Whittier, Los Angeles County
HEAL Local Partnership
Activate Whittier Collaborative was founded in 2008 after an energetic commitment from both the YMCA of Greater Whittier and the City of Whittier to begin proactively talking about working towards a healthy active Whittier.
Strategies | Link to Cross Site Strategies
Activate Whittier Collaborative Community Action Plan includes the following objectives:
1. Increase physical activity available to students in Longfellow Elementary, Dexter Middle School and Whittier High School.
2. Increase access to healthier food options in lunch and competitive foods in Longfellow Elementary, Dexter Middle School and Whittier High School.
3. Increase access to healthy foods and beverages in the HEAL Zone Community.
Partners | Link to Partnership Structure
Activate Whittier can boast a membership that includes the City of Whittier, YMCA of Greater Whittier, PIH Health, Los Angeles County Public Health Department, Kaiser Permanente, East Whittier School District, Whittier City School District, Boys & Girls Club of Whittier, Whittier Union High School District, and Whittier College. These entities with the support of additional community partners are working everyday to create a Healthy Active Whittier.
Whittier PTA "Insanity Mud Run" Raises $12,000
Longfellow Elementary was a typical school that relied on unhealthy food fundraisers each fall to raise money for student field trips. After parents participated in the Activate Whittier "Change Starts With Me" Leadership training on healthy eating and active living, they decided to make a change in their school. They worked closely with Michel Hesia, Longfellow PTA President, to plan and host a student "Insanity Mud Run" which raised $12,000 through student supported sponsorships! Not only did the students get an opportunity to be physically active, the PTA raised twice as much money as they had when selling cookie dough and cheese cake.
For more information and a copy of the toolkit to implement the fundraiser in your school, contact Penny Lopez.
Boys and Girls Club of Whittier Adopts Wellness Policy
Boys and Girls Club of Whittier developed an organization wide wellness policy that received final board approval on February 28th. The purpose of the policy is to ensure an environment that promotes and protects members, families, staff, board of directors, and volunteers health, well-being, and ability to learn. Executive Director Samantha Ridout and Health & Fitness Director Alyssa Carillo championed the development and adoption of the policy.
Congress Recognizes Whittier Healthy Picks Program
Concerned with the health of the community, Whittier Farms owners, Leo and Sandra Anguiano voluntarily joined the effort towards making the healthy choice the easy choice. Whittier Farms now features the Healthy Pick label as an easy way for customers to identify healthy food and beverage items throughout the store. At the April 23rd celebration, Activate Whittier also received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives, which they share with Whittier Residents in Action. Whittier residents have been the driving force behind the initiative, engaged at every level of the program, from conducting store assessments to building relationships with the store owners.
Whittier Residents in Action: Best Practices on Training and Sustaining Resident Engagement
Whittier residents are in action, working to make the healthy choice the easy choice inside and outside the school setting. After graduating from the "Change Starts with Me" leadership training, residents were determined to change corner stores and school fundraisers to keep their kids, and themselves, healthy. They meet regularly with other residents to motivate each other and strategies on healthy snack for local stores and the Longfellow Elementary student store, and fun physical activity fundraisers like mud runs. They also actively participate in the Whittier City School District Wellness Council meetings, helping implement and monitor the District Wellness Policy. Initiated in 2013 with the assistance of Marlene Flores, KP Community Benefit employee and a Whittier resident herself, the Residents in Action train youth and adult to implement the changes outlined in the Whittier HEAL Local Partnership Community Action Plan.
Resident and Youth Leaders Creating and Sustaining HEAL Communities
Whittier youth Analaura Amezquita, 14, is advocating for healthier food options in her neighborhood food retailers. After attending the Change Starts with Me training in 2012, Analaura built relationships with store owners and persuaded them to participate in the Activate Whittier "healthy picks" corner store project. Her design for the "healthy picks" logo won first place and will be used to identify and promote healthier options in the store. Analaura is an advocate, community volunteer, and a 4.0 GPA student! She plans to attend Whittier High School next year and start a HEAL Club.
