Aarika Rhodes, elementary school teacher, 32nd Congressional District, San Fernando Valley, Encino, Woodland Hills, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Youth Town Hall, Vanalden Park, Kids Have A Voice Too  (Courtesy of Aarika Rhodes) 

Aarika Rhodes is an elementary school teacher running for California’s 32nd Congressional District, which is comprised of numerous San Fernando Valley communities such as Encino and Woodland Hills as well as coastal communities such as Malibu and Pacific Palisades.  

On April 21, Rhodes hosted a Youth Town Hall in Vanalden Park as part of her Kids Have A Voice Too program.  Many young people and community members gathered to participate in the forum, which was organized and led by local youth.  

“Our campaign is committed to cultivating the next generation of leaders,” said Rhodes. “We are pleased to be able to help coordinate this event so that our young people are able to voice the issues that are important to them.” 

At the event, local youth discussed issues such as education reform, health care, and homelessness. Also, participants from the deaf community shared concerns about access. One issue mentioned was the fact that interpreters are typically not provided for critical communications such as presidential announcements.  

According to her campaign, Rhodes has devoted her life to youth and advancing equitable education. In 2013, she received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Clippers for her achievement in constructing an effective science curriculum.  

Rhodes has taught students from diverse backgrounds in both public and private schools, and said that she understands the importance of closing the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. She has also written about equitable STEM curriculum for the Journal for Multicultural Education.  

If elected, Rhodes promises to fight hard to solve the problems that matter most to the people who she represents.  She said that she will also support small businesses, work to close the income gap, and fight for every child’s right to quality education.   

More information about the candidate and the youth program can be found at AarikaforCongress.com.