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Mural Of Hope Goes Up At Libby Lake Park In Oceanside

A mural unveiled this week at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside. It depicts a girl who lives out her dream of graduating from college. July 2, 2015
Alison St John
A mural unveiled this week at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside. It depicts a girl who lives out her dream of graduating from college. July 2, 2015

Teens in the troubled Libby Lake neighborhood of Oceanside have painted a vivid new mural and dedicated it to the community.

The colors light up what was a drab concrete wall next to Libby Lake Park, and people out walking their dogs take a detour to check it out.

Called “Dreams Do Come True," the painting shows a girl graduating with tears in her eye, and then climbing a staircase of books to return to help her community.

Libby Lake Park has seen tragedy: two shootings there in the last four years left four young people dead.

Jimmy Figueroa, an outreach coordinator for Project REACH at Vista Community Clinic, said the mural is a testament to growing teen involvement in a neighborhood that has been plagued by gang violence.

Pictured is a mural called "Dreams Do Come True" at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, July 2, 2015.
Alison St John
Pictured is a mural called "Dreams Do Come True" at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, July 2, 2015.

“We understand that a mural’s not going to change a community,” Figueroa said. “But what it can do is provide a symbol of hope, so it goes deeper than the mural."

The painting was originally created by a high school senior, Alondra Ochoa, who won a competition to find the best images for the mural.

Figueroa said 30 to 40 teens worked on the painting for a total of about 60 hours, not including the time it took to prepare the wall, which was covered in peeling paint. Elementary school kids came by, too, and asked to help out.

The concept of finding success through education was not something all the young people embraced before the project. But even youth who rebelled at school took part, including some who were on probation.

“At times, we even had people with their tracking devices on,” Figueroa said.

Pictured is part of a mural dedicated to the community around Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, July 2, 2015.
Alison St John
Pictured is part of a mural dedicated to the community around Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, July 2, 2015.

The mural is part of a bigger community involvement project funded by an $18,000 grant from the Oceanside Charitable Foundation. Walls around the park got fresh coats of paint and weedy areas were tidied up with retaining walls and mulch. But the mural is the brightest symbol of what has been achieved in the last few months.

At the dedication ceremony last weekend, a sister of one of the teens who died in a shooting at the park came by. Figueroa said she couldn’t stay long, but she brought enough nachos to feed 300 people.

There is still some of the jewel colored paint left over, and Figueroa said there’s a good chance the community will start looking for more images to turn into symbols of hope. There’s a wall next to the volley ball court, he said, that could be just right for another mural.