Boyle Heights Writes History: Ramona and Pico Gardens Youth Become First Published Resident Student Authors

Eight youth from Ramona Gardens and Pico Gardens public housing sites write history by becoming first published resident student authors in Boyle Heights.

Resident authors Jeffery Carrasco, Emely Toscano, Joshua Toscano, Abe Blancas, Michael Blancas, Janette Lopez, Adriana Romero and Kevin Moreno were celebrated during the book signing and fundraising event hosted by Casa Fina Restaurant in East Los Angeles. Councilmember Jose Huizar, Founder and Director of Homeboy Industries Father Greg Boyle and Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Officer Eugene Olea spoke at the book signing celebration. Family, friends, guests, community leaders, and HACLA staff were also in attendance to show support for the resident authors.  

The book titled “All The Way Up: It Begins Now”, was published by Rhea Leto Media Group (RLMG), in collaboration with the Publishing Hope & Branding A+ Behavior (PHABB5) Program, HACLA, and CSP. The book includes eight short stories written by the young authors, who had to participate in a rigorous 12-week curriculum-based creative writing book publishing program. The resident student author program was designed to assist the youth in improving literacy and writing skills, increase their confidence levels, teach them about book publishing, and the branding process.

“I wrote my story so that everyone can know that even though you are small and people put you down, you can accomplish anything you want and the only thing you need is to believe in yourself,” said 11-year-old Joshua Toscano, the youngest member of resident student authors. Joshua loves to write and hopes one day to become a successful author. Joshua decided to join the student author program because he felt that the program will give him a huge advantage in becoming a good author.

“You have made the voices sing in the projects of Pico and Ramona and because you have done that, you have been the voice of a lot of folks who do not have a voice and that’s more than just this book. It is really about the dignity and worth and a lot of souls will feel their worth because of the work that you have done,” said Father Boyle when addressing the authors.

To learn more about Publishing Hope & Branding A+ Behavior (PHABB5) Program, visit: www.phabb5.org  


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