On January 31 Christine Tien, The California Endowment Program Manager, welcomed 50 key community leaders to the Salvation Army community room in Oak Park to capture the stories and lessons learned from the first year if implementation and reinforce the “Health Happens Here” campaign the the BHC communities. For many, this was the first occasion many grantees to actually meet each other and learn the depth and diversity of their projects now in place in South Sacramento. Tien explained how BHC is organized.

“Building Health Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion plan of The California Endowment. In connection with staff-led statewide policy initiatives, 14 communities – including South Sacramento –  are taking action to make where they live healthier.”

Also facilitating the meeting was Kim Williams, the Hub Director for the South Sacramento BHC, and Alberto Mercado, Hub Coordinator and media specialist. Williams explained to the group how already, over 20 organizations have received funding from the Hub to deal with issues such as food access, heath access, land use, youth development, and other community benefits. Every month the Hub steering committee meets to provide governance, guidance and small grants to community groups. With Williams and Mercado’s leadership, the Hub has become the “central table” where organizations, residents, and those concerned in the BHC can come and find out what is going on and how they can get involved.

Another one of the speakers, Isaac Gonzalez, introduced himself and explained his role as a mentor for those interested in “telling your story” using the AccessLocal.tv web site.  He is one of several grantees helping to improve the health and well being of South residents by reducing gang violence, eating healthy foods, finding health insurance for low-income families and more. He clarified, “You are all doing wonderful and significant actions but unless we tell the media about our successes, the ‘news’ will continue to reflect only negative stories. I’m here to help you turn this around.” To learn how Gonzalez can help your group spread its message via digital content production, contact him at isaac@sacbhc.org.

Meeting attendees also received new information and tools to help them measure their successes in the field. A new tracking system, which allows for an amount of flexibility between the different grantee organizations, was presented by the LPC consulting firm. It’s hoped that the program will aid in the collection of four deliverables; services provided, planning products, community action, and community changes. For questions about LPC’s services to the BHC grantees, contact tiffany@lpc-associates.com.