building healthy communities


Photos by youth reporter Emily Ochoa

Community members and health experts united Thursday at the Boyle Heights Senior Citizen Center to discuss housing, safety and pollution in Boyle Heights.

The event was hosted by the health initiative Building Healthy Communities funded by The California Endowment, aiming to ignite conversation about ways to improve quality of life in Boyle Heights.

Participants were broken up into groups, and each table strategized on solutions to improve the health environment of the community.

“We want our voices to be heard and we want to be recognized,” Araceli Robledo, 30, said. “We need more youth centers to keep our kids off the streets.”

The overall goal of the program is to train Boyle Heights’ residents, both youth and adults, to distinguish public health issues in their community to help develop solutions and eventually change policy, said Ruthie Flores Retana, manager of Building Healthy Communities.

“We have work groups that meet on a monthly basis to strategize on the different solutions that the residents have talked about,” Retana said. “We’re trying to bring up these issues, bring awareness, change the narrative and bring in policy change by also working with council members and the department of health.”

The next meeting will be Dec. 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center, 1200 Plaza Del Sol, Los Angeles, CA 90033

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