Sol on the Street: What is one of the most pressing issues impacting the youth in Delano?

September 19, 2018 /

By Aubrey Jasso

Youth from Delano spoke up about what they believe are the most pressing issues impacting them.  Here’s what they had to say:

“The most important issue affecting the youth in our town is growing up too fast. Teenagers today are trying to be adults too quickly. Back then, teenagers would enjoy their youth by participating in normal school activities, such as volunteering or working in their spare time. There’s increased crime rates and too many young teens becoming parents while they themselves are still children.” — Karina Rivera, 22, of Bakersfield College

“I believe gang violence is the most important issue affecting youth in Delano. As the years have passed, you have heard more and more about all of these different shootings happening, and a lot of the time, teenagers are involved. Our youth should be more involved in schools, sports and other extracurricular activities, rather than in gangs.” —Jerry Para, 18, of Cal Poly SLO

“The lack of resources that reach our county/city is something that really impacts youth. If given the correct resources for college, sports teams, debate teams or whatever it may be, I think it definitely could set up the youth for aspiring to further their education.” — Melissa Sanchez, 21, of US Davis

“There’s no job opportunity in Delano, which is why every year we’re below the poverty line. We’re surrounded by agricultural companies that pay nothing more than minimum wage to people for pretty much feeding the world with our food we pick. To add on top of that, the people that are considered wealthy in this town still break their backs in the oilfields or at the prison.” — Eric Barraza, 18, of Bakersfield College

“One thing I would change about Delano is gang activity and drug abuse. Everyday there’s a kid who is getting introduced to both of these. How do I know? I’ve had my closest friends get involved with drugs, and now, it’s like they don’t care about education anymore. They feel like their voices aren’t being heard so they decide to go another way. It’s sad to see killings or bodies being found in the fields are not a surprise to the public anymore. It’s a long shot but we have to try.” — Diavany Menchaca, 16, of Cesar E. Chavez High School

“Poverty is a big issue youth face in Delano. Many youths are forced to grow up too fast because of it. It leads to many discrepancies that affect our families and neighbors. Many households are destroyed, at a young age they have to work mainly in the fields around the community to maintain food on their table. With poverty also comes drug/ alcohol abuse and educational disparity. I believe many youths in this area lack the desire to pursue higher level education because of their surrounding environment and circumstances  one main issue being poverty.”  — Jesus Andrade, 18

“Something I consider an issue in Delano is the lack of communication in regards to undocumented citizens in our community. As someone who has various family members that are undocumented, I recognize the need for Delano to become more vocal of their rights in a time like today. There are constant threats that they face in regards to deportation; however, there is also false information being circulated about what is happening. Delano should work hard to have informal meetings regarding their rights and how they are being affected, so that these individuals can gain a sense of security and support from their hometown.”  Darianna Lopez, 16, of Cesar E. Chavez High

“I feel that one of the most pressing issues really impacting the youth in Delano right now is the amount of uncertainty in how safe our community is. The youth can’t feel 100 percent safe in where they live, which is only leading them to worry about issues that are not allowing them to fully focus on their academics.” — JC Reyes, 18, of Bakersfield College

“Our environment is drug based. We live in a city where no matter where you are, whether it be school or the gym, you’re surrounded by drugs. It’s quite saddening because some of my peers eventually fall into the same path and start doing drugs as well.” — Gabriel Ulloa, 18, of Bakersfield College

“An issue that heavily puts a strain on the youth in Delano is the suppression of our voices. Often times, the youth is talked down upon by older members of the community because they believe that we are not wise enough with the experiences that they may already have. But they do not realize that the youth must take on civic engagements and empower decision making policies now in order for our community to thrive and improve for future generations. Administrators at school highly restrict clubs and group organizations to organize controversial discussions and events that need to be addressed within our youth. In our community, the youth is not supported and encouraged enough to project our opinions about civic issues and our desire for change. Our voices must be considered, for it is the foundation of Delano’s future.” — Zhakeilia Cabico, 17, of  Cesar E. Chavez High School

“One important issue that I’ve noticed in Delano is there are a lot of young people who are exposed to or are using drugs and alcohol. A lot of the time you’ll see on social media teenagers using drugs or getting intoxicated. The reason I think it’s happening is because of how social media commonly portrays drugs and alcohol to be cool and motivates teenagers here to use them. This distracts them from focusing on their education. This can greatly affect the future of Delano’s youth and lead us down a road of lost opportunity.” — Aliyah Ochoa, 15, of Robert F. Kennedy High School