Healthy Teens Los Angeles

Our project will invite youth to take on leadership roles to engage their peers in an experience of health, wellness, community, and action


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

MHS looks like a fitness center but is a health & wellness primary care medical, dental, and emotional care facility for South LA residents.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

South LA

What is your idea/project in more detail?

Healthy Teens LA is a transformative approach to healthcare where the emphasis is on being well. Youth (Grades 6-12) will be recruited from local schools and youth groups to create a Wellness Council. MHS social workers, staff, and other health professionals will mentor our teen leaders. Wellness Council members will create and coordinate age-specific activity nights open to all local youth. Social programs are combined with fun to bring active learning on health-related, youth-selected topics. Activities could include nutrition, sexual health, mental stability, balancing academic and home life, and other relevant topics.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

Step 1: Partner with local schools and youth groups

- Reach out to school administrators, councilors, and teachers, as well as youth group leaders from local churches and community centers.

- Utilize our existing network of leaders to establish support partnerships

- Establish a community of sponsors and collaborators

- Work with teachers and school administrators to give school credit for "Wellness Council" membership

Step 2: Invite youth to become part of Wellness Council

- Through references from our partners

- Visiting school sites

- Use of community outreach collaterals

- Social media

Step 3: Staff will assist youth to identify the needs of their peers and train them in project planning

- Weekly meetings of Wellness Council

- Establish a framework to guide council in implementing events

- Recruit guest leaders from local community

- Develop time management, communication, teamwork, and additional skills needed for project planning and success in life

Step 4: Youth will work with staff to plan and host free health/wellness/pro-social educational events

- Decide upon topics and plan relevant activities/speakers

- Create work groups to foster creative brainstorming and collaboration

- Delegation skills are learned and refined through the practice of giving each group specific roles in the event planning

Step 5: Staff will provide ongoing leadership training and mentorship to this growing youth community

- Provide a curriculum focused towards each individual's needs

- Staff serve as mentors and role models to the work groups

- Local and community contacts establish a support network

Step 6: Youth and staff will collaborate to evaluate and celebrate their accomplishments in learning to live, learn, create, and play in wellness-minded ways.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to LIVE today? In 2050?


Today, we know that activities that engage the body and mind have greater impact on what a person learns today but more importantly are retained throughout life. Our program empowers youth to embrace a life-long learning approach to health & wellness.Through education and discussion, this project will increase youth awareness that choices made today effect both present and later-life health and wellness.

Our focus will be based on MetroHealth Station's "whole-person" approach to health and wellness, which includes:


- Nutrition and how it affects cognition, physicality, and exercise

- Obesity prevention

- Physical health and wellness


- The importance of oral hygiene

- How nutrition affects teeth, tongue, and gums


- Diabetes prevention

- Sexual and reproductive health

- Nutrition, the immune system, and health

- Medical health and wellness


- Anger management

- Bullying/Violence

- Sexual respect and responsibility

- Self Esteem

- Healthy Body, Healthy Mind (connection between nutrition/physical health and mental health)

- Effective communication and listening

- Comfort with one's self and with others

We expect that our positive model of health and wellness will be associated with:

- Creation of a sense of community and camaraderie within local youth

- Reduction of gang participation by offering community and responsibility

- Reduction in crime

- Increase in school attendance

- Reduction of violence and bullying

- Reduction in teen pregnancy (increased awareness and practice of safe sexual practices, including abstinence as an option)


Over time, as students internalize the ideas and apply them to their own lives while helping others to adopt them as well, the effect will amplify. We see our project having long term goals of:

- Reduction in overall gang presence

- Reduction in drug use and overdose

- Increased school truancy/dropout prevention

- Instilling mindfulness of personal wellness, helping them to avoid joblessness, homelessness, addiction, and incarceration

- Students' passing of skills they have learned to the next generation

Successful implementation of this project will lead to its reproduction in other locations, spreading wellness and health across all of Los Angeles.

Whom will your project benefit?

Health & wellness affects everyone! Each life stage from infancy, through grade school and high school to young and older adulthood is associated with health benefits and health risks. The Healthy Teens LA program will focus on the health of youth 12-17 yrs but teens will learn health information that will affect them, their friends and family, and the community.

Specifically, we expect that our youth leaders will be health ambassadors for their own school. In addition, our youth leaders will be part of our community outreach activities used to recruit other youth from other schools.

