Sunday, April 29, 2012

Essay #2.

Juan Martinez
English 144B
April 30, 2012
Community Makes Individuales
What shapes a person's identity? The truth, I really don't know. But my experiences can lead me to the answer. Seeing and learning shapes you to the person who you are or going to be, and this all starts as a child. Growing up in your own community gives you those situations you can learn from and people that can aspire you to be or aspire to be completely opposite like. A community can help a child become a strong and successful adult, but can also do the complete opposite. A community helps construct a person and shape identity by offering many things: different levels of schools and education, neighbors and friends, culture, and resources.
The San Fernando valley, where you can start from the west side of the valley to the east, and see two completely different communities, but even smaller Pacoima and San Fernando are my community.
According to the Los Angeles Times, San Fernando is the neighborhood with the least diverse ethnicity. On a daily basis, Spanish is my main language, “Banda” is my music, and Latinos are my people. This is what I have grown up with and what I have come to learn and follow. Here, being Latino isn't an ethnicity, it's a way of living and a way of thinking. Community helps build your identity because it can introduce and teach you about your own culture, and even if your own community is more diverse than mine it can teach you about other people. In my culture I learned the importance of family, friendships, and religion and I have I continued to learn bout it and implied it through the people of my community.
Community affects identity by learning through other people, and can use help, like religion for example.
Growing up in a community you'll spend plenty of time with friends, and neighbors. In my example I made my neighbors my closes friends. I spend mostly all my time with them, so I encountered many situations with them and I learned plenty from them. Everyone's community will have all kinds of different people in them. So depends which people you meet and make friends with, that will depend on how useful the information they teach you will be. For example if a child is surrounded by highly polite and respectful neighbors and friends, there is a huge chance that they'll learn how to be polite and respectful too. The opposite too, if they are surrounded by criminals and disrespectful people, they can get influenced to act in the same way. The community will give you many people to encounter and you can learn and take something from everyone. Whether good or bad, can affect your identity and future decisions.
The San Fernando valley has a vast variety of incomes. According to the Los Angeles Times Porter Ranch has the highest median of income and Van Nuys with the lowest median of $41,000 and Pacoima a close second with a median of $49,000. The amount of money a community receives and the median incomes can have a huge impact on the community. This can affect many resources the community can offer, or may not offer. This can have an impact on a person identity because if someone is trying to do something bigger and better for themselves or trying to get some help in something, it may not be possible because the poor community can not afford it. For example many communities can have a large amount of drug and alcohol abusers, and that may be seeking help. This help can influence a person's identity and overall change a person.
Also median incomes and the wealth of the community can have an affect on the educational systems of a community. Many programs may have to be shut down or not even offered because of not enough funds for the community. For example, some schools can offer services of a psychologist for children in need. Many children may be seeking for this help and can not find it nor afford it. This service can deeply help a a child's personality. And if not received if necessary, can affects a child's identity all the way into adult school.
In the city of Pacoima services like Pacoima Beautiful and Project Grad, offer community involvement. Pacoima Beautiful helps clean up parks, plant trees and flowers, and helping the needy.
This can help a person find the love to look out for people, the community and themselves. Some communities may not have the funds to have programs like these, not even giving people the chance for community involvement. Community involvement can have a huge impact on a person, it can make some more kind heart and giving them the feeling of looking out for someone rather then themselves. This can teach people discipline, affecting a person's identity greatly. It's going back to the elementary idea of sharing, and caring for someone. Never to late to change a person or influence someone, and through community involvement being kind and having respect for others can be learned.
In the San Fernando valley, Pacoima is the neighborhood with the lowest rate of residents having a four year degree. Education and being surrounded by educated people can have an affect on a person's identity. It can affect a person’s plans for the future, and influence a person to think about everything a little more closely, which can greatly influence a person's identity. Some communities may have better schools, or more resources to offer students like computer labs and libraries. Knowledge is power, a can have one of the greatest affects the construction of a person's identity.
Also in many communities, resident's outlook on life can be different. In low educated communities, the outlook of life can be vastly different from a highly educated community. A low educated community may not have much hope for more education such as college or actually doing anything big or important in life. This can instil in a person's mind. One, I can do anything, because others around me have. Or two, I can't do much cause mostly everyone I know doesn't go to school. A communities outlook on life can affect a person identity to be a hard worker, or completely lose outlook on life.
The community has people to observe, plenty to offer and much to teach. Identity has to be constructed by what you learn and who you follow. The community you grow up mostly can offer those things. Whatever a community has to offer it's up to the individual to decide what they make of it, and how you let it influence you.

Work cited
"The San Fernando Valley." Mapping L.A. Web. 29 Apr. 2012. <>.

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