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Problem to Purpose: Teens Create Deterioration Answers in Colorado Springs

March 3, 2020


A Camera and $500 Turn into a Deteriorated Property Solution

“Eventually the youth started asking, ‘Why can’t we just make the changes?’” explained Mia Ramirez of The Colorado Trust.

That one powerful question spurred a student group from the Leaders Engaged and Amazingly Determined (LEAD) in Colorado Springs, Colorado to improve a deteriorated property in their neighborhood through creative placemaking. LEAD’s Hillside neighborhood youth “photovoice” project the youth identified a few places they wanted to make better, including one basketball court renovation that was completed for just $500.

Additional “wins” that came from the photovoice project included advocating for both the rehabilitation of the formerly vacant, and community eyesore, Helen Hunt Elementary School – which now has reopened with a brand new playground and educational programs such as Head Start and English as a Second Language – and the Leon Young Pavilion space, a pavilion built in memory of Colorado Springs’ first and only Black mayor.

Photo Credit: Joe Mahoney


Need Ideas for a Community Creative Placemaking Project?

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