What are Healthy Corner Stores?
... a multi-level intervention that includes procurement of quality and affordable healthier options (snacks, fruits, vegetables, beverages, grains), nutrition education, on-site cooking demonstrations and sampling, marketing, and various cost-saving promotions.
CAN DO has led development and implementation of the Healthy Corner Store Network which is the first of its kind in Houston/Harris County! This community-driven initiative was first piloted in the Sunnyside community (Spring 2013) based on input from residents. After conducting a feasibility study (Spring 2012), CAN DO partnered with a local produce vendor to provide healthy options in a Sunnyside corner store through delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce was delivered weekly and SNAP was accepted. In 2014, partnerships with Harris County Public Health (HCPH), Healthy Living Matters, Go Healthy Houston, and the Houston Health Department led to an expanded pilot among 6 corner stores across the Sunnyside (Houston) and North Pasadena (Harris County) communities. Through partnerships with residents, local business owners, and a wide variety of organizations, CAN DO continues to advance this innovative approach to creating access to healthier food options through existing community assets. Since July 2014, the Healthy Corner Network has expanded to 10 corner stores across 3 communities (Sunnyside, North Pasadena, and Acres Homes).
What is Leadership and Advocacy?
CAN DO’s Community Leadership and Advocacy Training is an intense, 8-week curriculum modeled after national best practices. The training is dedicated to the advancement of leaders who can advocate for the changes needed in their community with an overall goal of building community capacity and empowering residents to address local changes that will facilitate health and quality of life.
Participants learn how to engage in the advocacy process, identify and prioritize issues, collect and leverage valuable data, involve key decision makers and stakeholders in the process, and organize their community around important issues in order to seek change. The ultimate focus of CAN DO’s Community Leadership and Advocacy Training is to train individuals to advocate on behalf of their own community. The knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable changes are placed in the hands of those who can make real change happen - the community members!
However, the skills acquired during this training are applicable across the spectrum of issues communities may face that pose barriers to experiencing and accessing opportunities promoting positive health outcomes. These skills facilitate the development of a strong foundation to create change and enhance the sustainability of current and future initiatives pursued by community members. Throughout the training, participants engage in a series of interactive modules and activities that demystify the necessary steps towards addressing community issues. Participants identify a priority project via group consensus and utilize the information they learn and the resources provided to develop a plan of action that is ready for implementation by the conclusion of the program.
Current Status/What's Happening
To date, this training has been implemented 10 times across 8 communities and with over 100 resident leaders! It has also been implemented in both English and Spanish! An increase in community engagement and perceived civic responsibility has developed among advocates that have completed this training.
Drafted Metric Statements
A total (#) of advocates have successfully graduated from CAN DO's Leadership and Advocacy in September 2022, which increased community engagement among (#) different communities in Harris County.
Let’s Move launched in the Magnolia Park community in 2012 in response to the expressed need for access to safe opportunities for physical activity. After surveying and engaging in discussions with community members, it was evident that residents needed more outlets and relevant options to participate in physical activity. Free Zumba, yoga, and group fitness classes were implemented 3-4 times per week at three different sites within the community (the Magnolia Park Multiservice Center, Mason Park, and an elementary school) plus fitness testing at the beginning, middle, and conclusion of the program. Through July of 2013, almost 200 residents participated in the classes at least once with each session averaging 13-15 participants and a maximum of 20 participants. A unique aspect of this program is the inclusion of participants across the age continuum (ranging from 5-62 years). Computer-based nutrition education was later incorporated into this program for children, as well as brief nutrition discussions and sampling of healthier recipes after each physical activity session with all participants.
Current/Future Directions/ What’s Next
In October 2015, Let’s Move expanded into the Independence Heights community twice a week for a pilot period through partnership with the City of Houston Parks & Recreation Department and community members.
Per the request of participants, CAN DO reinstated the program in November 2013 through partnership and incorporated nutrition education plus sampling of nutritious foods. In addition, CAN DO funded training and certifications for participants to facilitate and take full ownership over the program. Since then, Let’s Move in Magnolia Park has grown tremendously with over 600 unique participants, sessions occurring multiple days a week and sometimes reaching up to 50 participants (especially during summer months), and is completely community led! Participants have demonstrated reductions in BMI scores along with numerous testimonials about improvements to health and quality of life (e.g., smoking cessation, elimination of medication, increased mobility, improved family dynamics, social support, etc.).
Obsolete: In 2013, 193 residents attended at least 1 exercise class between the months of January and July, with an average number of 13 residents and up to 25 total participants
Obsolete: Residents reported a decrease in total inches around their waist, and lost on average __ pounds between January and July. of 2013.
The average class size between year 1 and 4, there was as average of 19 residents who participated in Let's Move Magnolia Park, with a total of 499 residents.
What is C.A.R.E?
To assess individual level factors associated with COVID-19, provide wraparound resources and health education and facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccinations across underserved communities of Houston/Harris County.
Future Directions/ What’s Next
As this work expands to other existing CAN DO priority communities, CHWs will facilitate focus groups and surveys to identify health inequity through community and personal barriers to COVID-19 interventions (e.g., testing, vaccination, clinical trials) while continuing to provide comprehensive wrap-around resources. In addition, as we partner with local apartment complexes, churches, and other locations to serve as vaccine distribution sites, the CHW team will assist residents with registering for and accessing COVID-19 vaccines.
The CARE Initiative launched in July of 2020 in response to the inequitable burden experienced by under-resourced and communities of color due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston/Harris County. Through partnership with GROW Unity RFL, the Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health, apartment complex managers, and community leaders, our team of community health workers (CHWs) led efforts to engage with predominantly Hispanic/Latinx communities in Southwest Houston and parts of Precinct 2 in Harris County through the FARO Initiative. Efforts focused on connecting residents to wrap-around resources (e.g., rental assistance, food assistance, employment resources, legal services, COVID-19 testing) as part of a comprehensive approach to addressing the unequal burden of the pandemic. In addition, CHWs facilitated COVID-19 testing through collaboration with the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health plus provided health navigation and health education.
Example Metric/Impact Statements
CAN DO Houston's Community Outreach (C.O.) Team has interacted with over 300 residents across Houston/ Harris County.
Through the COVID-CARE project, our C.O. Team has connected residents of Houston/ Harris County to over 450 needed wraparound resources (e.g., food assistance, rental assistance, health screenings, etc.)
During the duration of the COVID-CARE project, our C.O. Team has provided up to date COVID-19 information to over 250 residents resulting in an uptake in vaccinations across our priority communities.
Over 450 TX CEAL Surveys have been completed with residents in our priority communities
Since February 2023, CDH participated over 10 community events located in our priority communities where we informed residents of CDH and the COVID-CARE project and invited them to be a part of this project.
Throughout the duration of the COVID-CARE Project (Aug- July) we have interacted with over 300 new residents.