Each year the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) recognizes leaders at the local, state, and national level whose work helps create healthier communities. Whittier resident Josue Balderas was the recipient of the 2013 Guardian of Health award. The award recognizes stalwart advocates whose work has a special focus on impacting the health of children and adults who live in communities without easy access to healthy food or safe places to be physically active.
Activate Whittier Receives Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Healthy Pic Initiative
On April 3, 2014, Activate Whittier partners and community residents celebrated the Healthy Pick initiative kick off in Whittier Farms, located in 12221 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, CA. Local residents and regular shoppers sampled healthy snacks while celebrating one step towards a healthier Whittier. Concerned with the health of the community, Whittier Farms owners, Leo and Sandra Anguiano voluntarily joined the effort towards making the healthy choice the easy choice. Whittier Farms now features the Healthy Pick label as an easy way for customers to identify healthy food and beverage items throughout the store and will soon be inaugurated in Longfellow Elementary School’s Snack Shack.
Activate Whittier was honored to receive a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives “In recognition of actively contributing to the development and implementation of community healthy improvement strategies”. Active Whittier shares this honor with Whittier Residents in Action whom have been the driving force behind the Healthy Picks initiative.
The Healthy Picks Labeling Program was modeled after the “Healthy Selection” campaign, created by residents and teens in collaboration with the City of Baldwin Park, Kaiser Permanente, Citrus Valley Health Partners, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and small corner store business owners to improve access to healthy food. The Activate Whittier “Healthy Picks” employs a logo created by a local Whittier teen to identify products with minimal salt, fat and sugar content. Whittier residents have been engaged at every level of this program, from conducting store assessments to building relationships with the store owners. The goal of the project is to help consumers look more closely at the foods they are buying and make healthy selections a part of their daily life.
Weight of the Nation Screening
Activate Whittier held a Weight of the Nation Screening event at Whittier College. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez opened the event; Mayor Newcomer shared the city’s commitment to promoting physical activity resources. Lori Tiffany Activate Whittier Chair provided background on the HEAL initiative. A panel discussion and break out groups provided an avenue for Activate Whittier Collaborative to gather support from community leaders to move the community action plan forward.
Change Starts with Me Advocacy Training
A 7 week Change Starts with Me advocacy training workshop was completed by 30 participants including 5 high school students. Participants received training on the power of community leadership, how to advocate for changes that better their community and how to reach out to key partners and leaders to make these changes happen.
A PhotoVoice project in conjunction with the Change Starts with Me was completed on November 15, 2012. Whittier residents photos’ captured both the barrier and opportunity to healthy eating and active living. Community agencies plan to share the display in their organizations lobbies.
CATCH Program at Whittier City School District
An expanded physical education program, complete with new equipment for each school and teacher training, is coming to the Whittier City School District next fall, thanks to a nearly $400,000 federal grant.
Whittier Council Funds for Greenway Trail Fitness Equipment
The Whittier Community Foundation presented the City of Whittier with $50,073 at the June 12 City Council meeting to purchase and install outdoor exercise equipment for the Greenway Trail Fitness Project. The Fitness Project is the latest in a series of projects whose fundraising was spearheaded by the Foundation. This amount was supplemented by two grants from the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; a $7,500 grant also presented at the June 12 meeting and a $15,000 grant received previously.
Whittier Residents Promote Healthy Living One Store at a Time
The customers at the Whittier 7-Eleven were not only there to shop but to also survey the owners interest in a project to become a healthier food retailer. Rosalia Calam, and fellow residents received special training through the Change Starts with Me and California Center for Public Health Advocacy programs to improve their neighborhood corner stores. Local residents have been building relationships with store managers and owners, conducting assessments, and preparing resources to make the healthy choice the easy choice in their neighborhood markets. Residents will be selecting the store and implementing the conversion in the Fall/Winter of 2013.