Author: Connie Cann, Director of Marketing
The first of every month, the Cambridge Community Center brings you a new story from our Cambridge community. This month, we discuss the program Our Riverside, a project by and for Cambridge teens.
Meet Lila, Ryan, Roodaline, Smarika, Janijah, and Sabrina, the 2015 cohort of Young Researchers.
The Riverside neighborhood of Cambridge, or Area 7, is one of the oldest settled neighborhoods in Cambridge. Located between Central Square and Harvard Square and surrounded by tech giants, Riverside has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Last summer, six Cambridge teens sought to investigate questions about their neighborhood, including topics like public space, gentrification, and environmental change.
“I learned many things about community members and their memories which also brought me closer to them…”
- Roodeline Guichette
Roodeline Guichette’s project included the following materials: Jump ropes, hula hoops, photos, and documented memories from neighborhood kids.
Their summer of research, which involved interviewing community members, sifting through the Cambridge Community Center’s archive of historical materials, and thinking about ways to share findings with the neighborhood, culminated in the exhibition, “Between the Boundaries.”
Janijah Allen was one of the 2015 participants. “My project was about the flowers of Riverside. I wanted to document and draw attention to the beauty of Riverside because most people don’t think of this area as having natural beauty. I explored the neighborhood and picked flowers from abandoned houses, by the river, and other public spaces like sidewalks.”
Pressed Cambridge flowers by Janijah Allen.
One of the Project Directors, Diana Limbach Lempel, described Our Riverside as “Imagined as a way to create meaningful intergenerational knowledge about the neighborhood of Riverside.”
At the end of last summer, Lempel invited children and Center alumni to write postcards to the Center kids of 2030.
“I hope your time at the Center is as great as mine. I went here in 1971 and still make time to come back. I hope I meet you in 2030.”
- Bonnie Fitchett
This summer, Our Riverside will be asking the question, “What does home mean to you?” Young researchers will work together and individually to investigate this question. Their exhibit will be shown during the month of August in the Riverside Gallery. Teens who want to get involved in Summer 2016 can sign up through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Adults who are interested in supporting Our Riverside can help by sharing their knowledge of the neighborhood, giving tours of their homes to teens, or sharing family photographs.
What does home mean to you?
Our Riverside's Project Directors are Diana Limbach Lempel and Nicole Lattuca. The summer program is funded by the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program, and hosted at the Cambridge Community Center. For more information, visit their blog or email OurRiverside@cambridgecc.org.