play / 2014

Reimagined Resources

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by

@T4T wants to create 10 interactive art/science instillations using up-cycled materials in under-served communities.

Please describe yourself.

Solo actor (just us on this project!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

To have public interactive art/science instillations with our up-cycled materials in title one schools and parks in those communities.

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay

What is your idea/project in more detail?

We would establish mini Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) Ateliers in 15 locations in LA County. Our goal is to partner with local community centers and public schools in the county to establish these centers and encourage families in LA County to come and take part in the creations that are inspired by what manufacturers would be sending to landfill in the absence of this option. We currently collect the material and make it available in our warehouse. This would allow us to take the material to the public in areas where there are few family centered opportunities to explore the magic of STEAM!

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

We will work with School districts and public parks to establish the first sites. We have already begun the process by engaging Kevin James in the Sanitation Department of LA City to explore locations in that region. We are reaching out to each school district, we currently work in many Title one schools to offer recycling education to students and faculty as well as offer professional development to a variety of regions for Common Core, project based learning and Next Generation Science Standards. We have built three STEAM Labs to date, one in an expensive private school and two in public schools with room and very little budget. We engage the students in the design of the labs, labeling, shelving decisions and overall management of the lab is developed with the input of the students and teaching staff. Doing this in public areas would offer a broader reach to build community partners and engage the manufacturers and educators in a joint project to offer cost effective options to the creative and scientific minds in under-served populations.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to PLAY today? In 2050?

We already offer this experience to those we are able to find or who find us. We don’t advertise. We are busy with events and educating teachers through word of mouth. Our programs work for the students, the teachers and they have a lasting impact according to the research collected over the last year with participants. We have an open house on Sunday afternoons from Sept. to June where we invite the local community in Gardena to come to the warehouse and create what they are inspired to create and then take it home. There is a donation box out but there is no pressure to put anything in that box. Those who can do and those who can’t take home their creation with our blessings. We would like to offer that experience to more communities.

Whom will your project benefit?

We currently benefit the students who are on the free or reduced lunch program in schools all over this county and others. We travel to school we are invited to. Our demographic research from last year tells us: African-American 10% American Indian/Alaskan Native 1% Asian/Pacific Islander 6% Caucasian 9% Latino/Hispanic 74% One of our goals is the inspire more young girls to study science and engineering. The effect to date has been impressive and inspires us to continue to look for more schools to work with in more communities. We encourage family time in the warehouse. This isn’t a drop off facility. Parents work with their children and families begin to work cooperatively. Friendships form around discovery and accomplishment. Failure is welcome and everyone is encouraged to fail and fail and learn from each failure the way scientists and researchers learn from their failures to inform their success. We encourage second chances for material and for people.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

The three factors that are key to our success are information, letting the public know it is there for them, access, having facilities and partners who can help fill them and volunteers who will help guide the explorations without directing them. We currently work with Republic Services in the LAUSD Schools to offer recycling training in a fun relay program for students. We are planning to engage them further in this project to support the facilities and to advertise the program on their trucks driving all over LA County. We are in talks with Kevin James at the LA Sanitation office to find locations and support in the effort to let manufacturers know about option for their waste materials and to inform the public of the opportunities. We will invite LAUSD to be part of the program also to inform the students of the opportunity to explore in the space and to volunteer in the space. The only group we have not yet worked with is the Sanitation Dept. and our first meeting was scheduled for the day the water pipe broke in west LA. We are rescheduled for Aug. 6th in Kevin James office.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Play” metrics?

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

We will be a free, clean and imaginative space in open areas where there are not a lot of options for STEAM projects.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

We will have surveys as the cost of entry. No fee just fill out three questions when you arrive and another three when you leave. We will work with the manufacturer to help them see the educational value of their waste in communities where the Reimagined Resources facilities are serving families. We would be looking for information from children about what they think of science and engineering before they work with us at Reimagined Resources and then asking how they feel after working with us in the space. We will be measuring the level of awareness of the students regarding recycling and composting. We will invite the students to submit their plans for yearly creation festivals at the sites.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

We have been offering this opportunity to local schools for ten years with such great success that we have worked out the management issues around the material and have tested the project in more than 500 schools in that time. We have touched tens of thousands of students and have developed this program out of that success. We have done all this with word of mouth and feedback from those who have worked as facilitators, educators, students and parents.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

We have the infrastructure to implement this project with the staff and volunteers in our sphere currently. We have the interest of the Sanitation Dept and Republic Services. We have the encouragement and support of over 600 members of Trash for Teaching who beg us to be in more locations for easier access for their families and students. We are ready to implement. The only thing missing has been budget.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

Securing the locations and adding to our manufacturer base to insure the ability to keep up with the supplies would be our greatest challenges. Having said that, we are already working on the solution to this by meeting with Kevin James and Republic Services to see where we could be located and what support would be possible from both groups. I have been working with the LA Chamber of Commerce to arrange an opportunity to present to a group of manufacturers in the LA area and I have traveled to Sacramento twice in the last two months to work with the California Manufacturers and Technology Association toward the same goal of gathering more and more interesting materials from around the region.

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Community outreach