During the first week of the Discover SF! Youth Heritage Program, staff from the National Park Service, San Francisco Heritage, and the Galing Bata Filipino Education Center took a group of middle school students on a walking tour of the Central SOMA (South of Market) neighborhood. A couple of places we saw on our walk included the 7th Street Community Garden, which features a large Filipino-American mural, and Tutubi Park, which is a children’s playground that was carefully designed for the needs of the Filipino community that it serves.
The students learned that there are more layers to the urban landscape than they had expected and they were very impressed to learn about public art and spaces within their community.
Upon returning to the classroom, the students learned about San Francisco’s Japantown (nihonmachi) and the efforts currently underway to celebrate the cultural heritage of that neighborhood. They were ecstatic when they were asked to design a tile that will form part of the Japantown Mandala that will soon be installed for city-wide viewing.
Hearing the reflections of the young explorers in our group was rewarding. Through the course of Discover SF!, they will be getting better and better at experiencing and appreciating the layers of cultural history of their community, of their very own San Francisco.