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Newsletter Highlights - February 2018

WEHL Program Graduation

Public Housing Residents Graduate with Health Knowledge and Power to Advocate

Residents from Twin Rivers Public Housing graduated from the “With Every Heartbeat is Life (WEHL)” program on Friday, February 23rd at Samuel Merritt University. The WEHL program is an educational and workforce training provided by Urban Strategies, Inc. onsite at Twin Rivers Public Housing Community. Residents who took advantage of this opportunity became well informed about health and ways to live a healthier lifestyle. This opportunity also enabled residents to support each other in ending unhealthy habits and forming healthier ones. The 6th WEHL Cohort program was led by Peer Health Coordinator Frances Cervantes, herself a WEHL program graduate, from the 4th WEHL Cohort.

The WEHL program teaches residents about healthy living through common health practices and interventions. These practices and interventions were smoking cessation, physical activity, diabetes education and management, mindfulness as well as being health advocates for their families and community. At the end of the 10-week program, graduates earned a certificate of participation that supports job opportunities in the health/medical field such as medical assistants, community health educators and potentially an interest in pursuing higher education for upper level industry related careers. This outcome also supports one of the Sacramento Promise Zones health goals to increase access to health career pathways for Promise Zone residents.

At the end of the WEHL graduation ceremony, graduates of the program mentioned that they were grateful for this opportunity and are excited to now lead healthier lifestyles which includes a daily/or weekly walking group with their peers within the Twin Rivers community. To learn more about the WEHL program and its positive impact on public housing residents, please visit the link here.

WEHL program graduates & partner organization staff: (front, left-right) Ayesha Strong, Litiane Lam Yuen, Stephanie Holcomb, Shirley “Nani” Salsedo. (Back, left-right) Urban Strategies, Inc. Associate Project Manager Edward Lewis, Dorothy Pleasant, Carolyn Williams, Urban Strategies, Inc. Regional VP Isaac Dozier, Reginald Foster, Frances Cervantes, Urban Strategies, Inc. Educational Specialist Brenna Lammerding and SHRA Executive Director LaShelle Dozier.

Samuel Merritt University's Community Nurse Corps (CNC) nurse scholars who provided support to the success of this cohort of the WEHL program.


Nurses Learn Through Service

Student Nurses Integrate Community Health Interventions and Increase Access to Resources

February 2018 - On January 6, the Community Nurse Corps (CNC) celebrated its one year anniversary. The CNC is a unique community collaboration pairing registered nurses who are working and attending school at Samuel Merritt University Sacramento Campus to complete their bachelors of science in nursing degree with community agencies within the Sacramento Promise Zone. The program introduces acute care nurses who are employed registered nurses working at Sacramento region Kaiser hospitals to the challenges of community and public health delivery to underserved populations as part of their Community/public health coursework. Delivered in a hybrid format, nurses attend class one night a week in addition to completing online learning modules to complete the theory portion of their community/public health course work.

In order to meet the qualifications for obtaining a Public Health Nursing Certificate in the State of California, the Board of Registered Nursing requires a nurse to complete 90 hours of community health clinical internship. CNC members are placed with Promise Zone Health Partners who oversee the internships. Because the nurses are all working nurses, internship hours are accrued when the nurses work schedules will allow – and the nurses typically spend a minimum of 4 hours per week at a partner agency over a two semester timeframe. However the hours can be flexed based on agency need. While assigned to the agency, the nurses, known as “Nurse Scholars” to acknowledge their professional standing as working nurses who are attending school, conduct a needs assessment of a defined population, design an educational program and a screening event based on the needs assessment, conduct the educational/screening program, and follow-up as needed e.g. making referrals for individuals with potential or actual health problems. RNs make recommendations for new or ongoing health services based on a review of evidence-based practices. The Nurse Scholars do screenings/educational sessions on any health related component e.g. diet/nutrition, mental health including stress management, physical fitness, emotional well-being, substance abuse, access to healthcare services, and other topics, as well as organize and conduct health fairs and community education events.

Through the Sacramento Promise Zone, the CNC receives support in connecting to potential community partners and fostering collaborations to enhance health and wellness of the Promise Zone’s residents across the lifespan. The Promise Zone staff has also been instrumental in helping to inform elected officials about health disparities and innovative interventions designed to mitigate the disparities in the under-served communities comprising the Promise Zone boundaries. Dr. Alice Vestergaard, Community and Public Health Instructor serves as the Samuel Merritt University liaison to the Promise Zone and oversees the community placements for all the Nurse Scholars. In that capacity, she works closely with the SHRA and Promise Zone staff, including the AmeriCorps Vistas assigned to the respective focus areas of the Promise Zone, as well as all agency partnership personnel and site coordinators who oversee the work of the Nurse Scholars during their internships.

