April 5, 2019

I Love YPAR, by Lota Gaetos

I remember growing up having to complete research projects and absolutely hating them. Why? Research projects were so boring, restricting, and I just never got the information correct, which was completely discouraging. Having to repeat the process over and over about a topic I did not really care was not fun. That is just my opinion though. I know plenty of people who enjoy doing research and I always wonder what makes it so interesting for them. I realized that the research they perform is something they are in control of, which they can manage in any way they want to that is fun for them.

Not anymore! I no longer scoff at the topic of research since the Beacon Leadership Team started participating in Youth Participatory Action Research. I help guide this group into conversations about what they are passionate about. This is very fulfilling and makes me wish I had this process when I was younger. This ongoing process of youth learning to take on a researcher role has been an eyeopening opportunity for the youth and adults who are participate. As the youth control the process gathering information and data on a passionate topic, they also have thoughtful and courageous conversations with each other. They build community with each other and have fun. No one corrects their process or tells them what to do, which gives them so much empowerment, freedom, and leadership opportunities. This is what research is all about and should be about, especially for San Francisco’s young individuals.