Community service

CNC, APYL express the ABCs of community service

VSALEXIQUE — Political activism is still among the core values ​​of Calexico Needs Change, but so is beautification through collective action, and last weekend they brought some high school kids along for the ride.

During Calexico Needs Change’s weekly cleanup of John F. Kennedy Park as part of the city’s adopt-a-park program, paint was added to the mix, with the start of a mural at the park and the painting of the third CNC community library on Saturday Jan 29.

The Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Club at Calexico High threw paint alongside members of Calexico Needs Change.

“Everyone should do this. Everyone should feel that; like, ‘Hey, we should do something, we should clean, we should paint, we should. …’ It’s art. Art revolves around everything. I’m an artist myself, a lot of us are artists, and it’s like, how do you express your frustration other than helping the community, you know? Ismael Arvizu, co-founder of Calexico Needs Change, said Saturday.

A member of the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Club of Calexico High started a mural at John F. Kennedy Park in Calexico on Saturday, January 29. This was a joint project between high school students and Calexico Needs Change, which adopted the park as part of a municipal program. | PHOTO BY MEGAN JONES

Club APYL members turned out in droves ready to paint, after issuing an invitation on social media to the community to join. The club president and vice president were enthusiastic about the “sesh” paint, as presented by Calexico Needs Change.

“We are going to spruce up this park and just bring a positive vibe to Calexico,” said APYL Vice President Angel De Dios. “It’s usually nice to be able to do something, especially when you’re young and in high school. … There’s not a lot we can do. You can’t really vote. … All we can really do is do our best to do little little things like this where we get great people together to paint something beautiful.

President Kelly Li agreed, also drawing inspiration from her club’s counselor, who is very committed to community service.

“We thought it would be fun because there will be a painting activity,” Kelly said. “Mr. Wong, he encouraged all of us to get involved in the community…he thinks it’s really important that we maintain our grades and think about our community as well.

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For Calexico Needs Change co-founder Joey Espinoza, the beautification is just part of the ongoing effort to keep John F. Kennedy Park clean and tidy.

Above all, “we’re here to help our community make this, you know, a place where young people can come and feel safe and be able to express themselves through art as well as heal through art, because it’s one of the most important things our movement (is about to) use art to heal.

Calexico Needs Change will be back on Saturday, February 5, inviting the community to help finish the mural, clean up, and make a little basketball.