The Community’s Perspective: Conversations on Employability and Access to Opportunities

Recently, some of the young participants in the IDJ’s Advocacy and Community Mobilization Project at the Boys and Girls Clubs in the Luis Llorens Torres Public Housing Project came together to spark their creativity and discuss ways to solve the issues faced by their community. The subject was one that affects them directly: the problems faced by people living in the public housing project when they try to join and stay in the work force.

Through the Media Lab, these young participants learned techniques on how to use a video camera for interviews, and they were able to work on a storyline for a short film, as well as edit and produce it. During filming, they interviewed young people, entrepreneurs, employed adults and unemployed persons.

The interest in creating a documentary came from a reflection exercise where the participants raised the issue of generalized prejudices in the housing project that pose challenges when residents try to enter the work force. The participants’ concerns echo those of the latest KIDS COUNT® Data Book 2018 statistics. In them, Puerto Rico has once again the worst economic conditions for children in the United States, including the highest rates of children living under the poverty level (56%), children whose parents lack secure employment (53%) and young people who are not in school and do not work (13%).

The lack of access to opportunities for these children is concerning, as studies show that this leads to a greater likelihood of facing serious health issues, lower academic performance and potentially continuing the generational cycle of poverty, when compared to children living in homes with economic security.

We encourage you to follow us on social media, where we will soon share the documentary. For now, please click here HERE to see its trailer. It was created by our young participants, through much effort and sacrifice.