By Luis Alvarado and Sabrina Garcia
Photo: Building Healthy Communities South Kern youth
In late March, Building Healthy Communities South Kern (BHC-SK) held their first-ever Resident and Youth Summit at Arvin High School. Community leaders presented on issues including water quality, keeping local parks safe and clean, and bringing jobs and public transportation to the South Kern region.
BHC-SK is a community coalition comprised of over 1,200 residents, youth, business and organizations who are working for positive change in the communities of Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch, and the unincorporated areas of Southeast Bakersfield.
The coalition is seeking community input on a new action plan which will guide their work for the next five years.
“We want to see residents be part of the conversation and discussion about strategies, and lead the way in selecting the ones that we will pursue,” Jennifer Wood, BHC-SK’s Project Manager, said. “We had fantastic questions and input for how we can make our community healthier throughout the event.”
“There were a lot of folks who were surprised by some of the issues in our water system and how much progress has been made to give everyone clean water, and to bring jobs to the area through better transportation and planning policies,” Wood said.
South Kern Sol’s youth reporters talked to a few of the attendees of the Resident and Youth Summit.
“One thing I learned from the summit was the great work that is happening in South Kern and the many resources available to residents from reporting environmental problems to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals),” said Gustavo Aguirre, 27.
Marina Ugues, 53, spoke about the Live The Challenge 5K/10K Fun Run/Walk happening in Lamont Park on April 25 at 7:00 a.m. She is helping organize this event and wanted to encourage people to get motivated to live a healthier life.
“Here is a chance for people to complain about problems that are affecting their community,” said Fernando Pimentel, 24, a student at Cal State, Bakersfield who attended the event with his professor Dr. Stanley Clark.
Arvin City Council Member, Jasmine Robles, 25, believes that it is important for youth to become more involved with their community. Robles invited the community to attend the the Arvin City Council meetings, which are held every first and third Tuesday of every month at Arvin City Hall.
Attendees joined together for lunch.
BHC-SK Health Action Team members speak to the attendees.