Champions for Change

Champions for Change

August 8, 2018
Sonia Torres


Youth Policy Institute leads health and wellness initiative to support Champions for Change

(LOS ANGELES)— Youth Policy Institute (YPI) successfully provided nearly 5,000 families and community members with health and wellness resources in L.A.’s Promise Zone neighborhoods as part of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative.

“Youth Policy Institute’s partnership with Champions for Change has positively impacted the wellbeing of thousands of people in the communities we serve,” said Shawn Bolton, Director of Health & Wellness at Youth Policy Institute. “Thanks to the comprehensive amount of resources and education we have been able to offer through this initiative, thousands more students and their families are better equipped to make informed decisions about their health and nutrition.”

Over the past year, YPI has hosted 35 community outreach events, resource fairs and fitness expos, each drawing several hundred attendees who participated in cooking and yoga classes, transportation safety workshops, fitness trainings, and mental health workshops. Additionally, dozens of community partners set up booths to provide more services, including St. Judas Medical Center and Los Angeles Walks, which provided blood pressure checks and pedestrian safety services, respectively, to participants.

Alongside these efforts, more than 8,100 elementary and middle school students joined in physical activity classes and fitness challenges hosted by YPI across 10 schools in the Los Angeles area.

Champions for Change, funded by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture, aims to improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in underserved communities. Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills, such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to stay fit.

According to the L.A. County: A Cities and Communities Health Report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top 10 leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. While the obesity epidemic continues to impact virtually all population groups, about 27 percent of children and 20 percent of adults in the Metro L.A. area are obese. Childhood obesity rates in communities such as Boyle Heights, Central City, Downtown L.A., Echo Park, El Sereno, Hollywood, Mid-City Wilshire, Monterey Hills, Mount Washington, Silverlake, West Hollywood, and Westlake are far higher than the average rate of 13.3 percent across Los Angeles County.

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For over 30 years, Youth Policy Institute (YPI) has been breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. YPI reaches more than 115,000 youth and adults annually at 137 program sites in Los Angeles. YPI is the only agency in the country to have been awarded all three signature White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives: Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation; and is the lead implementation partner for the Los Angeles Promise Zone. Together, these initiatives form a place-based approach to fighting poverty, reducing crime, improving educational opportunities, and creating access to jobs. For more information, visit

This material was produced by the California Department of Public Health’s Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch with funding from USDA SNAP-Ed, known in California as CalFresh. These institutions are equal opportunity providers and employers. CalFresh provides assistance to low-income households and can help buy nutritious food for better health. For CalFresh information, call 1.877.847.3663. For important nutrition information, visit

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