Healthy Kids Zone (HKZ) is a multi-level and -issue, place-based approach to improving health and the built environment. The goal of HKZ is to create a healthier environment for students, their families, and surrounding community by establishing a ½ mile buffer zone around a school where enactment of policy regulations and development standards will catalyze local resource development, and create healthier physical environments for residents living in underserved areas, by addressing issues that have a direct and negative impact on student well-being (e.g., proliferation of unhealthy fast food outlets, traffic conditions that make it unsafe for children to travel to school, or levels of crime that keep children from being outside and active). For example, traffic mitigation policies can result in creating wider streets, bike lanes, and/or enhanced crosswalks, which facilitates active transportation use among all residents.
We are working with a cross-sector workgroup (including campus parents and student organizations, LADPH, LAUSD, City of LA Department of Planning, City of LA Department of Transportation, and other public agencies and resident stakeholders) to pilot HKZ at Fremont High School in South LA.
Community Outreach and Engagement
CHC staff and partners have been attending local events and meetings to spread the word about, and get community members involved in the project. We’ve chatted with residents at the Estelle van Meter Senior Center, during the weekly Food Giveaway event at the Fremont Community Garden, at Peace Chapel Church’s 3rd annual Community Festival, and most recently, at the “Hands around Bethune Event” at Bethune Middle School. We’ve met local LAPD officers who’re excited to help conduct community assessments, and teachers who want to use this project to spark conversations with students about community service. We’ve met parents who want to help create a safer environment for their children to walk to school in, and from students who want to work on policies that keep the area affordable for their families to live in.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be talking with local business owners about how they too can contribute to creating a healthier neighborhood.
CHC staff trained a group of 13 community residents in the Fremont High School Healthy Kids Zone area about how to conduct intercept surveys.
Participants went through a 4 hour training learning about community-based participatory research principles, the value of surveys, and how to collect surveys in the community. They then completed a HKZ Neighborhood Opinion Survey themselves and spent time getting familiar with the questions in the survey.
The HKZ Neighborhood Opinion Survey asks community stakeholders questions about 7 policy areas:
- Physical Activity & Recreation – creates and improves open space opportunities, walking and biking infrastructure, parks, land trust/joint use;
- Food Environment/Nutrition – reduces unhealthy food options and advertising; improves access to healthy alternatives (i.e., healthy neighborhood markets and restaurants, farmers’ markets, community gardens, Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) and Rec & Park summer lunch programs);
- Public and Perceived Safety – improves the perception of safety and morphs streets that allow all users to travel safely; gang prevention/human trafficking;
- Health and Social Services – increases access to high quality, comprehensive, coordinated health and social services; LAPL health education classes and resources; integrated special needs populations (i.e. LGBT); family support services;
- Transportation – improves safe routes to school; metro/transit access;
- Economic Development & Employment – planning/land use incentives that promote for-profit/business development and job creation; and
- Affordable Housing – promotes standards that encourage housing development for all income levels.
Early conversations with HKZ Workgroup members have identified public safety & food access as their top priorities. The HKZ Neighborhood Opinion Survey will help the broader community identify the top policy priorities so solutions can be identified.
For more information or to get involved in the Healthy Kids Zone project, check out our website.