Healthy Kids Zone (HKZ) is a multi-level and -issue, place-based approach to improving health and the built environment that creates a healthy environment for students, their families, and the community by creating a ½ mile buffer zone around a school where through the enactment of policy regulations will promote healthy resource development to address health, social, and economic disparities.
Community Health Councils (CHC) designed the HKZ concept in 2013 in partnership with other community stakeholders. On March 31, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council officially approved the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles. Policy 2.5 specifically references Healthy Kids Zones: “Creating Healthy Kids Zones through focused improvements in opportunities for physical activity, nutrition, improving the environment, public and perceived safety, and health and social services will offer health benefits to students and the surrounding community.”
From the fall of 2015 to the summer of 2016, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (DPH) and the City of LA co-convened key partners to develop a pilot project and launch one Healthy Kids Zone. In 2016, CHC was asked to serve as the backbone organization to implement the pilot and evaluate the process and outcomes to develop a playbook for HKZ replication citywide.
Pilot School Site:
John C. Fremont High School in South LA was identified as satisfying most of the selection criteria set forth by the initial HKZ Workgroup.
- It has the highest FitnessGram failures, highest rates of uninsured children and adults, and is located within the boundaries of a Medically Underserved Area; it carries a high pollution burden and respiratory risks and has zero park acreage per 1,000 people within a ½ mile of the school.
- It also has a high readiness factor with an established Wellness Center, parent center infrastructure and, the school administration has expressed interest in piloting this project.
Results to Date:
HKZ Workgroup: Community Stakeholders, including parents and students, have been attending monthly meetings at Fremont High School to assist with the design and implementation of HKZ strategies. Organizations and agencies most involved in the effort include: Los Angeles Unified School District, L.A. Trust for Children’s Health, Community Coalition, UMMA Community Clinic, Los Angeles Education Partnership, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, John C. Fremont High School and Bethune Middle School.
Resident Leaders and Community Assessment: CHC has trained 26 adult and youth residents as part of our Community Research and Development Trainings (CReDT) and provided them stipends to conduct community outreach and assessment. As a result, the CReDT fellows were able to:
- Reach 726 community stakeholders (that is 71% of the total outreach of 1,023) to inform them about the HKZ project;
- Collect 728 Neighborhood Opinion surveys to assess resident perspectives of the resources and deficits in the environment; and
- Begin the built environment assessment to gain a visual of the actual resources and deficits. A total of 17 out of 40 segments have been assessed.
Broader Community Engagement:
- Through a variety of outreach strategies, 1,023 stakeholders have received information about the HKZ project, including the one-on-one outreach by CReDT fellows which yielded 71% of the total outreach, and various community meetings and local events which yielded the remaining percentage.
- This outreach has resulted in the completion of 129 interest cards from people wishing to become more involved in the project.
- CHC has also begun to conduct Business Outreach in order to engage and learn from the businesses within the ½ mile around Fremont.
Policy Landscape: Starting October 2017, as part of the monthly workgroup meetings, we have been identifying the issues impacting the Fremont community and a landscape analysis of solutions to address these issues either through the development of policies and/or programs. Thus far, the workgroup has discussed Public Safety, Food Access, and Economic Development.
Over the next few months, the workgroup will be planning a launch event to further educate the community about HKZ and learn from them. We expect to begin prioritizing the issues collected from the community assessment and the policies to address those issues by Fall 2018. To learn more about HKZ and how to join us as we work to transform the community, go to healthykidszone.org
This project is funded in part by L.A. Care Health Plan and will benefit low-income and uninsured residents of Los Angeles County. Additional support has come from the Crane Fund for Widows & Children and individual donors like you.