The Accelerated Schools > Healthy Eating Active Communities

Healthy Eating Active Communities

The Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) initiative was a 4-year (2005-2009) project made possible through the financial support of The California Endowment (TCE) in an effort to decrease childhood obesity and diabetes in low-income communities throughout the state. The goal of the project was to increase access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities. The Accelerated School (TAS), The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH) comprised the South L.A. site, with TAS being the lead/community agency.

Students at Wallis Annenberg High School created a DVD video  provided below, titled “Where Do I Get My 5?” (© 2008 Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC) Initiative and Public Matters, LLC) which includes five distinct short films about the challenges of access to healthy foods in South Los Angeles. Our students wrote, filmed and acted in these short movies, which are more than simple documentaries showcasing public health conditions of South L.A.; they were part of an integrated project that led to direct community benefits. The goal of making “Where Do I Get My 5?” was to build community relationships and stimulate change by connecting local youth with elected representatives, allowing youth to work directly on community actions, and joining together a rich consortium of professionals, community advocates and decision-makers towards a common cause.

This project led to the makeover of a local corner store near The Accelerated Schools and an on-going partnership with the local District 9 City Council office. Students became highly visible youth leaders for HEAC by presenting their work at L.A. City Hall, the L.A. Planning Commission, and local universities. The integration of youth and media and civic engagement achieved the project’s broader aims: increasing South L.A.’s healthy food options, leadership development, and community building.


YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE ON THAT by Magali Bravo (8:32)
Every day on her way to school, passing store after store, HEAC student Magali Bravo sees few healthy food choices.  She took the initiative and convinced her padrino, the owner of a local store, to feature healthier food options, and worked with the HEAC team to carry out the makeover.  With a little elbow grease and a lot of determination, a neighborhood can grow their healthy food options, one corner store at a time.

PERSUADE ME by Cameron McCaa and Shonette Reed (7:46)
In the toxic food environment of South L.A.’s countless fast food restaurants, a young man grapples with his fast food addiction in light of his recent diagnosis of Type II diabetes.  A verbal tug-of-war escalates between an earnest healthy food advocate and a slick mouthpiece for fast food companies.

MEET ME AT 3RD & FAIRFAX by Lae Schmidt (7:00)
The true-to-life tale of an epic journey (two hours by bus) of the extraordinary efforts of one HEAC student, Lae Schmidt, to locate the quality and variety of fruits and vegetables she desires.  Not content with local conditions as they are, Lae sits down with her local Councilwoman to discuss what can be done to improve healthy food access in their community.

TAMALE TALES by Adriana Moreno (5:54)
Food reflects cultural norms, traditions, and values.  However, many traditional foods also feature unhealthy ingredients.  Here the tamale faces its greatest challenge: combining mouthwatering taste and the desires of HEAC student Adriana Moreno and her family to eat healthy.

CAN I HAVE YOUR FRUIT? by Janell Smith (7:45)
Finding fresh fruits and vegetables in South L.A. is challenging enough.  Finding quality fruits and vegetables is harder still.  Mixing first-person commentary, a mock investigation news show, and a rousing call for action, this video is a gut-busting expose on the complexities of healthy food access in South L.A.


We are in debt to all of the following individuals, businesses, organizations, and civic bodies who have given graciously of their time, experience and wisdom:

HEAC Staff: Aurora Flores, Lupe Gonzalez, Maya Hagege
TAS HEAC Youth Coordinators: Sarah Glasband, Sharlene Gozalians, Jessica Gudiel and Baltazar Rodriguez
Public Matters Team: Mike Blockstein, Reanne Estrada, David Lawrence
HEAC Youth Ambassadors: Magali Bravo, Cameron McCaa, Adriana Moreno, Liliana Pineda, Shonette Reed, Lae Schmidt, Janell Smith

Berkeley Media Studies Group: Lori Dorfman and Katie Woodruff
California Center for Civic Participation and Youth Development: Becca Louisell
California Food Policy Advocates: Matt Sharp
Center for Food and Justice, Occidental College: Andrea Azuma
HEAC Corner Store Consultant: Nathan Cheng
Coalition for Community Health: Lupe Gonzalez, Patricia Rizo, Georgina Serrano
PolicyLink: Mary M. Lee
The Accelerated Schools: Kevin Sved and Johnathan Williams

Greg Fischer, Deputy, Office of Councilwoman Jan Perry, Council District 9
Linda Kite, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Dan Lawrence, Screenwriter
Mary M. Lee, PolicyLink
The Honorable Jan Perry, Los Angeles City Councilwoman

Ignacio Coronado, Coronado Meat Market and Bakery
Mara Galus
Rosa Giron, Esperan Salud
Pamela Huntoon, Education Deputy, Council District 9
Miriam Leffert
Dr. Paul Simon, Martina Travis and Jean Tremaine from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department
Kelly McPherson
Kamali Minter, Lucent Rain Productions