All youth participants will be involved in mentoring programs where older youth supervise younger students in lower grades. Our past programs sponsored with LAUSD Foshay Learning Center has taught us that youth are the best health advocates....especially for other youth and their families.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

Confirmed partners include:


LAUSD Foshay Learning Center - We have cultivated relationships with the local schools in the Southern LA area, with the strongest connection being with LAUSD Foshay Learning Center. This school, home to 1st through 12th grades, has partnered with MetroHealth Station on many occasions, ranging from a 5k fun run, to a very successful health education activity night. Foshay Leaning Center is a confirmed collaborator that will contribute students, faculty insight, advertising and outreach support, and organizational support. They will also act as a key contact point when we are reaching out to other schools to join in the project. Other area schools have expressed interest and agreements are in discussion.


West Angeles CDC & the West Angeles Church of God in Christ - MHS is located on the northeast corner of W Jefferson Blvd and Crenshaw Blvd. The Church is not only our landlord but a supportive advocate for our work. West Angeles Plaza has been instrumental in our outreach efforts with the MetroHealth Station thus far, and will continue to collaborate with us on this project. The church of over 22,000 members, as well as multiple social outreach organizations and groups, has offered to publicize on our behalf, advertising in their church services, youth groups, and social outreach groups. The church is a hugely influential and well respected presence in South Los Angeles, and together we will be able to reach a very large and diverse population. Each day, more partners ask to join our efforts at building a healthier South LA.


MHS is a member of both the Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce and Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Both chambers support our efforts and recognize the value that healthy youth become healthy workers. Our relationship with Foshay Learning Center was fostered though the Pillar "Principal for a Day" program. We expect continued support in workforce and youth development from our Chamber partners who we will involved in this project.

How will your project impact the LA2050 LIVE metrics?

Healthcare access

Obesity rates

Walk/bike/transit score

Rates of mental illnesses

Prevalence of adverse childhood experience (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

MHS is an innovative approach to healthcare where physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers and other mental health professionals are eager to work with our neighborhoods in improving the health & wellness of our community.

Access to healthcare - we provide access to medical, dental, physical , and mental health care in a welcoming, positive, friendly environment located within walking distance of Metro's Expo line. We expect our participating youth to experience:

1. lower BMI scores (reduced obesity)

2. higher walking rates (improved walk/bike/transit score)

3. strong coping skills (reduced rates of behavioral/mental health problems)

4. higher quality of life scores (decreased adverse childhood experiences reflected in improved QOL score)

5. increase access to health care needed if health issues arise (coordinated care by MHS staff)

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Success will be:

1. Healthy Teens LA youth enrollment rates increase from Oct 2014 compared to end of school year in June 2015.

2. Self-assessment health scores improve in youth participants from initial enrollment compared to end of Healthy Teens LA program.

3. Community satisfaction scores of Healthy Teens LA sponsored events are good to high.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

LESSON 1: Youth will participate in mentoring activities related to health & wellness.

In December 2013, MetroHealth Station - Jefferson Park staff put on a health education activity night for the K-8th Foshay students where the Health Academy High School students 9-12th grades supervised the health stations. of the Foshay Learning Center. Different games and activities were planned for the two hour event, with each station having a tie-in to one of the four areas of primary care health: oral, medical, physical, and mental. This event was an overwhelming success, with around 200 students attending and staying for the entire 2 hours.

LESSON 2: Teens learn health behavior changes best from other youth.

Our engagement with Foshay for the health activity fair, Foshay 5K, science fair and other events at the school has reinforced that students who engaged with us in December are still working and available for our ongoing events today. The success we have experienced with Fabulous Foshay demonstrates to us the need for active health education in this area of Los Angeles.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

Our goal is achievable because MetroHealth Station is a new health facility that is open now for community activity. Our mission is to increase access to health services and to welcome our community to participate in community-related health activity. We are budgeted to support our social work team to develop youth engagement programs. The funds will allow us to kick-start this process.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

Potential challenge: What if you build it and nobody comes?! We are a new kid on the block. It will take time to earn the trust of those around us who have a distinguished and long history in the South LA community.

We creating as many connections and collaborative relationships through our community outreach and ongoing youth engagement activities. We have reached out and established firm contacts with major school, community, and local government entities. It is only when we link together that we are able to provide a true safety net.

Potential challenge: What if you build it and too many come?! A second potential problem we see occurring is a recruitment of too many participants to be housed in MHS - Jefferson Park. This is another reason we have reached out to existing community groups and entities. In the case that we run out of room, we have "back-up" facilities with larger capacities.