Local Community Organizations in Riverside Partner to Honor Eastside HEAL Zone for the Work They’ve Done Throughout the Eastside Community!

(Riverside, CA) – March 15, 2019 – Riverside Community Health Foundation (RCHF) in partnership with the City of Riverside Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, Healthy Living Project Youth Club, Residents Active in Leadership (REAL) Group and Eastside Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Zone (EHZ) will host the Eastside Glow Up Celebration to honor the community-led transformation happening in the Eastside.

The event on Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 5pm – 9pm at Patterson Park (1846 Linden Street, Riverside, CA 92507) will include a multicultural lineup of live performances, dancing, painting, food for purchase and the “Reimagining Patterson Park” (Prop 68) workshop.

Lime-S and the Inland Empire Bike Alliance will sponsor guided tours with electric scooters to showcase the improved alleyways and various art features. In addition, the Riverside Art Museum will facilitate community art workshops and Riverside Coras, the semi-professional soccer league will demonstrate a mini soccer clinic at the park.

The EHZ is one of several Kaiser Permanente funded HEAL initiatives in California designed to help make healthy choices more accessible to people in underserved communities. The initiative is resident-driven, focused specifically on the Eastside neighborhood within the city of Riverside, and facilitated by RCHF. EHZ exists to create a culture of unity, health, hope and leadership among community members and stakeholders.

“This would not have been possible without the dedication from RCHF,” said Cecilia Arias, MPH, MCHES, Community Benefit Health Manager for Kaiser Permanente, “Kaiser Permanente supports partners and programs that teach, inspire, and encourage healthy communities for the people and by the people who live there… Through collaboration we can achieve improved community health.”

The EHZ initiative came to RCHF in December 2012 when they were asked to take on the facilitation of the HEAL Zone Community Action Plan (CAP) for Eastside Riverside. In 2018, EHZ had over 2,700 encounters, revamped utility poles in the Eastside neighborhood (between Dwight Ave. and Ottawa Ave.) and recently completed the mural, “Grandma’s Quilt” located on the wall of Eastside Health Center, Building A. In December 2018, the corner store market in Eastside, Olympic Market (3072 Cridge St., Riverside,CA 92507), received a makeover that reflects healthy eating practices on the exterior and now offers healthy options internally.

“It takes a collaborative effort among a wide range of partners to create an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice,” said Mario Lara, Deputy Director for the City of Riverside, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department.

The EHZ team works with other entities to empower adult and youth residents through leadership programs and assists residents in making lasting changes in their community through resident-driven community improvement projects (CIP’s). Youth and adult residents have led many CIP’s impact health and safety in their environment.

One of the most influential and resident-driven programs apart of EHZ is the Resident Leadership Academy (RLA). This is a 10-week comprehensive curriculum that empowers community residents to reduce inequalities and health disparities by encouraging healthy eating, physical activity and public safety in their communities. To date, RLA has successfully graduated over 40 residents to be leaders and address public health concerns within their community. As a result of RLA, residents created the REAL Group. This group is made up of RLA alumni and was formed as an extension of the positive work being done during RLA, throughout the community.

“The REAL group has given me and my teammates the opportunity to learn and build confidence,” said Griselda Martinez, spokesperson for the REAL group, “We feel secure enough to facilitate change in our community and we are proud of the improvements and achievements being made by the residents [and] for the residents.”

The grant initiative ends March 31, but the work in the community will continue through the efforts of RCHF staff and partnerships.

The “Glow Up” event aimed to unify, celebrate and empower the health, well-being and safety of the community for generations to come and will have a glow-in-the-dark theme and guests are encouraged to wear white shirts or glow-in-the-dark painted costumes. For more information about the event, please contact Noell Avila-Garcia at (951) 788-3471 or noell@rchf.org. The event on Saturday, March 30 will be held at Patterson Park (1846 Linden Street, Riverside, CA 92507) from 5pm – 9pm.

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