Salsa Sabor y Salud at the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas
The National Latino Children’s Institute focuses the nation’s attention on issues and challenges facing young Latinos. One of the issues millions of Latino¹ families and children face is living in households without reliable access to healthy foods. This means that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), these households are “food insecure”—they do not have “consistent access to enough food for active healthy lives for all household members. Household with young children are especially impacted by food insecurities.
Committed to the health of children and families, NLCI launched the Salsa, Sabor y Salud initiative with the primary goal to assist Hispanic families with children 12 and under to eat healthier, encourage physical activity and improve food preparation and consumption practices. The YWCA became a nationwide partner, drawing on NLCI to train facilitators that could work with families on healthy eating. In 2015, YWCA in Dallas began a yearlong agreement to train facilitators and work within the Dallas – Fort Worth communities to implement Salsa, Sabor y Salud. At the conclusion of the one-year agreement, these are some of the documented results.
Since our NLCI training in mid-September to December 31, 2015, we have delivered 5 Salsa Sabor y Salud classes to 32 families consisting of 111 participants in the program. As of April 1, 2016 we have nearly doubled our reach and have currently brought the program participants to 202. Below is a chart that shows a breakdown of participants by age. The majority of our adults served were between 22-44 years of age.
We have served the Dallas ISD, McKinney ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Lake Highlands Methodist Church, Garland ISD, White Rock, and Richardson ISD.
We have served the following locations:
- Burks Elementary – McKinney ISD
- Finch Elementary- McKinney ISD
- Ebby Halliday Elementary – Dallas ISD
- Juan Seguin Elementary- Grand Prairie ISD
- Mike Moseley Elementary – Grand Prairie ISD
- Lister Elementary – Garland ISD
- Henry Elementary – Richardson ISD
- Lake Highlands Methodist Church
- White Rock YMCA
- Grand Prairie YMCA
- Moorland YMCA
We are in the process of expanding into the Carrollton/Lewisville ISD’s, Oak Cliff Seventh Day Church, Bachman lake area, and East Plano ISD schools.
With our success, we have also received positive feedback about the program. A quote from Vice Principal Medina at Moseley elementary was that “The success of the program was evident with continuous parent participation. In addition, parents stated to have been extremely satisfied with the program and the YMCA staff. The program was well balanced with physical activity, nutrition information for students, parents and staff.” Below are pictures of the parents at Vice Principal Medina’s school and a gender breakdown of participants.
Principal Patranella at O. Henry elementary credits the Salsa Sabor y Salud program with raising awareness among Hispanics not only in health but the program has made the Hispanic community feel like they have a voice in the school. There is a group of 4 parents that will attend each time the program is offered at this school since 2014. A quote from Mrs. Gloria was “My children and I attend this program, because it reminds us that we are not eating as healthy as we should.”
Participants are still offered a free 3 month membership at the Y of their choice upon graduation. In addition to membership, YMCA instructors are currently providing tours of branches to these families if they have not utilized their membership yet in order to show them how the Y can improve the health of both adults and children.
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