Tag: community

Green Smoothies and Lots of Learning at Summer Classes for Kids

Gali eyed a green beverage with suspicion on a recent Friday afternoon. She’d never heard of putting spinach in a smoothie before, but she took a chance, tried a sip, and was delighted to discover a new favorite drink.

Gali and her friends had concocted the smoothie at a summer class for youth held at Global to Local. Young members of the local Somali community who joined the four-class series learned about nutrition, enjoyed physical activities, and developed their leadership skills.

Nutrition class participants, including Hassan, concentrated hard to get their smoothie recipe just right!

Global to Local offered the summer program in partnership with Food $ense to help local youth develop healthy habits. Educating young people about their health not only sets them up to make good choices for themselves, but also to positively influence their families.

Community Health Worker (CHW) Abdi Hussein coordinated the class, one of many programs that Global to Local CHWs offer to help build a healthier community here in the SeaTac/Tukwila area. CHW activities range from organizing exercise and nutrition classes, to addressing barriers that prevent residents from visiting their primary care doctors.

Community Health Worker Abdi Hussein (left) laughed along with students as they played a game to learn about the effects of caffeine.

Our CHW work is inspired by the many global health programs that train trusted community members as health workers who operate outside of clinics to provide education, referrals, and social support for health behaviors. It’s just one of four initiatives that G2L has developed to improve community health.

Continued engagement

After school starts back up, Abdi will continue to keep in touch with the students and their families, who are his neighbors. Two of the students’ parents are joining a nutrition class that Abdi’s organizing in September. And he is working to connect the families with their primary care doctors. Through G2L’s partnership with HealthPoint, Abdi and other CHWs help families make medical appointments, communicate with clinicians, and follow through with prescriptions and doctor recommendations.

Global to Local is also engaging young people through our Green Cities partnership with Forterra. We’re inviting youth to give input about where trees should be added in their community, and then get hands-on planting trees! Contact Niesha Brooks, G2L’s leadership and engagement manager, if you have any questions or want to get involved.

By the way, we suspect there are more green smoothies in Gali’s future. A few days after that summer class, she called Abdi to tell him she’d made a batch for her whole family.

An outdoor activity not only helped students burn some energy, but also taught them about teamwork as they raced the clock to make a star shape with a rope.

Connectors Program Builds Community Power

In a place as diverse as Tukwila, where over 80 languages are spoken, it’s not easy for the city to engage all of its residents—particularly communities who face language and cultural barriers. In 2013, the city began working with G2L and Forterra to create the Community Connectors Program to help boost civic engagement.

Through this partnership, we recruit Community Connectors from groups that the city has a difficult time reaching through traditional outreach. Tukwila Connectors include members of the African-American, Latino, Somali and Burmese communities who have deep connections in their communities, and who are committed to facilitating outreach and communications.

Connectors join “City 101” trainings where they learn about things like how the city is structured, what different departments do, how the budget is developed, and what city council does.

“Knowledge is power — especially for people who are new to the country. They need to know the processes,” said Leadership and Engagement Manager Niesha Brooks, who runs the Connectors program.

Next, G2L and the city work together with the Connectors to identify priority projects that the Connectors can support, reaching out to their communities to seek input on things like the comprehensive plan, housing, safety, and economic development. Connectors also provide guidance to city staff on how to design and undertake comprehensive and effective outreach. These efforts ensure that the priorities of previously underrepresented groups are heard and incorporated into city work.

Community leadership advances community health

The Community Connectors program is key to G2L’s efforts to advance health equity in our region. We started our work in 2010 by asking community members to describe what a healthy community looks like to them. Many talked about feeling connected to their community, being able to access and navigate systems, and having a voice.

“This program is letting the Connectors and community members know that their voices are valid,” said Niesha.

As the Connectors program builds community voice, it also invests in the capacity of individual leaders.

“We want for the Connectors to gain experience and skills,” Niesha said. “They can take what they learn here, and join task forces and boards, and take on other leadership positions.”

Learn more

  • After pioneering Community Connectors in Tukwila, we partnered on a similar program with the City of Burien. Cityvision Magazine recently highlighted Burien’s Connectors program in an article on the city’s efforts to better serve its residents. You can read “A Right to Be Heard” online; the article starts on page 16.
  • Read Community Connectors program descriptions on the Tukwila and Burien city websites.
  • Keep visiting our website, where we’ll feature stories of Community Connectors. To receive updates about all things Global to Local, subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tukwila’s River Run Brings Diverse Communities Together for Healthy Fun

race participants at finish line

Dozens of participants in Global to Local community health programs gathered under a bright blue sky last weekend for the annual River Run 5K. Fitness enthusiasts, ranging in age from young children to grandparents, converged on the beautiful course, which followed the Duwamish River south of Tukwila Community Center.

race participants next to river

G2L fitness program participants have been running and walking in the race since 2014; it’s become a beloved tradition.

group of race participants

“Participating in this race has been really successful for us over the years, as it complements our physical activity programs,” said Community Health Worker (CHW) Monica Davalos, who has joined the event four times. “I like that the 5K is a motivation – it’s a challenge that most of our participants had never tried before. And when the race is over, they feel like they’ve really met their goals.”

race participants

The crowd reflected the diversity of South King County, with Somali and Latino communities particularly well represented thanks to recruitment by CHWs.

