 pm

LAPL What’s Cookin’? Series episode 4: Healthy Recipes

Canoga Park Library's nutrition series continues...

In this episode first time podcasters Itzel Huerta and Ever Blanco-Cruz interview each other about recipes grounded in their family's cultures. Turns out healthy is delicious too!

LAPL_Canoga_Park_what_s_cookin.pngEver is standing in the back, and Itzy is the floating head in the corner because she was out that day!


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August 30, 2019 @ 5:52 pm

LAPL What’s Cookin’? Series episode 3: An Organic Debate

The Canoga Park Library's nutrition series continues...

First-time podcasters Safwan Muntasir and Ehram Subhan debate the pros and cons of organic vs GMO. Are we destroying natural resources or increasing our ability to feed a hungry world? 


LAPL_Canoga_Park_what_s_cookin.pngSafwan on the far left and Ehram next to him. 

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August 30, 2019 @ 5:29 pm

LAPL What’s Cookin’? Series episode 2: It’s all Rice

Canoga Park Library's series on nutrition continues with first-time podcasters Fariha Karim, Joie Solano, and Samantha Peruch, who connect cultures and cuisines with humble grains of rice.

How did rice travel the globe and why do people of such diverse cultures claim it as a staple?



That's Fariha third from the left, Samantha at the head of the table, and Joi sitting next to her on her left.

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August 30, 2019 @ 2:30 pm

LAPL What’s Cookin’? Series episode 1: Comfort Food

The Canoga Park Branch Library talking about nutrition. 1st time podcasters Alexandra Espinoza and Mitzy Rodriguez get out of their comfort zone! Using the 'roving reporter mics' they ask complete strangers (as well as a few strange acquaintances) about their comfort foods. 

LAPL_Canoga_Park_what_s_cookin.pngMitzy and Alex on the far right

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August 13, 2019 @ 5:16 pm

#TMH Series- An interview with Andre Devancans on his LGBTQ episode

Andre Davancans is a talented guy. He creates music, is taking 3 APs at Van Nuys High School, and does well on the swim team and wrestling team. Like many kids who seem to have it all, he struggles to feel good mentally, about himself and the world around him. You'd never know it to be with him. He is quick with a laugh and is usually the first to step up to help others. It is no surprise then that in defining himself as part of the LGBTQ community, he is emerging as a leader to help others find their way. This is a short interview with him about his episode for #TMH series.

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July 16, 2019 @ 6:01 pm

LAPL- Palms- Rancho Park Teens are Leading Change

Librarian Emily Meehan is calling all teens this summer for Los Angeles Public Library's initiative "Teens Leading Change." Palms Rancho Park is teaming up with the Mar Vista and Robertson branches to to create their program "Support and Advocate for Youth in Need." Emily asks "What does homelessnes look like?" Did you think of families and fellow students? After a short interview workshop, first time reporters Rana Almahdi, Rasha Almahdi, and Ben Santos, interviewed Emily to find out what the project entails, its goals, and how to get involved. Great job team!

If you are a teen who wants to advocate for a stronger community, contact (Librarians Rule!!!)

If you are experiencing homelessness, Emily gave us some resources to pass on. 

Midnight Mission 

Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority

Safe Space for Youth (especially if you are a teen alone)

LAUSD Homeles Education Program

Homelight Family Living


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