Mapping Out Your Life: West Valley’s Hotspot Map Workshop

By Avi Vieira

When you look back on your life, where are the important places that pop into your memory? Perhaps it was the first school you attended, or a close relative’s house. Maybe it was a favorite vacation, or a secret fort as a kid. West Valley one•n•ten had the opportunity to identify and share places and events that were important to them. Our youth were joined by Central one•n•ten’s very own Commodore Bea as well as youth from one•n•ten’s Promise of a New Day Housing Program who chose to visit West Valley in hopes of starting a mentoring program between themselves and the younger West Valley youth.


The activity for the evening was drawing “hotspot” maps which identified personal places of importance in their lives such as places they find comfort, support, where they are able to be themselves, and places where important events happened in their lives. The group was given sheets of paper and different art supplies, then allowed to break up and create their maps.


Later in the evening, the group formed back to allow everyone to share their maps. Common places identified were old homes, homes of friends, life in other cities and moving to Arizona, one•n•ten as a safe space, church as spiritual support, and OUTdoors! Camp (gay camp) as a place where our youth found support and their own identities. The evening proved to me a moving and enlightening one where the youth were able to interact with each other in a different way and learn all new kinds of things about people they thought they were already familiar with.