“By participating in the walk/run each year, we’re integrating our communities into public activities and making them visible. The CHW team brings awareness and makes the process of participating in these activities easier for our communities, thus removing barriers,” said CHW Program Manager Aisha Dahir.

participants run to finish line

“It was great to bring diverse communities together,” added CHW Diana Melgoza. “Being able to all have the same goal — same start, same finish — and encouraging and motivating each other was really fun. It was my first time doing a race, and I want to do it again!”

Check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page. And while you’re there, “Like” our page to keep up with all things Global to Local!

Community Health Workers

G2L currently employs five CHWs, including Monica and Diana, who support Tukwila and SeaTac residents in improving their health and fitness. Their activities range from organizing exercise and nutrition classes, to addressing barriers that prevent residents from visiting their primary care doctors.

Our CHW program is inspired by the many global health programs that train trusted community members as health workers who operate outside of clinics to provide education, referrals, and social support for health behaviors.

The initiative is one of four programs for improving community health that G2L has developed with the goal of helping communities around the country adapt the programs to serve their needs.

Tukwila Parks and Recreation, a key partner

Big thanks to our friends at Tukwila Parks and Recreation, who organize the race each year and have long been fantastic partners in supporting the health and fitness of our community. Watch our video to learn about another of our collaborations, a fitness program at Tukwila Community Center that creates a culturally appropriate space for Somali women to improve their health.

Friends, Fun, and Food at Our Community Open House

Guests of all ages at the open house

Community members, partners, and supporters packed Global to Local’s office this spring for our first community open house. More than 150 guests of all ages joined us for fun activities, delicious food, and a chance to learn about our work.

One popular activity invited guests to fill out signs sharing what leadership means to them. Our staff then spoke with participants about the importance of community leadership in deciding how systems serve them.

G2L staff member Niesha Brooks and a guest share their thoughts about leadership.

In another corner of the office, guests spun a wheel filled with topics like “diabetes” and “public health vs. health care.” Lucky winners walked away with more knowledge about staying healthy and prizes for answering questions related to the topic they spun.

G2L staff lead a health activity.

Throughout the evening, guests learned more about the range of work G2L does, from organizing fitness classes to training residents to lead civic engagement efforts, and from operating the Connection Desk to supporting the Congolese Integration Network. Guests who were familiar with only some of our programs were excited to learn about other aspects of our work.

Floribert Mubalama from Congolese Integration Network talks with a guest.

Naija Buka and Soozveen Mediterranean Catering provided delicious food for the evening. Both businesses are operated by food entrepreneurs who participate in the Incubator Program at Food Innovation Network, which was launched by Global to Local to create pathways for health, wealth, and success through food system revitalization in South King County.

food

Grown-ups had a great time, but the kids seem to have had even more fun! We’re always delighted when families engage with our work, and we loved getting to know the next generation of leaders.

Big thanks to everyone who made our open house a success! Special thanks to volunteer photographers Ken Tran and Cordell Pierce; you can see more of their photos on our event Facebook album.

Upcoming events

We’d love to see you again soon at these upcoming events:

The Power of the Connection Desk

I recently spent some time getting to know all of our programs from a community level. In December, I volunteered at the Connection Desk and got to see the power of what makes it work. Communities aren’t simply connected to social and health services. Rather, they are given a helping hand to improve their daily lives. In doing so, you empower people and give them the ability to believe in themselves and others.

Imagine yourself in need of help paying rent or to enroll in health insurance. Maybe this isn’t too far off from reality. But if you haven’t been in these shoes, think of having no option except to ask a stranger for help. At the Connection Desk, you enter the door and are immediately greeted by warm faces. Those faces are intentionally there to make you feel welcomed and supported. First, you’ll enter brief information about yourself and the type of services or resources you need. Then a program coordinator will patiently walk you through the necessary steps for registration for the Affordable Health Care, utility assistance, housing, resume building and much more.

I had the opportunity to work with a newcomer that was in need of a resume and finding job opportunities. As we began to build his resume, he started to talk. By listening, we had the chance to learn about each other and hear each other’s stories. In the end, it was more than just resources. We began to have an honest human connection, valuing and validating the social experience.

 

By Niesha Brooks
Leadership & Engagement Manager

In light of DACA lets revisit the Federal Real ID Act of 2005.

As you consider renewing or getting your WA State ID, please consider the following about the Federal Real ID Act that was passed in 2005. You could help prevent placing a target on people in our community.

 What is it?

The Real ID Act of 2005 is a federal law intended to help prevent terrorism and identity theft. It was placed after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. For 12 years the Real ID Act did not go fully into effect in some U.S. states. Now the final day for anyone to use their regular ID in Washington state as identification for domestic flights is January 22, 2018. Washington became the latest state to seek federal ID compliance and last one left standing in this battle to stop the Real ID Act from going into effect. Real ID is supposed to tie a person’s residency to their identification card.

 What does this mean?

