Make one Healthy Choice... Then Make Another.

submission by celina.r.perez.1
Make one Healthy Choice... Then Make Another.

Organization Name

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LA CAUSA YouthBuild

Website

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www.lacausainc.org

Indicator

Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Health

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?

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With the ongoing obesity and health issues inner cities faces, LA CAUSA INC. is proposing the implementation of a healthy eating and active living program with a focus on youth within inner city East Los Angeles. The program would promote and cultivate food literacy, while exposing youth to Farmer’s markets and health events all throughout greater Los Angeles while emphasizing healthy food alternatives, the cultivation of healthy eating, nutrition education and cross cultural learning through food. The exposure to new and different parts of Los Angeles will allow our youth to learn more about distinct foods, its integrity and the role it plays in the makeup of the many different cultures that is L.A.

East L.A. is known as a major hub of Hispanic/Latino population and culture. As of the 2010 census, the area had a total population of 126,496, up from 124,283 at the 2000 census, making it the most populous CDP in California. Furthermore, the 2010 census indicated that there was a 43% increase in Hispanic/Latino population within Los Angeles which makes up about 48% of its population.

"Currently, 38.2% of Latino children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese, compared with 31.7% of all U.S. children those ages, placing them at higher risk of developing chronic diseases. This disparity is particularly alarming given that Latino children comprise 22% of all U.S. youth and represent the largest, youngest, and fastest-growing minority group in the nation.

Obesity, especially when developed at a young age and carried into adulthood, is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, asthma, sleep apnea and some types of cancer. These factors make it an urgent priority to address Latino childhood obesity." (Salud America Website)

The need to preserve health and change not just in eating habits, but the cultural awareness of Latinos is an essential foundational change LA CAUSA is seeking to build in our youth. By expanding the awareness of good food and food choices we are combating what is an epidemic in our community as well as creating a potential consequence of bridging the Los Angeles cultural divide where youth are able to learn about new cultures and existences of people. This will teach tolerance, open-mindedness, promote health and fitness while being interactive, engaging, and open to the different food experiences Los Angeles has to offer.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

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LA CAUSA YouthBuild is regarded as the organization that transformed the perception that the lives of the youth it serves from a deficit based perspective (identifying the things they lack such as income, healthy food, education, employment) to an asset based population (passionate, conceptual thinkers, willing, and determined) that can overcome the challenges of life. Its asset based thinking model has been adopted nationally by YouthBuild USA and many other programs.

LA CAUSA has empowered young leaders since 2005, allowing them the opportunity to go to post secondary education, start their own non-profits, and become gainfully employed in a variety of jobs whereas, as new students in LA CAUSA they were young adults with no high school diplomas and limited job skills. We have served thousands of youth over a very limited time.

The organization was recognized by former Secretary of Labor of the Western United States opening of the United We Serve initiative of volunteerism by President Obama in 2010. LA CAUSA has long focused on empowering our youth to volunteer as an Americorps designated site and countless projects to "green" East LA and build gardens and healthy eating and living opportunities. With that our organization continues to be progressive and promote challenging learning models including a mental toughness curriculum designed to prepare our youth for the world outside of our walls.

More recently, LA CAUSA partnered with The California Endowment and implemented the PALOMA Project, a project that focused on researching food accessibility within East Los Angeles, specifically Boyle Heights. During this run of the program, the youth and program directors partnered with local corner store owner’s to assess the accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables within the surrounding community, along with addressing the store owners and community economic challenges, healthy eating options and beautification projects.

LA CAUSA is recognized as one of unincorporated East Los Angeles's only youth services group. The opportunities and resources in the community are relatively limited while showing significant positive outcomes

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

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Local Farmer’s Markets (East Los Angeles, South Pasadena, Santa Monica, Downtown Los Angeles) Salesian Boy and Girls Club of Boyle Heights. We are in initial discussions with several of these groups to not just experience their markets, but to possibly participate in having our own healthy eating booths.

Furthermore, the Salesian Boys and Girls Club of Boyle Heights has already pledged to provide a summer breakfast and lunch program as well as an in-kind donation and use of their athletic facilities for our youth and the development of this program.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

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The program will include pre- and post-surveys and testing that measure the participant’s knowledge of healthy eating, physical fitness, and Body Mass Index. We will also take pre- and post-surveys of the participant’s knowledge of healthy food options across cultures. A physical fitness aptitude test will be administered at the beginning and of the program cycle to measure the participants’ change in activity level. Daily food and activity journals will be part of the curriculum and will track changes and challenges as it pertains to diet and activity. The program is will also include BMI tracking.

With the understanding that there is success in failure, we accept that their will be challenges, but the key is to help our youth learn from those failures and move beyond. The success of this program is in information and awareness of healthier lifestyle options while experiencing food with a greater sense of health and wellness.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

The city of Los Angeles is a salad bowl rich in food and culture. By exposing these mostly Hispanic/Latino youth to the many different cultures, healthy food options and physical activity, we will give them a hands-on learning experience that will allow healthier food choices and create greater cultural awareness. The goal is to create dialogue, not only with the participating youth, but with communities in other parts of Los Angeles, to help create better understanding and awareness of the differences and commonalities amongst Angelinos with a focus on healthy eating, food literacy, and physical activity. By exposing the youth to culture through healthy food options across the abundant landscape of Los Angeles, we will begin to create bonds and bridges between cultures and minority groups.

A culture of health and fitness will be promoted in the Latino community that will reduce many of the health consequences of obesity we listed above. This reduces the public health risk that the Department of Public Health has identified about obesity. Thus, a healthier community actually is a less social service reliant community and can benefit all Angelenos in an unintended manner. Healthy eating can also be attributed in minimal studies as having other health benefits such as overall happiness, activeness, better school performance, and community participation. On a business perspective it is accepted that eating healthier also raises economic awareness and can benefit all of Los Angeles. By promoting health and creating discussion amongst the different sectors of greater Los Angeles, we are empowering Angeleno children for the rest of their lives.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

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Healthy eating for youth does not begin just in a classroom; it begins in experience and making eating healthy part of a cultural shift. By beginning the process of health education, inner beauty, and empowerment of choice, we are now allowing these youth leaders, and for some, young parents, an opportunity to change their paradigm so that their children will adopt these new habits. This cycle of healthy living is one passed through from generation to generation.

Through exposure to other choices and ideas we have an opportunity to open the minds of our youth and allow them to unleash their positive energy to change the direction of health and wellness within the L.A. community.

Children and youth eat what they connect their experiences of happiness to. LA CAUSA, is attempting to do that by introducing new experiences, options, education, and participation so that in 2050, healthy eating for our youth is a part of their culture and the succession of communities and generations after them.

Discussion
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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
$1,000,000 in total grants
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Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28, 2013
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
at 07:00 PM UTC

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Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08, 2013