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During the summer of 2019 a group of community members and students from Santa Ana CA. came together with students and a faculty from Chapman University. The group came together motivated in building a collaborative project that would enhance and document youth narratives and perspectives within the larger Orange County community. Understanding that the current reality of youth within the larger Orange County context could be disperate, our group proposed for our first project to be centered upon the social and environmental realities of youth within the city of Santa Ana.

I’ve heard people say negative things about [Santa Ana], like it’s dirty, it’s trashy, it looks run-down...people who have connections [here] feel very passionately about it, and people who don’t have that don’t see the diamond in the rough that it is.


Santa Ana is classified as one of the youngest cities in the nation where over 30% of its residents are under the age of 18 (Santa Ana, California Population, 2018, June, 3). This narrative will further elaborate and demonstrate insight regarding the experiences and challenges youth face within the Santa Ana context. The lack of resources, and deficit-based approaches toward Latinx, and immigrant student youth have a lasting effect on the quality of education experienced by youth (Valenzuela, 1999).

This narrative, will explore the larger Orange County and Santa Ana racial and educational context as well as display first-hand narratives from the youth. This youth narrative will socially contextualize the larger social and economic dynamics that position the youth of Santa Ana within a deficit narrative. Given the perceived educational context of Santa Ana, it is significant to state the resiliency and determination these youth and educators demonstrate in their lives.

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