American Heart Association
The vision of Community STEPS (Strategic dialogue That’s Empowered by Public Safety) is to bring law enforcement and the community together to create a safe space for dialogue and exercise. We walk together in the Jackie Tatum Harvard Park neighborhood to connect, discuss issues and work toward solutions while getting exercise. The program includes healthy activities for all ages as well as wellness events to include health information booths and blood pressure screenings.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
The mission of the American Heart Association is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- South LA
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- Community Safety Partnership of the 77th Division of the Los Angeles Police Department
- The LA Department of Recreation and Parks (Jackie Tatum Harvard Park)
- The LA Department of Recreation and Parks (South Park)
- The Economic Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council
- The District Music Group
- The offices of the 8th Council District (Marqueece Harris-Dawson)
- The offices of the 9th Council District (Curren Price)
If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.
Community Safety Partnership of the 77th Division of the Los Angeles Police Department – Officers will lead biweekly walks and participate in all community-facing activities. The LA Department of Recreation and Parks – To support & host the biweekly walks and other activities. The Economic Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council - Support, host, promote the various walks & community activities. *The District Music Group – Technical support, advises on all digital and social media outreach and strategies. *The offices of the 8th Council District (Marqueece Harris-Dawson) – Councilmember’s leadership has been instrumental in connecting the community. *The offices of the 9th Council District (Curren Price) – Replicate our working relationship with CD 8 with CD 9
What is the need you’re responding to?
The diverse neighborhoods of Harvard Park and South Park are disproportionately at risk for cardiovascular diseases through increased incidence of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Research supports that actions to reduce violence and the fear of violence can play a key role in helping individuals gain access to healthy foods and increase physical activity. If people believe their neighborhoods are unsafe, children are less likely to play outside, and adults are warier about taking part in physical activities. Residents who perceive their neighborhoods as dangerous have significantly higher body mass index’s than those who consider their communities safe. Studies found that higher levels of crime reduce walking or physical activity, especially among women and young children. Conversely, those who live in areas with more trust tend to have higher levels of activity. Making parks a safer and more welcoming place will help increase healthy life expectancy, a 2030 goal of AHA.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
Ensuring equitable health for all has been a long-standing guiding value for the AHA. Our mission can’t be achieved through benefiting only some segments of society, and to equitably improve health requires addressing non-clinical determinants of health, such as environments. We also have a history of building coalitions to improve the health of communities. We sit at the intersection of health, science and business. We have been able to assist LAPD and LA Parks and Recreation in forming a creative solution that addresses neighborhoods’ needs. In addition to healthy cooking and nutrition education, we have been able to bring a host of resources such as the Los Angeles Department of Public Services to enroll families in SNAP benefits, offer a mobile library, health insurance options and more. As a rising global authority in health and wellbeing, we will continue to use our brand and numerous volunteers to speak up for those with no voice and fight for health equity.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Since the Community Safety Partnership began, Harvard Park has seen a significant increase in park usage and a drop in incidents of violence and homicide. “Our mission here was to come in and do something that’s never been done before to this level and really give the park back to the community and make them feel safe and comfortable enough to enjoy the park, walk your dog,” said CSP officer Les Bodiford. “I’m not Officer Bodiford here. I’m Les, Officer Les.”
We anticipate 5,000 people will participate in our activities between the two parks. This will benefit both council districts, population 500,000, by increasing health, safety, and a sense of unity in the communities.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Our goal is to foster ongoing dialogue with additional community stakeholders to inspire and support neighborhood innovation and ownership. There is a strong desire in Harvard Park, as well as in adjacent neighborhoods, to bring the community together. The Community Safety Partnership launched there just over three years ago and continues to see improvements in safety where residents can live out their full potential.
By continuing our partnership with the Community Safety Partnership in Harvard Park, we will define success by:
- Ensuring community members feel safer to walk in their community. A goal of the 77th Division of the LAPD is to reduce crime by 15%.
- Increasing the amount of time per day and week that participants are physically active. We’ll distribute fitness trackers and leverage existing AHA programs that allow for tracking mobility.
- A reduction in blood pressure and other health metrics.
- Allowing law enforcement officers to better to get to know and understand the communities in which they serve. Another goal of the 77th Division is to strengthen the community-police partnership and build morale through leadership.
These measures will be comprehensive of both Harvard Park which is entering its third program year, and the expansion into South Park.
Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?
- Access to open space and park facilities
- Parks with intergenerational play opportunities
- Perceived neighborhood safety
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the healthiest place to LIVE
Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?
- Access to the LA2050 community
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