The CNC partners to date include the following: La Familia Counseling, Inc., Urban Strategies Inc., The Health Education Council, Well Space Health, and Martin Luther King Technology Academy. Without the Promise Zone, the collaborations would have never happened and the Promise Zone has been the bridge to put all the stakeholders together. As a result, the collaborating agencies have been the beneficiaries of having experienced registered nursing working directly on site with the collaborative agency and the constituents served by the respective agency partners -performing planning, health education and screening functions. Nurse Scholars have also performed strategic planning and created program planning documents for their respective host agencies based on research of evidenced-based health-promoting practices/policies of other programs serving specialized populations. Diabetes education and cardiovascular health have been focus areas of the CNC and there have been workshops, walking groups, health fairs, and other community events planned, organized, and staffed by the Nurse Scholars.

A lot has been accomplished in the inaugural year of the Promise Zone Community Nurse Corps. The CNC is always evolving to meet the needs of the collaborative partners. Considering the fact that agency partners do not pay any fees to have the CNC nurses assigned to their agency, it is a win-win-win for all concerned. But ultimately, it is the enhanced services and access to information that residents of the Promise Zone receive as a result of the joint efforts between health agency partners, the CNC, and the Promise Zone, that makes this model such a success and will impact the health status of the Promise Zone communities. Hopefully, the Promise Zone CNC will serve as the model for other Promise Zones - and other under- served communities throughout the US will benefit from the model started in Sacramento’s Promise Zone.


Breaking Barriers to Safe Walks

Safe Routes to School Increases Livability and Connectivity at Four South Sacramento Schools

February 2018 - WALKSacramento is a community based organization that works to advance health, sustainability, and livability throughout the Sacramento region through advocacy and planning for communities that support greener, healthier forms of transportation such as walking, biking, and public transit.

WALKSacramento’s work is centered around community-based planning, where residents are given a greater voice in identifying and advocating for the transportation solutions in their communities.

Over the last year, WALKSacramento has been facilitating Safe Routes to School programs at four schools in South Sacramento - Peter Burnett Elementary, Ethel I. Baker Elementary, Fern Bacon Middle School*, and Pacific Elementary*. Safe Routes to School programs aim to combat the rising trend in childhood obesity through engineering and design efforts that make it safer for students to walk and bike to school as well as encouragement and education programs that promote traffic safety. Research has shown that students who walk or bike to school get more daily physical activity, have lower rates of obesity, miss fewer days of school, and see greater early academic performance.

WALKSacramento is working to promote safe walking and biking by addressing school-specific safety barriers through community walk audits, providing hands on pedestrian and bicycle education, and holding large encouragement events such as Walk to School Day. Last October, over 2500 students and parents walked or biked to school on Walk to School Day across 4 schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District. These policy, systems, environment (PSE) change efforts have the long term benefit of retrofitting communities to be more supportive of active transportation, while working to instill a culture of regular physical activity at a young age.

Through 2020, WALKSacramento’s Safe Routes to School programming will expand to include several more schools. Our goal is to drive public investment toward safe, walkable infrastructure through data collection and collective community action. To learn more visit:

*Fern Bacon Middle School and Pacific Elementary are located south of the Promise Zone Boundary, but have students who live within the Promise Zone. For more information on WALKSacramento, please visit


Accessible Art for All

Over 600 Promise Zone Residents Engaged in Community Art Initiative - Block by Block 2.0

February 2018 - The Institute of Museum and Library Services, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the national Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Crocker Art Museum funding to help launch and support “Block by Block 2.0”, the Crocker’s initiative to increase arts engagement, access, and education in Sacramento’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.

While Block by Block had a positive impact with under-resourced populations during its onset period from 2014 to 2016, an urgent need has since been identified by the community for art engagement programs that nurture and inspire youth.

Building on the strengths of the first phases of Block by Block, the Crocker Art Museum is committed to transcending its role as a community resource to that of a change agent. In October, the Crocker launched Block by Block 2.0. Working with previous as well as new community partners, artists, and businesses, the program will strategically identify and strengthen spaces where art, community, and sustainability intersect, focusing specifically on activities that nurture young people living in Sacramento’s Promise Zone.

As the Crocker mobilizes its community partners for Block by Block 2.0, work has already begun to strategize the formation of a Block by Block youth “street team” and identify sites for the first community art installations in Sacramento’s Promise Zone.

