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Photovoice & Partnerships Bring PE to Latinas in New Britain, Conn.



Counselors at New Britain High School were concerned about the future of Latina teens who were not passing PE and risked not graduating. Fortunately, a local nonprofit taught a group of Latina teens how to take photos and use them to inspire action—a technique called photovoice. Their efforts helped unite the nonprofit, the New Britain YWCA, and New Britain High School, who together pushed to establish an after-school PE credit recovery program. Now, Latina girls are getting the physical education they need to lead a healthy lifestyle, and the ongoing collaboration between community organizations has led to the development of a new hub for health called The House of Teens (HOT). EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: The 37% Latino town of New Britain, Conn., was struggling with obesity in 2007. ...

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Resident Brings Healthier Vending Machines to Schools in San Antonio, Texas



When Cecil Whisenton of San Antonio, Texas, transitioned his career from the restaurant industry to the installation of healthy vending machines, he learned of the tremendous burden of obesity across the country. So, in his work with HUMAN Healthy Vending—a Los-Angeles-based company that has franchisees working to place healthy vending machines across the country—Whisenton brought the machines to local YMCAs and a San Antonio high school. He hopes to bring the healthy vending machines to more schools in the future to give kids healthier snack and drink options earlier in life. He believes schools facing the pending changes under the USDA’s Smart Snacks standards can turn to companies like Human Vending to redesign the snacking for students. EMERGENCE Awareness: Cecil Whisenton ...

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School Garden Provides Healthy Snacks and Lessons for Students in Austin, TX



Lonnie Sclerandi, a Spanish teacher and soccer coach at Austin Independent School District, downsized his home a few years ago and no longer had land for a garden for fresh produce. He asked his school principal if he could plant a small garden outside the portable building where he taught. The principal said, "Yes." Sclerandi then researched online about what produce would be seasonal for central Texas, and how to cultivate a garden in the area. He bought gardening tools and seeds with his own money, and got started. He tended the garden for a year. Then his students started to ask him what he was doing—which eventually grew a cool new healthy change. How the Garden Started Food service leaders at Austin Independent School District (AISD), which is about 60% ...

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Fruit Movers and Tree Shakers: Food Bank Receives Gleaned Produce in Tulare County



Latinos make up over 60% of residents in Tulare County, many of them working for little pay on large farms in California’s fertile Central Valley. Some of these families aren’t getting proper nutrition, leading to diet-related conditions, like obesity and diabetes. When the local food bank revamped their nutrition policy to encourage more fresh produce donations, a local health advocate used her hard-earned knowledge and passion to support that policy, and implemented a creative way to get the valley’s extra fruits and veggies into the hands of those who need them. EMERGENCE Awareness: In Tulare County in California’s fertile Central Valley, fresh produce grows all over the place. But for many area residents, this healthy produce doesn’t end up on their plates. "Here we ...

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Youth Help Latino Corner Store Market Fresh, Healthy Foods



Latino neighborhoods have one-third as many supermarkets as non-Latino ones, studies show. This can limit food options to what can be found at local corner stores, which aren’t known to carry an abundance of fresh, healthy foods. In the mostly Latino city of Watsonville, Calif., corner stores either didn’t have many healthy options or weren’t encouraging customers to but the few healthy options they did have. One local corner market worked with youth to improve its bottom line while promoting healthy eating in the community. EMERGENCE Awareness: In California’s Santa Cruz County, located on the central pacific coast, the 80% Latino city of Watsonville has disproportionately higher rates of obesity than many other cities. The city’s food environment plays a big role in ...

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Parents Help Expand Bike/Walk to School for Kids in Fairfax, Va.



Jeff Anderson, a parent at Wolftrap Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., wanted his daughter to bike to school. Unfortunately, the school had no bike racks. He went to the principal and the school installed bike racks. Anderson then joined other parents, school officials, and community partners to improve one of the school district’s transportation policies. Now parents from all over the community, including those with large Latino populations, have created safe routes for kids to walk and bike to district schools. EMERGENCE Awareness: In Spring 2008, Jeff Anderson noticed that there were no bike racks at Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna, Va., a city with a 12% Latino population. An avid bicyclist, Anderson wanted his then-first-grade daughter to learn biking’s sense of ...

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Residents Bring First-Ever Park to California’s 92701 Zip Code



A group of Latina women in the park poor city of Santa Ana, Calif., were desperate to have a safe place for their children to play. One mom, Irma Rivera, saw a child almost get hit by a car while playing in an empty parking lot, and she vowed to do something about the lack of safe active spaces. She and other moms went to non-profit group Latino Health Access (LHA) for support and found that the group was willing to champion the cause. Through teamwork, determination and perseverance, LHA and the moms managed to get land and funding to build the area’s first-ever public park and community center for Latinos in south Santa Ana. EMERGENCE Awareness: Latinos in Santa Ana, Calif., struggle with poverty, language and cultural barriers, obesity, and disease—despite being part of Orange ...

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Hydration Stations Start a Water-Drinking Movement in Washington



Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group in Washington State. Because Latino kids tend to drink more sugary drinks than their White peers, healthy beverage policies have the potential to impact Latino kids’ health in big ways. In Washington, community partners are teaming-up with schools and lawmakers to come up with ways to encourage kids to quench their thirst with water, not sugar. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: Childhood obesity is a problem in the state of Washington, which is 11% Latino. In 2012, 25% of Washington children ages 2-4 who received benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC; Latinos comprise about 41% of WIC participants) were overweight or obese, according to the state’s Department of Health. About 23% ...

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Latino-Owned Grocery Store Uses Bilingual Marketing to Inspire Healthy Shopping



Northgate González Market has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The family-owned and operated California-based grocery store chain, originally founded by immigrants from Jalisco in 1980, went from one 2,500-square-foot store to now 42 stores located throughout Southern California. Despite Northgate’s success, its owners have not forgotten their roots or culture. They seek to offer high-quality products and improve the quality of life for Latinos through their Viva la Salud! Program, which includes bilingual healthy food labels and an entire marketing program aimed at helping customers make wise food- purchasing decisions as part of a healthy lifestyle. EMERGENCE Awareness: Victor González, Senior VP of Marketing at González Northgate Markets, a chain of ...

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