Featured Photojournalists:

Lilith Ferreira, 18
Yanessa Gamero, 15
Zharick Garcia, 15
Stephanie Gutierrez, 15
Rocío Hernández, 16
Eva Jimenez, 17
Nataly Mendoza, 15
Amada Morales, 17
Jasmyn Morales, 16
Celeste Umana, 13

Mentors:

Salina Canizales
Patricia Castaneda
Martina Ibanez-Baldor
Crystal Milner
Janet Rodriguez
Yesenia Varela

Teaching Artist:

Liz Martinez


“Be Well, Boyle Heights” is a collection of photo essays created by the Las Fotos Project teen photographers over the course of 12 weeks in the Spring of 2019. The Las Fotos Project Digital Promotoras program engages teenage girls in community advocacy through photography and storytelling and empowers them to use photojournalism as a tool for social change.

With Boyle Heights residents showing a disproportionately larger percentage of diabetes and obesity-related illnesses than the greater Los Angeles area, the Digital Promotoras chose to focus “Be Well, Boyle Heights” on highlighting the diverse ways residents are making positive changes in their lives and the lives of others.

To tell these stories, Digital Promotoras partnered with a range of organizations offering critical services to Boyle Heights residents, including Legacy LAPromesa Boyle HeightsClínica Msr. Oscar A. RomeroJovenes, Inc.Boyle Heights Bridge Runners, and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center

“Be Well Boyle Heights” follows a budding youth leader advocating for environmental justice, a runner creating a safe space for new mothers, a young man overcoming houselessness, a health promotora and Zumba instructor, a wellness educator leading workshops in high schools, and the many community members taking care of themselves and their families for a better quality of life.

The resulting narrative illustrates how diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases disproportionately affect communities of color and raise awareness about everyday health challenges faced by people in our communities.

Be Well, Boyle Heights was made possible thanks to the support of the USC Civic Engagement, USC Good Neighbors Campaign and The California Endowment.

Additional Support was provided by the Weingart Foundation, California Community Foundation, Ahmanson Foundation, The Annenberg FoundationHorace W. Goldsmith Foundation Garden, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Vernon CommUNITY Fund, Photographic Arts Council Los Angeles, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Edward A and Ai O Shay Family Foundation, United Latinx Fund, and the Yerba Buena Fund.


Ricardo Romero, Jovenes Inc. 

Students: Rocío Hernández and Stephanie Gutierrez 

Mentor: Martina Ibanez-Baldor

Jovenes INC, located in Boyle Heights helps youth, ages 18-25, end their cycle of homelessness by focusing on their needs for housing, healthcare, education, employment and trauma recovery.  “We empower those we serve because we believe that homelessness does not define our youth. Our mission is to help homeless youth become active and integrated members of our community.”

Ricardo Romero, 22, found Jovenes after being homeless for six months and the priest at his church recommended the program to him. “I really wanted to improve my health, being homeless, It required a healthy body, if you’re going to be out there that long,” he says. “It was tough but it wasn’t impossible, it was another part of life that I was trying to take care of.”


Jaquelyne Rodriguez, Legacy LA

Students: Zharick Garcia

Mentor: Patricia Castaneda

Founded in 2007, Legacy LA is a community-based non-profit organization focused on youth development.  Their mission is to make positive interventions in the lives of young people by offering alternatives to gangs and violence.  They work to build youth’s capacity to reach their full potential and equip them with the tools to transform their lives and their community.  Legacy LA is located in Boyle Heights and serves youth living in Ramona Gardens and surrounding neighborhoods.

Jaquelyne (Jacky) Rodriguez, is a Leadership Coordinator at Legacy LA.  In addition to producing events and fostering organization partnerships, Jacky teaches after-school classes at Legacy LA’s office where she gets to work directly with youth.  She teaches them everything from art to civic engagement to self-empowerment. Jacky, like many of her students, lives in Ramona Gardens with her parents. Her family and the community of Ramona Gardens are very important to her.  Jacky’s main focus is on environmental and social justice, and she encourages her students to come together to care and bring positive change for their community. Together they work to build a healthy world for all, so people can eat well and continue going to parks to play or exercise.  


Natalia Lozada, Clinica Romero

Students: Yanessa Gamero and Celeste Umaña

Mentor: Janet Rodriguez

Clinica Romero is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) that is dedicated to serving men, women, and children of the Greater Los Angeles area. Founded by Salvadoran civil war refugees, Clinica Romero has been serving their community for over 30 years. Their mission is to provide quality, affordable and culturally sensitive health care and other services to the uninsured, uninsured and underserved communities regardless of their ability to pay by upholding the legacy and tradition of Monseñor Oscar Romero. 

Natalia Lozada has been a Promotora de Salud for Clinica Romero for the last three years. In her role, she educates Boyle Heights community members on diabetes prevention and management. Aside from her responsibilities as a promotora, Natalia is also a Zumba instructor and teaches classes throughout her community. Motivated by her mother, Natalia first discovered her passion for health through attending the very diabetes classes that she now teaches. She and her family live in Boyle Heights. For fun Natalia enjoys exercising, reading, and being outside.