This past Saturday on Jan 31st, our Day One nutrition team of staff and students attended a youth health forum titled “Our Health, Our Story”. It was a fun opportunity for our teams from Pomona, El Monte, and Pasadena to connect with one another as well as other Champions for Change youth engagement teams across Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties. Over 50 middle school and high school students were present.
- How are we connected to systems?
- How do systems, policies and our environments impact our health opportunities, access, and solutions?
Other highlights included a poetry activity in which students responded thought-provoking prompts, “I am not who you think I am” and “my community’s health is more than you think it is”. Confronting stereotypes, those who shared their poems expressed that they are so much more beyond stereotypes and that their cities failed to reflect their vision of a healthy community. They also realized that issues in their community were prevalent in others’ communities. In the final group exercise, students filmed, edited, and produced a quick 30-second public service announcement around health.
By the end of the day, students made the critical connection that most, if not all, of today’s social issues (ie: gang violence, lack of park space) link back to health. They were reminded that they are indeed powerful leaders in the health movement, especially in low-income communities of color. Students looked around the room to realize that they are not alone in the movement for a healthier California.
A large part of what we do at Day One is dismantle the technicality of YPAR by being strong adult allies for our youth. We look forward to attending more youth forums in the near future: more opportunities for youth to meet each other, realize their own power and take action to create a healthier city, region, and state.
Follow the hashtag: #jointhechampionmovement to track our collective progress!