From the group’s inception, the YAC went straight to work focusing on walkability, a Photovoice project. Photovoice is a photojournalism method and engagement process that encourages community members to identify neighborhood-level problems and collectively work on solutions. The project was completed in collaboration with a non-profit organization called Outside the Lens, which provided the youth members with training and tools on taking photos. Equipped with this knowledge and digital cameras, the YAC members walked the streets of City Heights to capture images that accurately represented their surroundings — including both positive aspects of the city as well as those which could be changed to better promote nutrition and physical activity.
The YAC used their Photovoice skills and their expertise, as members of the community, to document the advantages and limitations of walking around City Heights. Their combined use of photography and the walk score assessment, provided through the non-profit organization Circulate San Diego web site, helped inform the UC San Diego – Retail Program’s Healthy from Here to There Initiative– a program emphasizing physical activity through safe and active transit to the City Heights Farmers’ Market. The initiative is working to support the implementation of permanent way-finding signs in the City Heights neighborhood that identify safe routes to the farmers’ market. The YAC’s involvement further leverages efforts to implement way-finding signs throughout City Heights and provides relevant information for the signs on safe routes to healthy places around town.