Journalistic Walkabout

Story Idea 1: Provo is known as a Mormon town because of Brigham Young University. Despite the high population of Mormons in the area, the Provo mission is one of the highest baptizing missions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Where do these converts come from? In the small South Franklin community there are many individuals who are in need of help. The flower beds were covered in cigarette butts. The entire neighborhood reeks of smoke. Quite the opposite of the Brigham Young University campus. Such wide diversity in a community that preaches and teaches about love and sharing of your abundance is astounding. While many college students live meagerly, there are people right around the corner and down the street who are worse off than many students would imagine.

Story Idea 2: Doors slammed in my face. Most doors stayed closed. The few doors that opened only opened six inches. For the open and friendly community that Provo is known as, there are some neighborhoods that remain closed off to visitors. The South Franklin community has experienced many acts of violence that have prevented many in the community from opening up and talking to anyone. In the past week there has been a stabbing and a shooting. Most acts of violence are targeted to those within the community, making it a dangerous place to live. The difference comes from the differing backgrounds. The neighborhood consists of mainly those of an older age and many come from a different ethnic background. One man expressed that he was having a bad day and that he was in a rough patch in his life. His brother had committed suicide eight weeks before and his case worker wasn’t answering his calls. The man anxiously danced around the sidewalk fiddling a cigarette and lighter, clearly anxious for the volunteers to leave so he could light up. There seems to be a lack of hope and light in the buildings and the people themselves.

Story Idea 3: The South Franklin Community Center is newly renovated and offers free classes to those in the community. Many of whom live meager lives. The buildings are shabby and dull. Despite the help available, few take advantage of the center. On Martin Luther King Jr. day the South Franklin Community Center sent out volunteers to help them figure out why the center is being under utilized. Volunteers offered to give service to the community members, while also informing the citizens about the community center. Several did not know about the center or had never been. Using a conversational style, rather than interrogative, volunteers gathered information and data for the center. One elderly woman was just heading out to work as some volunteers stopped by. The woman was trying to maintain a sense of independence, instead of relying upon her children for everything. She voiced interest in the center offering a computer skills class. Though she showed interest in the community center and gave the volunteers valuable information, the probability of her attending the center is low. The woman needed to work long hours at a low level job just to keep herself alive.

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