South Kern Sol, News Report, Yesenia Aguilar
Dozens turned out Jan. 28 for the kick off of Building Healthy Communities South Kern sixth annual Live the Challenge event, which aims to encourage residents of South Kern to embrace healthier lifestyles one pledge at a time.
Residents joined with community activists and organizers over dinner to learn about some of the more pressing issues impacting the health of the community.
Valerie Gorospe from the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment, spoke about the need to tackle pesticide use around our schools. Kern County has some of the worst air pollution in the country, much of it attributed to the rampant use of pesticides by the local agricultural industry.
Research has shown the link between use of such chemicals with ailments such as asthma and reduced lung capacity, as well as increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, and increased school and work absenteeism.
Gorospe’s organization is taking the lead on mobilizing residents to push for greater regulatory oversight of pesticide use around schools, as well as expanding access to information about the harmful effects of pesticide use and more sustainable alternatives.
The Community Water Center, which works to ensure that rural, low-income communities have access to clean, safe and affordable water, presented on some of the grassroots organizing they are doing.
After the presentations, members from the Greenfield Walking Group led attendees during a Zumba lesson before moving on to the official kick-off of Live the Challenge. Participants were instructed to fill out a blue Live the Challenge pledge form and encouraged to make a promise.
Live the Challenge began as a way to promote healthier lifestyle choices. Participants commit to making a change for 100 days that will lead to improved health.
South Kern Sol asked participants, “What healthy change will you be committing to for 100 days?”
“[I am pledging] to drink less soda to live a healthier life, walk more, and make sure that I drink a lot of water.” — Jasmine Santoyo, 16
“My promise is to eat healthier and be active.” — Jose Pinto, 20
“I am promising to eat less greasy foods and sweet breads, lose weight, eat healthier and exercise. I will also encourage my family to do it but it’s especially for me.” — Angelica Fonseca, 36
“I am promising to drink more water — because I don’t like it — and lose weight.” — Alicia Moreno, 40
“[I am promising to] eat less sugar for both my family and myself. Every year I say I’m going to be more active and lose weight, but I still eat sugar. So I am thinking that if I eat less sugar it might help me lose weight.” — Griselda Chalk, 46
“I am promising to lose weight by running. I might take my family but I prefer going alone.” — Bartolo Chavez, 55
“My challenge is to walk 5 days a week for 30 minutes and to drink more water. I am planning to take my husband.” — Estela Escoto, 53
“To live the challenge I’m going to try to run everyday for like 30 minutes and then try to increase that time by 10 minutes.” — Kimberly Alvarez, 17
“I promised to walk a lot and exercise.” — Hermila Villa Mendoza, 66
It’s not too late to Live the Challenge. To pledge or for more information please visit, www.healthysouthkern.org.