Building Healthy Communities Long Beach: February 2015
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March 8:
LBTE Spring Mixer and Potluck

March 21:
BHC Spring Gathering
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Roosevelt parents win school buses after two-year campaign
Roosevelt Parents“Being persistent has been important, and we’ve been empowered through the lessons we have learned from our involvement and our experiences,” says Maria Elena Cristobal as she reflects on the recent victory to get school buses for Roosevelt Elementary students. On January 13, parents like Maria Elena and others who have children attending the Central Long Beach school got the opportunity to walk their child to a bus stop for a safe trip to their school’s temporary location. For the first time in two years, parents and children will not walk through unsafe neighborhoods, cross dangerous streets like Pacific Coast Highway, or ride an overcrowded city bus.

In the fall of 2012, Roosevelt Elementary relocated to a temporary location behind the Pacific Coast Campus of Long Beach City College while their original campus across from Poly High School was to be completely rebuilt. Although the location of the school changed, neighborhood boundaries did not, posing a difficult challenge for low-income parents who worked full-time and did not have access to reliable transportation. In response to the school district’s lack of funds for transportation and with concerns for the health and safety of their children, a group of moms began to organize. 

After many attempts to raise money for buses through community fundraisers, Zumba-thons, and marches, moms continued to get push back from school officials. Continuing to cite the lack of funds for a school bus, school officials offered solutions like a “walking school bus” and subsidized Long Beach Transit passes. As parents participated in these programs, many expressed that the school district’s temporary solutions did not fully address their concerns.

While solutions looked grim and parents experienced discouragement from others who didn’t believe anything would change, a new alternative came in the form of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds meant to go toward assistance for high-needs students. LCFF funds gave the Roosevelt School Site Council the opportunity to distribute new funds to what the elected parents, teachers, and staff decided they need most. Although organizing and advocating at the School Site Council represented new challenges for these moms, the support they received from the community and from the relationships they built with teachers and staff began to pay off. 

Finally, in January 2015, the majority of School Site Council members voted to allocate LCFF funds for a daily school bus. “I’m happy that after years of fighting, we’ve finally accomplished our purpose of the children’s happiness,” commented Angelica Murillo, one of the moms involved in the campaign. “This is a huge win for the parents,” added Joanna Diaz, organizer with the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization (ICO). “In the end, it’s about perseverance and gaining that respect from the school district.” 

In the fall of 2015, construction at the original Roosevelt school will end and buses will no longer be necessary for the neighborhood families. What will continue is the sense of community and empowerment moms like Maria Elena have built within themselves. Now, parents have been elected to their School Site Council and are playing active leadership roles in shaping their child’s educational environment. “Most important was our enthusiasm to help support each other,” explained Maria Elena. “People are always intimidated to speak out but are encouraged with support.” 
30 local youth build friendship and strategize for Every Student Matters (Photos)
Restorative justice and school climate were just some of the topics discussed by youth from Cabrillo, Jordan, Poly, Renaissance, and Wilson at the 2015 Every Student Matters Youth Retreat. This year marked the fourth retreat designed by youth themselves with the support of youth-serving organizations like the California Conference for Equality and Justice, Californians for Justice, Centro CHA, Children’s Defense Fund, Educated Men with Meaningful Messages, Gay Straight Alliance Network, and Khmer Girls in Action. Over the course of a weekend, youth spent time getting to know each other, building their connection to one another, and setting the vision for what the Every Student Matters campaign will accomplish this year. Click here to see photos from the event.
March 21: Building Healthy Communities Spring Gathering 
BHC Spring Gathering: March 21On Saturday, March 21, westside residents, partner organizations, and community allies are invited to come together at the Century Villages at Cabrillo (CVC) to learn about Building Healthy Communities and explore what collaborations are taking place to make West Long Beach a healthy community for all. From 12:00pm to 3:00pm, attendees will have opportunities to participate in interactive activities and learn about how they can get involved with the community-based work to improve the health and safety of West and Central Long Beach. Free healthy food, music, activities, and giveaways will be available. For more information, visit or call 562-436-4800.
In need of support? Keep your eyes out for BHC mini-grants
Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach is excited to help support the grassroots community work happening in West and Central Long Beach with the return of our BHC mini-grants! BHC mini-grants are designed to support groups advancing work related to our initiative, provide opportunities for learning and development, and support community engagement in our focus area. Last year, BHC awarded eleven grantees a total of $9,000 (the average grant was just under $880 per organization). Mini-grant applications will be released by March 2, 2015 and must be submitted by March 30. Keep your eyes out for more information in the next few weeks.
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