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'A new sense of collaborating better together:' Building Healthy Communities

Building Healthy Communities: City Heights
May 2011
Collaboration to focus on health and prevention is worldwide trend
Mid-City CAN 'a new sense of collaborating better together'
Dr. Robert Ross urges City Heights to 'be bold' in implementing BHC
AmeriCorps closer to helping make City Heights safer for young people
Dolores Huerta Foundation training delayed in City Heights
Meet the grantees: Cherokee Point focus of restorative practice project
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Collaboration to focus on health and prevention is worldwide trend

In places as far flung as 90 European cities and South Bend, Ind., collaboration is being used to create healthier cities.

The idea is that collaborative partnerships between agencies and residents are required to create healthy communities and drive a prevention-based approach, according to a passage in "Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference" by David D. Chrislip and Carl E. Larson.

To read the entire "Case for Collaboration" chapter, click here.


Mid-City CAN 'a new sense of collaborating better together'

The Building Healthy Communities Initiative has created a sense of excitement at Mid-City CAN that Michael Carr, the

executive director of SAY San Diego, finds remarkable.

And he should know.

He is one of a small group of people that came up with the idea for Mid-City for Youth about 22 years ago. It later became Mid-City Community Advocacy Network, which is often abbreviated as Mid-City CAN.

"The whole thing of people coming together is very exciting, very empowering," Carr said.

Michael Carr Executive Director SAY San Diego

Michael Carr

Carr explained that change has fed the growth of the collaborative and the engagement of community members.

For a less visionary person, the period when Mid-City CAN began would have been a daunting time to hatch a new community organization.

Carr remembers the period in the late '80s when he and some other key players in youth services brainstormed the idea.

"It was during the Reagan administration, after Proposition 13 passed, and services were dying on the vine," he said.

However the group was compelled by the need it saw -- and the organization's longevity is a testament to the group members' wisdom.

The organization enjoyed a period of expansion in the mid-'90s when it secured funding from The County of San Diego.

It reinvented itself when it changed its name to Mid-City CAN in the mid-2000s, he said.

Recently, it became the hub for The California Endowment's Building Healthy Communities Initiative, which caused a high level of interest and energy.

Like many efforts that unite people, the sum ended up being bigger than its individual parts.

Mid-City CAN created "a new sense of collaborating better, and a new sense of collaborating better together," he said.


'Be bold' City Heights
'Be bold' City Heights

Dr. Robert Ross urges City Heights to 'be bold' in implementing BHC

Robert Ross, M.D., president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment, offered this advice to City Heights during the implementation phase of the Building Healthy Communities Initiative:

"You know there is a favorite expression of mine. It's a Persian saying. The saying is 'Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.'

In other words, don't worry about what the rest of the world is doing. Be bold with what you believe and your passion, and good things will happen as a result. People will follow you as a result of your boldness and your leadership, so that is my message to City Heights and all of the BHC sites: Be bold with your vision. We can think big. We can start small, but we can think big.

Because if you are not going to be bold, we don't see Washington being bold on behalf of young people. We don't see Sacramento being bold on behalf of young people. We see budget cuts to schools. We see budget cuts to programs, so the leadership is going to have to come from you."


Angeli Hernandez, 17, learns about the Los Angeles River

Angeli Hernandez, 17, is a youth planning committee member. The group presented its AmeriCorps plan on May 3 to the Mid-City CAN Coordinating Council.

AmeriCorps closer to helping make

City Heights safer for young people


AmeriCorps logo

City Heights is one step closer to having four full-time-equivalent AmeriCorps members help make it safer.

The Mid-City CAN coordinating council, which is its governing body, reached consensus to accept the proposal from the youth council planning committee at its May 3 meeting. The youth planning committee, with high school members in grades 9-12, proposed how to execute the AmeriCorps program.

The program is a partnership between The California Endowment, AmeriCorps, and the young people of City Heights. The AmeriCorps positions in City Heights will be deployed to support healthy youth development through work on the school environment and safety.

Mid-City CAN member agencies will host AmeriCorps members, according to the proposal. AmeriCorps members will report to Mid-City CAN youth council. Host site partners will report to and provide updates to networking council. Mid-City CAN will send out information about the host agencies once they have been selected.

The youth planning committee members Angeli Hernandez, Deana Mercado, Elizabeth Modesto and Grecia Lopez gave the presentation that outlined the proposal to the council.

Dolores Huerta Foundation
training delayed in
City Heights

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta


The Dolores Huerta Foundation is rescheduling its June Mid-City CAN sponsored training to complete a community organizing campaign. Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) with César Chávez and established the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Watch your email for updates as new details are finalized.

There is also a new date for the Alliance for Justice Advocacy and Lobbying Training. It is July 22 for the English session and July 23 for Spanish
Watch your email for registration information. RSVP Required. This training is ideal for advocates and organizers who need to understand the power of advocacy and the difference between advocacy and lobbying.

For an updated Building Healthy Communities timeline, click here.

Meet the grantees: Cherokee Point focus of restorative practice project

Wellness & Restorative Practice Partnership
The Cherokee Point Neighborhood is getting a holistic approach to improving its health and safety.
The project is called the Wellness and Restorative Practice Project. It is funded by a Building Healthy Communities initiative grant to San Diego State University Foundation.
The project has six parts, and four major goals. The goals are to reduce youth violence, increase community safety, school attendance, and access to health care.
Its first part is the Resident Advisory Alliance that will meet once a month. The alliance will include parents of Cherokee Point Elementary school students, as well as residents, and those associated with nearby schools.
Part of the purpose of the Resident Advisory Alliance is to continue the project after it has transitioned beyond Cherokee Point, Dana Brown, a project staff member, said.
Another purpose of the alliance is ensuring "shared decision
making and shared power," she said. "[It] will be the guiding force."
The second part of the program centers on youth development and leadership.
The third part of the project focuses on school climate and seeks to promote "a culture of care" according to the project's narrative.
The fourth part of the project is promoting school-based and in-home support services for prevention, which includes things like parent education, childcare and wellness education.
The fifth part of the project is restorative justice, a concept that seeks to transform punishment for young people guilty of misdemeanor crimes. It does this by taking punishment out of the courtroom and placing it back in the community.
What this means is that a young offender would put his or her fate in the hands of someone with more context about him or her and the community. The offender would then have to pay reparations, or perform some actions to make amends.
This is an alternative to the "heavy-handed response" of a traditional courtroom, said Gerald Monk, another project staff member and professor at San Diego State University.
"It works best when offenders meet with those they have offended," he said.
Monk points out that a courtroom's sterility can remove an offender from the personal cost of his or her actions.
"A judge doesn't have the same impact" on the offender, he said. "It wasn't the judge who was hurt."
The sixth part of the project is evaluation.
At the end of May, Godwin Higa, Principal of Cherokee Point Elementary, and Colette Ingraham, a San Diego State University Professor and project staff member, are scheduled to attend The California Endowment's first state policy roundtable discussion on restorative practice and school discipline. The purpose of the roundtable is to connect to state-level policy work. They are expected to return with information and share with their momentum team and the collaborative.
As part of the preparations for launching the project, Monk, Brown and Steve Eldred, the project manager for the California Endowment's City Heights initiative, were part of a conference call on March 2 that focused on restorative justice.
Click here to view the March 2 presentation with more information about restorative justice.
The project launched with an event May 18 at Cherokee Point Elementary School.
New Mid-City CAN LogoThe California Endowment

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The Mid-City Community Advocacy Network's mission is to create a safe, productive,Quotation (Right)
and healthy community through collaboration, advocacy, and organizing.

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