Teenagers Help Erase School Lunch Debt



It cannot be emphasized enough: kids need to eat healthy, nutritious meals in order for them to succeed academically. There is an indisputable link between nutrition and the development of children’s brains. Despite this importance, many kids go hungry. Kids from low-income families, including a disproportionate number of Latinos, often go without meals at school because the owe money. School lunch debt is a huge issue in cities across the country. A 2016 survey by the School Nutrition Association of 1,000 school meal program operators, about 75% of districts had unpaid student meal debt at the end of the school year. The median amount of debt per district was $2,000, but it can run much higher in large districts. For example, the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, ...

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Streetsblog’s Sorriest Bus Stop Competition


Latino health safe routes equity

Two critical parts of every bus trip are the walk there and the walk back. Sadly, many streets are designed for cars, not families, making for some very sorry bus stops. Safe routes and safe bus stops are critical for people to access basic necessities, like schools, work, grocery stores, parks, healthcare, and other cultural and historical community resources. Streetsblog USA is calling attention to sorry bus stops during their 2017 Sorriest Bus Stop in America tournament. The goal is to motivate action from the streets and transit agencies who are responsible for designing and constructing the bus stops. You can enter the competition by submitting a photo of the sorriest bus stop with the exact location (preferably tagged in Google Maps) and a short description of what ...

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Head Start Partners with Technical and Community College


Latino health early childhood education

Latino children may have education disadvantages when starting kindergarten. Head Start, which is free for low-income families, may help to improve school readiness with curriculum to enhance children's language, pre-literacy, and social-emotional skills. In 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services Head Start passed new performance standards increasing the minimum program hours. This is great for kids and families, but a challenge for providers due to limited space. In Alexandrian, Minnesota, half-day classes could share the same facility, one in the morning and a second in the afternoon, but didn't have the space to offer full day programming for both classes. They needed more space. Jim Haugen, Head Start Supervisor approached Alexandria Technical and Community ...

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City Looks to Increase Minimum Wage; Faces Resistance from State



Few factors are as important to a person’s health as their income. Millions of Latinos and other minorities struggle to make ends meet financially because of low-wage jobs. Low wages lead to housing instability, food insecurity, and poor health. In recent years, cities across the country have pursued efforts to raise the minimum wage so that workers will have a better chance of getting ahead, accumulating wealth, and provide better living environments for their families. One such example is found in Kansas City, MO (14.54% Latino population), in which voters overwhelmingly approved raising the minimum wage from $7.70 to $10 an hour. This would precede annual increases up to $15 by 2022. “We are so pleased that Kansas City has demonstrated a progressive political perspective ...

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Why Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen in New York


Getting ready for the beach

As temperatures blaze this summer, don't forget the water and the sunscreen! Latinos, who face a shockingly high risk of skin cancer, should wear head covering, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against the sun. What if you can't afford find or afford sunscreen, though? A cool new initiative in New York City (28.9% Latino population) offers free sunscreen dispensers in all five city boroughs, CityLab reports. “The mix of raising awareness about the problem of melanoma and providing a free preventive measure [sunscreen] is an easy step towards reducing skin cancer,” said Bright Guard CEO and Co-Founder Ryan Warren told CityLab. The Myth of Latinos and No Skin Cancer It is true that skin damage from the sun, which can lead to skin cancer, affects those with lighter ...

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Azusa Unified Now Identifies as a Pre-K through 12th District



California educates about one in eight U.S. students. In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) into law, which is the most comprehensive school funding system in 40 years. The LCFF provides more equitable school funding with local flexibility and greater community engagement with the goal of reducing the achievement gap in education. Early child education provides the highest impact in preventing achievement gaps. Many families in California feel like they aren't being adequately served by local early child care providers and want school districts to step up and take responsibility for early child education. However, funding requirements and expectations are complex, and many school leaders don't understand what is available to them or ...

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How to Encourage SNAP Participants to Eat Healthier



Since its inception, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has become the most important anti-hunger program in the United States. The program has helped benefit millions of low-income Latino families out of poverty and support them by providing an “adequate diet.” Overall, Latinos have a higher poverty rate than the national average. According to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, nearly 1 in 5 Latinos (21% overall) lived below the federal poverty line. This compares to the national average of 1 in 7 people. Latino households are also more likely to experience food insecurity on a regular basis compared to the national average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees SNAP benefits, recently announced awards of nearly $17 million to ...

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Fruit Juice Banned in Primary Schools to Cut Obesity in Scotland


LAtino Health sweetened sugary beverages

Sweetened sugary beverages are the main sources of excess sugar consumption and are associated with decreased water, fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as increased risk for obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Parents in the Tayside area of Scotland expressed their concerns about the excess sugar given to toddlers in the form of fruit juice. In March 2017, more than 140 Scottish primary schools were banned from giving toddlers fruit juice. Water and milk will be served instead. “All local authorities have a duty to provide school meals that meet strict nutritional requirements, ensuring that pupils are offered balanced and nutritious school lunches," a Scottish Government spokesperson said according to one source. Barriers to healthy eating are not only ...

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New Affordable Housing Initiative Proposed for Austin



Where you live matters. There is no escaping how important that housing impacts an individual’s life. Where someone lives affects their income and education levels, their access to opportunities, and their overall health. In many “big cities” in the United States, housing costs force some low-income and Latino families to make difficult financial decisions. Many forgo medical expenses, utilities, and sometimes food in an effort to pay rent or mortgages each month. The city of Austin, Texas (34.5% Latino population), has earned a reputation as one of the most segregated cities in the country. In an effort to combat this unfortunate trend, the Austin City Council approved a resolution to “better spread affordable housing throughout the city,” reports the Austin ...

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Salvation Army in Chattanooga Helps Residents ‘Beat the Heat’



With temperatures this summer reaching into the triple digits in many cities across the country, staying hydrated is crucially important for everyone. In many low-income and Latino neighborhoods, this becomes problematic, as access to clean drinking water is not always readily available. In Chattanooga, Tenn. (5.41% Latino population), the city’s branch of the Salvation Army has launched a new campaign to help residents in the area keep cool and stay hydrated during the summer, according to a report from WDEF News. “I don’t know how folks make it through the hot days of summer,” said Kimberly George, a representative with the Salvation Army said in an interview with WDEF. “It is so hot that it is life threatening.” The Salvation Army’s “Beat the Heat” campaign, ...

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