As part of Block by Block 2.0, an Art Impact Collective was formed, which will involve an active and highly dynamic partnership comprised of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the Roberts Family Development Center, Sol Collective, Sojourner Truth African American Museum, 916Ink and Promise Zone community representatives. The Art Impact Collective will help to put Block by Block 2.0 into action and initiate key activities including:

  •  Art education experiences at community events

  •  Pop-up events featuring live performances and access to the Art Ark, the Museum’s mobile arts education center

  •  Development of a digital community arts magazine

  •  Paid apprenticeships for youth living within the Promise Zone who will form a Block by Block Street Team

  •  Improve the quality of life in the Promise Zone communities by increasing civic pride, cultural awareness, and access to meaningful art experiences

In addition to offering art experiences and creating pop-ups, we participate in existing community events, like the March for Dream that occurred on January 16, 2018. The estimated crowd marching to the Convention Center was about 30,000 people, coming from both North and South Sacramento communities. Block by Block has participated in the march since 2015, either marching or offering art activities and giveaways at the Convention Center, but this year our impact was even greater than in years past. While some staff marched from Sacramento City College to Downtown Sacramento, others were at the Convention Center allowing us to reach and interact with even more people. For example, our first year participating, we served over 300 people through our booth. This year, however, we served over 600 people and was able to share Block by Block’s focus in the Promise Zone. Our interaction with people during the march was also heightened by the use of a 10 ft banner with our logo and fellow staff inviting people to march with us.

During our outreach over the 2018 holiday season, we participated in some cultural events for the celebration of Kwanzaa. Though we have participated in these events in previous years, each time we reach people unfamiliar with the Crocker, or with Block by Block. This allows us to share information about the museum and upcoming events in the Promise Zone. For more information on the Crocker Art Museum, please visit


Mural Festival Brings Art and Economic Value to the Promise Zone!

The Sacramento Promise Zone and other parts of the City of Sacramento have become a huge outdoor art gallery with 40 larger than life murals created by more than 50 artists during the Wide Open Walls event from August 11-20, 2017. Sacramento Promise Zone Director Tyrone Roderick Williams talked with WOW Creator David Sobon about the artistic expression and economic opportunities the murals will inspire. For more information on Wide Open Walls, please visit

Sustainably Built Community

Sacramento Promise Zone Director Tyrone Roderick Williams talks with Wide Open Walls creator David Sobon about the artistic expression and economic opportunities the murals will inspire.


Youth & Family Collective

Promise Zone Partners Collaborate to Better Serve Youth and Families

The Youth & Family Collective (YFC) is a collection of charitable nonprofits in the Greater Sacramento region, joined by private-sector partners and government agencies. YFC integrates the complementary tasks of serving youth and families burdened by trauma by serving as a regional platform that streamlines administrative functions and fund development to deliver greater value per donated dollar. In addition to providing greater efficiency, YFC also delivers holistic support to the whole person.

Learn how YFC is transforming social impact in the Sacramento at:


Jobs for a Sunny Future

Solar Workforce Initiative Creates New Pathways to Green Jobs for Youth and Adults

February 2018 - GRID Alternatives North Valley’s Promise Zone Solar Workforce Initiative provides exposure to solar career pathways and solar installation training to area youth and adults resulting in employment in the Clean Economy.

Initiative Impacts (to date):

  • 415 kW of installed solar capacity, serving 116 low-income Promise Zone homeowners

  • 22 adult residents of the PZ completed our intensive training program since Summer 2017

  • 40% of trainees have been placed in permanent positions with local solar companies

  • 34 youth living in the PZ receive exposure to solar technology & clean economy career pathways as a part of our Solar Futures service-learning field trips and week-long paid summer internships

The Promise Zone Solar Workforce Initiative advances goals under the Sacramento Redevelopment and Training Agency’s Jobs Plus Partnership and increased training opportunities for Greater Sacramento Urban league. Other partnerships include local High Schools – Sacramento Charter High, The Met Sacramento and Grant High. Collaboration with the partners have resulted in recruiting dedicated job trainees and students. The partnerships direct our services to adult and student Promise Zone residents who could benefit from jobs the most.

The Promise Zone team has helped GRID’s Workforce Program by strengthening collaboration between training partners and funders. The Promise Zone Solar Workforce Initiative is made possible thanks to a collaborative investment by Citi, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, this investment was coordinated by the Promise Zone team. This investment supported a transformation of GRID’s solar installation basics training that our region can now offer to those looking for a career in the Clean Economy.

After the Promise Zone Solar Workforce Initiative ends in Summer 2018, GRID will be able to offer the established Installation Basics Training program to all Sacramento residents in need of training for careers in solar and related industries. Employment can have significant impact on an individual, in affect resulting in the well-being of a household. As employment opportunities and healthy households grow, so too will the prosperity of our region’s neighborhoods. For more information on GRID Alternatives, please visit


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