VIDA! Health and Wellness Compton
Gasol Foundation's VIDA! Health and Wellness empowers children and their families with tools and support to live a healthier lifestyle and improve their overall well-being . By tackling the complex issue of childhood obesity, we are not only building a world where all children enter adulthood physically and mentally equipped to thrive, we are also indirectly addressing some of the largest societal, economic and health issues of our time.
Describe the mission of your organization.
Gasol Foundation is on a mission to eradicate childhood obesity through research, holistic, data-driven programming and to illuminate the obesity crisis as the greatest opportunity to invest in the health of our future.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- South LA
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
The WHO identified childhood obesity as one of the most serious health challenges of the 21st Century. In the US,1 in 5 school-aged youth are obese. Obesity affects the immediate health, educational level and quality of life in children. It also causes neurological, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal complications, as well as psychosocial implications. LACDPH reports that 23% of children are obese. However, the city of Compton has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity (29%) and the highest rate of adult obesity (40%) in the county. Obesity disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities from low-income communities, especially African-Americans and Latinos. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated obesity promoting behaviors, such as less physical activity, unhealthier foods, longer screen times and irregular sleep patterns. That is why the Gasol Foundation focuses its energy on promoting healthy lifestyles within low-income communities involving children.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
VIDA! Health and Wellness is a community-based program with the main goal to reduce childhood obesity among the most vulnerable populations in Los Angeles. VIDA! is for children ages 6-12 and their families living in low-income communities. Following our motto, “Make it Healthy, Make it Fun”, we introduce the families to a metaphor of a Healthy Galaxy. Throughout the program the families explore the four planets of: healthy eating, sports and physical activity, sleep, and emotional well-being. Families that participate gain the knowledge and skills necessary to make healthy choices in their everyday life. The program consists of 2 sessions a month for 8 months throughout the school year at a date and time when the entire family can participate, such as evenings or weekends. Each session is two hours and includes an educational portion, as well as physical activities. In addition, there will be supplemental sessions offered by partnering organizations. All of the program content and materials is available in English and Spanish. The VIDA! program is highly valued by the Gasol Foundation and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the program was adapted to a virtual model. The virtual programming has been implemented via Zoom since September 2020 and will conclude in April 2021. The virtual adaptation of VIDA! has been a success at maintaining and engaging participants. The Gasol Foundation staff have experience and ability to implement this program virtually if needed.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
As the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, children and families overall health and well-being are more at-risk than ever, particularly in the most underserved areas where families have been disproportionately impacted. Gasol Foundation seeks to empower families to be leaders in health and wellness through VIDA! We arm families with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to practice healthy lifestyles and encourage communities to come together to live healthier. Through the key involvement of family and educators, our programs promote children’s knowledge, attitudes and habits for their full development.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
VIDA! Health and Wellness launched in 2014 through a collaboration with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit that works in partnership with LAUSD. The project has been implemented in Watts, South LA and Boyle Heights. Now we are seeking to expand the program to Compton. We carry out an assessment protocol to monitor the effects of the intervention and successes. We utilize pre and post assessments to assist in tracking outcomes. We collect BMI measurements for both children and adults. The four healthy habits promoted by the project are assessed through scientifically validated questionnaires. Results show adults increased physical activity levels and sleep hours and 49% improved their weight status. Nearly all children (92%) either maintained or improved their weight status and the overall percentage of children with obesity and abdominal obesity was lowered. Also, 54.5% of children improved their diet quality and 35% showed improvement in emotional well-being.
Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.
Gasol Foundation already has a presence in Compton and has worked with other trusted partners within the community including: Alma Backyard Farms, Yetunde Price Resource Center and the Compton Community Development Corporation. We envision a continued partnership with local community organizations that can supplement our workshops with expertise that is aligned with our messaging. For example, Alma Backyard Farms specializes in growing and distributing organic fresh produce and the YPRC specializes in trauma informed programming that promotes healing and resiliency. These types of collaborations enrich the participants’ experience, knowledge, and skills in holistic healthy living.
Which of the play metrics will you impact?
Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership
Keep PLAYing: High School Program Expansion
Harlem Lacrosse seeks to expand its high school programs and staff, and teach even more students in South LA, Compton, and Inglewood how to PLAY lacrosse. This year 12 seniors, who began Harlem Lacrosse’s transformational lacrosse program as middle schoolers, were accepted into four year colleges; of those dozen trailblazers, many will be first generation college students, and 7 will be college lacrosse players despite most never attending a school with a HS program. Imagine the impact Harlem Lacrosse could have with more staff and resources!
Fountain Community Gardens
Building Community in an Urban Green Space
Building Community in an Urban Greenspace is a program to encourage safe community engagement, sustainable healthy living, and increased access to a rare neighborhood amenity - an organic community garden, where people can gather around the benefits of a green oasis in a densely populated urban area. The FCG Steering Committee will plan, organize, and host innovative workshops and creative garden events to connect, teach, uplift, and enrich our beneficiaries while supporting the environment