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Building Healthy Communities: City Heights
June 2012
Mid-City CAN's School Attendance team plans for advocacy campaign
Building Healthy Youth AmeriCorps program draws statewide applicants
In my words: Skateboarding accident inspires push for park
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In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it's built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.
"Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN

Mid-City CAN's School Attendance
team plans for advocacy campaign


The School Attendance Momentum Team has finished nearly 40 hours of planning to outline the work group's future.

City Height's residents are charting the course for the School Attendance Momentum Team and the Access to Healthcare
Jorge Dominguez, 18, takes part in analysis during a School Attendance Momementum Team planning session
Jorge Dominguez, 18, takes part in analysis during a School Attendance Momentum Team planning session.
Momentum Team within the Building Healthy Communities Initiative's rollout in San Diego.

Different young people had different reasons for wanting to be part of the process, but everyone wanted to make a positive change.

"Many of the youth of City Heights are falling apart, and we want [our lives] to come back together," said Leslie Renteria, 14, a Hoover High School student.

Leslie said she attended about five planning meetings.

"I'm trying to improve the community, so it won't have as bad of a reputation," she said

For other youth, making sure that decisionmakers consider young peoples' interests was a key goal.

"I hope people realize we do have a voice," said Roberto

Leslie Renteria, 14, a Hoover High School student, shows off a sign the Youth Council used to advocate for a skate park at a San Diego City Council meeting.
Leslie Renteria, 14, a Hoover High School student, shows off a sign the Youth Council used to advocate for a skate park during a San Diego City Council meeting.

Torres, 16, a Hoover High School student.

The group had 16 sessions: with two seven-hour Saturday sessions, three two-and-a-half hour sessions and 11 one-and-a-half hour sessions.

All the training added up to almost a full work week -- 38 hours of training for residents.

Most school attendance team member's commitment to the planning process averaged 30 hours.

The group's next steps will be to focus on learning to build a base for its campaigns in July.

The group also did work around the goals of the Youth Council, which shares many members with the School Attendance Momentum Team.

The youth council's campaign is for more outside park space in City Heights.

Armand Binombe, 16, a Crawford Educational Complex student, explained why the issue is important.

"In City Heights we don't have any after school activities, so we have been fighting to get a skate park in City Heights," he said.

Rosa Olascoaga, 15, a Patrick Henry High School student says that part of what motivates her to participate in the Youth Council is addressing misunderstandings about City Heights.

"We don't want to change everything, but we want to make it a safer and healthier community, so that people don't look down on us" she said. "They will look up."

Building Healthy Youth AmeriCorps
program draws statewide applicants

The priority application window for BHC AmeriCorps members closed June 22. More than 28 people from throughout the state applied for five positions in City Heights.

The program's full name is Building Healthy Communities/Building Healthy Youth AmeriCorps. It is an effort to mentor youth in 10 communities throughout California, including City Heights. The Kern County Superintendent of Schools, The California Endowment, the Corporation for National and Community Service and CaliforniaVolunteers are supporting the program.

The AmeriCorps members will be serving City Heights schools in the San Diego Unified School District.

City Heights Building Healthy Communities AmeriCorps volunteers, supervisors and students receiving mentoring.
City Heights Building Healthy Communities AmeriCorps volunteers, supervisors and students receiving mentoring enjoy a teambuilding event.

In my words: Skateboarding accident inspires push for park in City Heights

My name is Marcos Olascoaga. I am 18 years old.
As part of the Mid-City Community Advocacy Network Youth Council, we have taken the initiative of making a skate park here in City Heights for everyone to be able to exercise.
Marcos Olascoaga, 18, was inspired to work for a skate park in City Heights after being hit by a car while skateboarding almost two years ago.
Marcos Olascoaga, 18, was inspired to work for a skate park in City Heights after being hit by a car while skateboarding almost two years ago.
I just want to create a safe space for everyone in City Heights to go and skate.
Fox 5 news video: San Diego City Council pledges $850,000 for skatepark
Fox 5 news video: San Diego City Council pledges $850,000 for skatepark. Click here to watch video.
The skate park is an important issue, because a year and a half ago I was hit by an SUV while riding my skateboard.
I was riding down the sidewalk, and this guy was coming out of a driveway. And I was hit.
He hit me hard on my left hip, and it just flew me on to the street and the sidewalk. It hit me pretty hard. I started bleeding on my arm. I had a little bruise on my hip. This lady got out of her car on the street and helped pick me up.
I was kind of like out of if at the moment, so I actually just skated back home -- injured.
I told my mom what happened, and she was scared. My sister started crying. She took me to the emergency room right away to get me checked out.
Luckily, nothing was broken and I had no internal injuries.
But I still have a scar on my hip and a scar on my arm as well.
It was kind of like a moment of realization of what actually happened two days after.
Then I realized what I really wanted to do -- get a safe place, a safe skate park -- for people here in City Heights.
As part of the Mid-City CAN Youth Council, I took action.
I asked the Youth Council to create a plan: Whom should we ask? How can we get funded? Who may be our opponents? As well as what areas we should put the skate park in and a timeframe as well.
With the Mid-City CAN Youth Council, I am not alone.
Recently we had the District Nine Forum, which included San Diego City Council Candidates Marti Emerald and Mateo Camarillo.
We asked them questions that focused on youth issues as well as the skate park in City Heights.
They showed a lot of support on getting a skate park here.
To make sure the candidates were actually with us and not just saying stuff to make us happy, we made them sign a pledge to support having a skate park in City Heights.
The current San Diego City Councilmember District 3 representative Todd Gloria is in full support of the skate park, and in full support of the youth.
This whole year we have worked on getting a skate park -- from just ideas to getting a plan ready.
There is money out for a skate park and all we have to do is fight for it.
 

The California Endowment

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