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Growing Healthier Schools



UrbiCulture Community Farms are making school lunches look a little more like a garden with their new school garden programs. Teachers plant alongside students, helping them understand what it takes to grow food, and be more open to eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Students harvest the fresh produce from the 6,500 square-foot garden to bring to the cafeteria for all students to try and enjoy. EMERGENCE Awareness: Columbian Elementary School teacher Brenna Larson Brooks enjoyed gardening at home in Denver. She wanted to use her backyard for a food garden, so she reached out to UrbiCulture Community Farms, a Denver nonprofit that turns donated land into gardens that grow food for the community. UrbiCulture helped Brooks design and build her home garden and that gave ...

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Teacher Helps Get Water Safety Classes for Students with Special Needs



Linda Joseph, a special needs teacher in Florida, with some of the highest drowning rates in the country, wanted to make sure her students could swim and weren’t afraid of the water. As someone who values whole-child health, Joseph knows that water safety boosts confidence and opens doors to many water-based physical activities and associated mental and physical benefits. She went to a nearby pool for information and learned about and enrolled her students in free water safety education lessons through SWIM Central. Fear of Drowning is High in Florida  Linda Joseph, a special needs teacher at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13.7% Latino), lost both of her parents to a drowning accident when she was 16. She became fearful of water and didn’t learn to ...

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Drowning Prevention Advocates Teach Water Safety to Kids Under 5



In the past 15 years, the drowning rate of school-age children in Broward County, Fla., has plummeted thanks in part to SWIM Central, a program that provides free water safety education classes and transportation for public school children. () However, drowning rates remain the No. 1 cause of death among children younger than 5. SWIM Central’s manager and primary funder, the Children’s Services Council, teamed up to develop a voucher program for parents to get their children under 5 into water safety education classes for free or very low cost. Drowning is No.1 Killer in South Florida  Cindy Arenberg Seltzer and Jay Sanford have long been advocates for water safety education for children in Broward County, Fla. (27.5% Latino). Seltzer is president and CEO of the Children’s ...

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Neighborhood Association Pushes City for More Walkable Streetscape



Nicolas Rivard and Allison Hu, urban designers in San Antonio and members of Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, learned about an upcoming street construction project that lacks walkable streetscape elements in their largely Latino neighborhood, and decided to act. The urban designers mobilized and empowered community members to get involved and request walkable streetscape elements, and the city responded by adding street trees, separated sidewalks, and landscaping. Today, through their recent project, Place Changing, the designers use “design activism” or “participatory design” processes to build urban literacy and equip residents with strategies to continue to get involved in city planning and development projects. Walkability Low in East San Antonio Neighborhood Nicolas ...

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Harvesting the Neighborhood for Fresh Fruit



Two architecture and urban planning graduate students from the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) recognized good fruit from fruit trees were being left to rot in urban areas of San Antonio, Texas, (63.2% Latino), where many Latino families live in need of fresh foods. Working together for a class project, the friends created a blossoming non-profit to make sure families in need can access a variety of fresh fruit. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: In summer 2013, UTSA grad student Melissa Federspill started a class focused on health planning, called “Health in the Built Environment.” Students in the class were advised to visualize solutions to inner-city health problems. The class analyzed a predominately Latino neighborhood close to campus, the Avenue to Guadalupe neighborhood ...

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San Antonio Clinic Brings Healthcare to the Underserved



The east side neighborhood of San Antonio (63.2% Latino) struggles with socioeconomic hardships, health disparities, and a lack of access to quality healthcare. In the past few years, the nonprofit Eastside Promise Neighborhood (EPN) has sought ways to improve conditions for residents in the city’s east side. To solve the gap in the availability of healthcare options in the area and fight health disparities, the EPN partnered with a provider, CommuniCare Health Partners, to open a new health clinic in the area. Latinos in need in San Antonio San Antonio’s historic east side neighborhood is home to 17,955 residents (mostly Latino), more than 200 private businesses, and six schools on 3.5 square miles bounded by Interstate 37 to the west, Fort Sam Houston to the north, AT&T ...

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Branding Veggies for Healthy Options



Latino kids in Miami-Dade County (65% Latino) can now make healthier food choices more easily thanks to highlighted and vegetable promoting menus campaign called Lean & Green. By providing more vegetarian options, officials with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools hope to increase students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables and make healthy food the easy choice. EMERGENCE Awareness: Penny Parham, the administrative director at Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida, realized the school district’s initiative of “Meatless Mondays” were popular for students. However, these vegetarian meal options were only available to students on Mondays. The Miami-Dade school district is the fourth largest in the nation, and having healthy eating options on an everyday basis is ...

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Good Food Is What The Doctor Prescribed



You may have heard the saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but what if your doctor actually prescribed fruits and vegetables for what ails you? In Forest Grove, Ore. (23.1% Latino) a health clinic and farmers market teamed up to help prevent obesity and fight disease by providing patients with prescriptions for healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables are what the doctor ordered, as Forest Grove Latino families visit their local healthcare providers to eat their way to healthier futures. EMERGENCE Awareness: Kaely Summers, nutrition, and market access coordinator of Adelante Mujeres, a nonprofit that organizes a farmers’ market in Forest Grove, Ore. (23.1%), was well aware of the dietary health issues faced by community residents. U.S. Latinos tend to have less ...

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All Good Produce Deserves a Home



Fresh produce can be a rare commodity in Nogales, Ariz. (95% Latino), where 17% of children are food insecure and ineligible for assistance. Yolanda Soto saw the need for Latino homes and families all across Arizona to have fresh produce to improve nutrition and fight obesity. When Soto saw still-edible fresh produce being dumped into landfills every day, she had an idea for a fresh produce distribution program that rescues this food and provides it to food, insecure families. The program, Produce on Wheels - With Out Waste (P.O.W.W.O.W), now gives families, churches, communities and schools more access to fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be considered garbage. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn:  Yolanda Soto started helping Latino families in food-insecure areas ...

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