Intergenerational Storytelling with LA’s Koreatown Youth and Community Center

Koreatown Youth and Community Center cohort
Koreatown Youth and Community Center cohort

Voice of Witness recently provided consulting support to the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC) in Los Angeles. KYCC works to serve the evolving needs of the Korean American population of the greater Los Angeles area, as well as the multiethnic Koreatown community.

KYCC had two main goals for the consultancy with Voice of Witness. The first was to enhance and formalize the oral history curriculum they had drafted for their Koreatown Storytelling Project, which focused on intergenerational story sharing between Koreatown elders and local high school students. KYCC Communications Director Katherine Kim reflected on the curriculum development process:

When we consulted with VOW, we started with a bare bones curriculum, with some loose thematic ideas and a few scattered exercises. Through their expertise, we learned to accordion our lessons to a more fully formed classroom plan, adhere to educational standards, and teach important and relevant techniques to ensure a more successful program.

KYCC’s second goal was to participate in oral history training that focused on ethical storytelling, interview, and editing skills. These skills would be utilized for a storytelling project through their Prevention Education Program (PEP). The PEP program was working to create an intergenerational collection of oral histories centering on the recent community history of LA’s MacArthur Park.

The training and project culminated in the creation of the oral history booklet OURstory (Nueva Historia in the Spanish version). The booklet features eight narratives from women ages 15-51 and details their experiences of being part of a community with MacArthur Park at its center. The narratives discuss the importance of the park as a much-needed multiethnic gathering place, the challenges of maintaining it as a vital green space in the heart of the neighborhood, and the ongoing community-driven efforts to keep the park safe and clean for local families.

Reflecting on the oral history training, KYCC’s Katherine Kim said:

I was impressed by how streamlined and relatable the training was for our audience. We had parents with no high school education and some with graduate-level experience, but the VOW workshop was eye-opening and meaningful to all.

The two KYCC programs are going strong and continuing to attract new collaborative partners and grant support.

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