HKHC: Baldwin Park, California


Excerpt from Lessons for Leaders:

Baldwin Park moved beyond an informed community engagement model to authentic collaboration and sustainable resident empowerment through People on the Move, a multilingual, multicultural initiative that trains resident leaders to become content experts and to shepherd each healthy community strategy and/or policy from inception to implementation. As a result, the city has changed the way it involves residents in policy making.

For more information, read the full story.

July 2014

Baldwin Park, a small suburb of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley, is a lower-income community with a high proportion of foreign-born residents and native Spanish-speakers. Many struggle to meet their basic needs, especially because of Southern California’s high cost of living. This is complicated by limited options available for healthy foods and places to be physically active.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) Project Director Rosa Soto explained the challenge. “When you have five or six times more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than you have grocery stores and when most everything being sold is unhealthy, people don’t have a choice.”

In response, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), where Rosa is the Senior Director for the Southern California Office, and the HKHC partners implemented People on the Move. This multilingual, multicultural initiative worked to change environments for school-aged children and their families in ways that promote healthy eating and increased physical activity. They focused on decreasing unhealthy food marketing and advertising while increasing access to healthy foods in corner stores located near schools. In addition, the sought to improve walkability and access to places for people to be physically active.

The local health department, school district, city government and community residents all collaborated together in new and exciting ways to achieve many wins toward a healthier Baldwin Park.

Among many successes, they have accomplished the following:

One of the most rewarding aspects of the project has been the strengthened collaboration with residents. “Before HKHC, the city of Baldwin Park did not have a history of significant engagement with community members on issues including safety, food access, school connectivity and walkability,” Rosa said. “Through the work of the HKHC partnership and resident engagement, there are now shared goals that benefit the greater community. We have laid the groundwork for bringing elected officials, planners and community members together with a sense of trust, family and mutual respect.”

For more information, view the short film about their work.