Turning your opinions into opinion articles

(Design by Kim Holdredge)

After struggling for the last two months to get a large turnout to our Story Corner workshops, we decided to revamp the Story Corner as a program that provides journalism skills trainings.

We kicked off our new format with two opinion writing workshops and will hold a third opinion writing workshop on May 4. So far, participants have learned about the three different types of opinion articles (editorial, column, and op-ed) and elements of effective opinion articles. Some have written their own articles, and others have worked on group articles about combating homelessness.

In the future, we’d like to see this grow into a citizens’ journalism institute, with frequent visitors authoring stories for our site. For now, we are trying to expand the perspectives we showcase and teach participants how to amplify their opinions through the news media.

Below, we’ve included work created in the first two workshops. We’ll be posting the how-to sheet we’ve been using for our workups soon in case you’d like to write an opinion piece on your own. In the meantime, feel free to write on your own and send your opinions to us at editors@kensingtonvoice.com.

#45 shouldn’t be re-elected

by Bishop Holmes

The next election in November 2020 may seem far away, but it really isn’t.

The decisions that we make on one day at the polls will affect how the next four years go. With this in mind, we shouldn’t re-elect Donald Trump as president in 2020.

If he is re-elected, he will have more time to do the things he wants that our country opposes. Trump abuses his power, and it affects the people who are on the lower tiers of our country.

I personally have been affected by his abuse of power. My mother receives SNAP benefits, and this year’s unnecessary shut down threatened the stability of families, including mine.

People think he is protecting us from “horrible” or “threatening” outside forces; however, Trump convinces people of things without detailing the actual facts. This includes making immigrants all seem like criminals, although a large number of immigrants are actually refugees.

In conclusion, you should not vote for Trump in the next election.

Kensington students need phones in schools

By Kbreahn

Right now, Philadelphia students are banned from having phones in schools. Imagine if you were in school and needed to get in contact with your parents or the police. As a high school student in a Philadelphia public school, I’ve been in a situation like that. I was being followed and I couldn’t get in contact with anyone to help me because phones are banned in school and I didn’t have mine with me.

We should be able to have our phones with us in school. Some say we will not be productive with phones in school, but if we have our phones off and put away, they can’t distract us. Recently, my high school has changed its policy to allow us to do this, but I want all students in the district to be able to have their phones.

You should call the principal of your child’s school to ask if phones are banned, and request that they are allowed if they’re banned.

How to help people experiencing homelessness get off the street

By Elkin Liva, Evert Nuñez, Maver Funes, and Christian Gomez

Imagine being hungry and cold in a storm, without a home or shelter to go back to. This is the life of a person experiencing homelessness.

About every day, we see people homeless in Kensington. This makes us upset and uncomfortable because we don’t like to see people suffering. Sometimes, it makes us feel unsafe. My mom didn’t let me go to McPherson Square Library in Kensington for a few weeks because she thought it was a bad place due to the homeless population in the area.

But this problem doesn’t just affect people in Kensington; it affects everyone. People can experience homelessness in other neighborhoods, too.

To help end homelessness, we need to provide people homes and shelters. Houses give people a place to sleep, eat, and shower, and this could help you get a keep a job. If you have a house, you may be able to have a TV or phone to use to communicate with friends or the police.

But homes cost money. Who should pay for homes for people who need them? We can raise money by each donating $5 a week — a small amount to us that will really add up — and having garage sales, lemonade stands, or doing chores for money. We can also partner with a local restaurant to donate a portion of their proceeds on a certain day.

Some people might also say that we shouldn’t help them because they are bad people. But, they aren’t bad people. They could be in this situation due to family issues or uncontrollable situations. Maybe they had other stuff going on that made it hard for them to keep their jobs and then they couldn’t pay for their houses. Even if they make different choices than us, we don’t want to let them die in the elements.

This is a hard problem to solve, but if we all do our part in saving money, it can be easier. Together, we can help end homelessness.

We need a national sheltering system

by Dennis Payne

Homelessness and drugs are affecting the citizens of the United States. These topics are in our everyday headlines. Today, we need to change the rules and regulations on how we open up new shelters. We need to end this negative stigma of homelessness. We can do a lot to change our world.

Not everyone has people experiencing homelessness or addiction in their family, but the whole nation has to deal with these issues. People are dealing with this on their own front steps every day.

Even if you’re not directly affected, your tax dollars are still going towards prisons, mental hospitals, and recovery programs. These programs are all bandaids to the true issue: We need a sheltering system that handles all aspects of homelessness, not the fragmented way we deal with it now. This issue can be solved by a truly united nation.

As someone who was homeless by choice and who grew up with my family helping people experiencing homelessness by letting them stay in our house, I have lived with this issue most of my life. My experiences have brought me to my current view that we need a national sheltering system.

Think about how many people ask you for change when you walk down the street.

In 2017, there were more than  500,000 people experiencing homelessness on the night of the point-in-time homeless count. According to Project HOME, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that focuses on ending homelessness, there are 154,000 Philadelphians who make less than $38,253 annually. This low of an income puts a lot of people at risk of homelessness, and our tax dollars will be used towards them. As stated by Project HOME, 15,000 people used Philadelphia’s shelter services in the last year, and many were turned away because facilities were at capacity. We need to make it easier to open new shelters.

A lot of people don’t want a sheltering system because they don’t want to use their money or have it in their area. They believe it’s a waste of time and people will not really get back on their feet. Putting money towards a shelter will actually help you, too because it will improve the neighborhood by getting people off the streets and making the area quieter.

You should write to your councilpeople, senators, and congresspeople, and tell them it’s time for a national sheltering system.

Stephen Curry is the best basketball shooter

By Kevin

Stephen Curry’s most career points is 54. He is one of the greatest players and doesn’t get enough credit for it.

Stephen Curry passed Chris Mullin on the Warriors’ all-time list. He is an all-around player and made crazier shots more consistently than any other player.

Stephen Curry is the best shooter and deserves more credit.

Pepperoni pizza is the best kind of pizza

By Juan G.

Imagine this: it’s lunchtime and you need to eat. You should have pepperoni pizza. It will make you happy.

As someone who eats a lot of pizza, pepperoni is by far the best kind. It’s very delicious and salty and spicy. Others agree; The pizza shop by my house sells more pepperoni than plain.

Some say it’s too spicy, but it’s good and it’s a different type of spicy than hot sauce.

In conclusion, you should buy more pepperoni pizza!


What did you think about this story? Send a note to editors@kensingtonvoice.com, and we’ll consider publishing it in our Voices section. You can also tell us what you think in person at our neighborhood events.

Editor: Jillian Bauer-Reese / Story Designer: Jillian Bauer-Reese / Translator: Kristine Aponte

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