Real ID can be more harmful than we think. Withall thesepolitical barriers being thrown at people who immigrated to this country in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, this can actually be a weapon used to target them. The Real ID Act will individually targetwhois an immigrant and who is not.  After January 22, 2018, they can no longer fly domestically. This is unfair, and we are also seeing injustice being done to our DACA students. The “Dreamers” who came to this country at a young age at their parent’s will, and who know nothing more than this country which is their home.

What can we do?

WA state will give their residents two options when going to get the WA state ID. You can either get the enhanced ID that falls under the Real ID Act allowing someone to know you’re a citizen or resident of the United States, or you can get the regular WA state ID, and also get a passport card separately.  A passport card is a great identification card to have in your wallet. Here is why:

  • Real ID compliant.
  • Costs $30 for adults if you already have a passport book and $55 for first-time adult applicants.
  • Same validity as the passport book: If you’re over 16, your passport card is valid for 10 years. If you’re under 16, your passport card is valid for 5 years.
  • Can be used for entering the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Even though the Real ID Act will soon go into effect in WA state, there is something we can all do to protect and help everyone in this state. Go get a passport card or book additionally when it is time to get or renew your current state ID. If you need to travel domestically or internationally, having a passport card will be convenient.

More information:
DACA Resources:

If you or anyone you know is a DACA recipient and is in need of financial help for the renewal application, please visit:

•     DACA Renewal Fund

•    https://unitedwedream.org/groups/#wa

•    https://unitedwedream.org/

WA Medicaid Needs Input!

New Washington Medicaid projects need input!

Why is this important?

Medicaid (not to be confused with Medicare) is our health care program for families and individuals with limited income or resources. Our most vulnerable communities access health services through Medicaid.

Projects like these have the potential to set our standards of care higher. We can ensure a holistic approach to health that includes equity and social issues outside of just health care (i.e. housing, transportation, etc). However, these projects will only be successful with community buy-in and participation. Please give feedback by September 8th, 2017. 

 

Confused by the language? Here’s the low-down.

What is the ACH?

ACHs are where public and private entities come together to work on shared health goals. Washington State has nine, some are divided by county and others include several counties. Here’s a fact sheet for more info and a map of our state’s ACHs. King County ACH is a formal LLC enterprise with an Executive Director.

What are the ACHs in WA tasked with?

A Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project. WHEW. That’s a mouthful. This basically means that the federal government has agreed to give WA state money in order to test new ways of providing health care and insurance to Medicaid (Apple Health) clients.

The ACHs are each selecting 4-8 projects that they will be testing over the next 5 years. These projects focus on a variety of issues and have been pre-determined at this point. Once the projects are chosen by each ACH they will be monitored and evaluated based on defined metrics for success. Projects that achieve improvements in metrics outlined in the toolkit will be eligible to earn incentive funds.

Who are the people designing this?

In King County, “Design Teams” of medical providers, social service providers, local government, health plans and community members developed the draft project plans.

What are they asking for feedback on?

The King County ACH wants public comments on the 8 possible projects. I’ve listed all of the projects below. The survey is designed to elicit feedback one project at a time and it asks detailed questions about whether these projects will address community needs and how achievable the outcomes seem. Detailed information on each project can be found in the 86-page Project Toolkit.

  • Bi-directional Integration of Physical and Behavioral Health through Care Transformation
  • Community-Based Care Coordination
  • Transitional Care
  • Diversion Interventions
  • Addressing the Opioid Use Epidemic
  • Reproductive and Maternal/Child Health
  • Access to Oral Health Services
  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

 

Still Confused?

Well, you aren’t alone. Feel free to contact us if you want to give feedback but need help navigating the form. (disclaimer: we can’t provide opinions but can help define and explain lingo, terms, or context)

Join our CHW Team! 2 Positions Open

G2L is hiring two full-time Community Health Workers

Join our CHW team! We are seeking two (1 Somali-Speaking and 1 Spanish Speaking) culturally-competent CHWs to provide health-related services to Latino and Somali residents of section 8 housing in SeaTac an Tukwila. Applicants who have a deep understanding of the community’s needs, are comfortable fostering partnerships, and have a passion for improving the local community are encouraged to apply!

Visit the Opportunities page for more detail. Applications due: July 5th, 2017

The First Step in Expanding the Leadership Program

Global to Local - News

We are all very excited at G2L to announce that our Leadership Engagement Manager position has been filled! Please join us in welcoming Jojo Gaon to the G2L family. Jojo comes with much experience in leadership and art, including starting Youth Speaks, a youth arts and leadership development organization.

This position was created in response to several community conversations we hosted over 2016 that indicated the desire for more pathways toward leadership for underserved communities. The Leadership Pipeline program will be a collaborative process of bringing together key stakeholders to assess needs and develop solutions. Where our existing Connectors Program works toward training and employing community members to provide equitable community engagement, the Leadership Pipeline will be focused on equitable access to both civic and professional leadership opportunities.

From building the job description to the interviewing process, we have been all hands on deck – staff and community partners combined. Thanks to the whole team for your support on this process. We can’t wait to see Jojo in action!