KIPP Summer Intern Program

The Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) program is an 8-week summer program with 6 to 8 high school students (ages 13-17) in the Richmond area. Students join class sessions 5 days a week and conceptualize, design, carry out, and analyze a research question that are important to them as youth in the community and to their community. Summary of their summer work is presented to their family members, Lifelong Medical team, public officials of Richmond and Contra Costa County, key community stakeholders, and UCSF and UCB faculty.

The 2019 cohort, focused on collecting information on the neighborhood. The students used a neighborhood audit tool to systematically collect information on order and disorder in the neighborhood (e.g., trash, broken windows, schools, parks, etc). Informed by their own experiences, coupled with introductory lectures of stress and the environment, the students came up with their own research questions: Is neighborhood order/disorder associated with lower household income, more home vacancy, and more asthma-related ED visits? From their findings, the students felt motivated to apply for a grant with the city of Richmond to share their research findings with the public. In 2019, the students were awarded an art grant to paint their research findings in as public art in the city of Richmond. Due to the 2020 COVID19 Pandemic, this community art project is on hold and anticipated to re-launch in a socially-distanced manner in the Fall 2020.

For 2020, the CLEAR Lab launched the summer program virtually (via Zoom) due to social distancing orders. We engaged with four high-school students who were interested in the intersection of neighborhood quality, food security and access, and health. They used Google Street View to complete the Systematic Social Observation (SSO) assessment and connected findings to publicly available data from healthatlas.ucsf.edu and other sources for their research. The students wanted to know about the lack of healthy foods in low-income areas in the Richmond area and wanted to explore possible solutions for local community members. The students' research question was: How does not having access to healthy foods affect the health risks associated with chronic diseases of low-income people in North Richmond? From their findings, the students felt inspired and their main goal is to work with nearby organizations and build a community garden to improve neighbohood cohesion and food access. They are working with community stakeholders to identify the right placement and the types of other resources that should co-locate with the garden.