October 30, 2013

Being a good neighbor can help HEAL a local community

By Sara Reeve

Question: Can USC staff and faculty members help to transform the food environment of East Los Angeles?

Answer: Yes, if they contribute to the USC Good Neighbors Campaign.

The Community Youth Health Education and Action Leaders (HEAL) program teaches youth in the Boyle Heights area about urban agriculture and healthy food choices. A partnership between the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Patient Education and Community Outreach Center and Proyecto Jardin Community Garden, HEAL received a new grant of $45,000 in June from USC Neighborhood Outreach (UNO), which is funded by the Good Neighbors Campaign.

“We’re not only teaching youth about urban agriculture and transforming land into a food source for the local communities, but also how to impact policies and demand access to fresh, healthy food in their communities [schools, local stores, homes and community agencies],” said Zul Surani, program manager for community outreach and partnerships at the Norris cancer center. “This approach impacts the whole community eventually by making healthier choices, easier choices.”

The program is recruiting 10 youth members and one peer youth crew supervisor to participate in a 12-week institute that teaches skills to help the participants lead the development of a sustainable community food system. Read more