Taking a Healthy Ride on the Green Side is a new animation, produced in partnership with two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Lalo Alcaraz and his team at Pocho Villa Productions. The 90-second short focuses on green mobility options and benefits and encourages students to choose green transportation methods for commuting to school, including walking, using public transportation, scootering, biking, or carpooling. It features El Monte Union Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga, alongside District Facilities & Energy Manager Lena Luna, and student characters, including those inspired by real El Monte Union students who engaged in a focus group with Alcaraz at the project’s outset.
Alcaraz, who is also the creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip “La Cucaracha”, said he wanted to make sure the animation felt relevant to its audience and called on another group of students from El Monte’s Mountain View High School to voice the characters, recording them in the school’s own podcast studio at the invitation of VISTA Academy Coordinator and teacher John Mann.
The project was funded as part of a $9.8 million grant from the California Air Resources Board to promote clean transportation and public education about its benefits.
“As part of this grant, we wanted to start a conversation in our community about clean transportation,” Luna said. “Lalo and his team gave us the perfect vehicle to introduce ways students and their families can contribute to green mobility, and the benefits going green brings to the whole El Monte community.”