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It’s time to play ball

It’s time to play ball!

Three new Dodger Dream Fields are officially opened for ball games at Lennox and Athens Parks. The new baseball fields, with more than $225,000 worth of improvements are pristine, beautiful, and ready for teams to enjoy. Improvements included new irrigation systems, a re-grading of the entire fields, new turf and infield dirt, new solar-powered scoreboards and new field signage.

To date, over a dozen fields have been built or renovated under the Dodgers Dream Foundation, created in 1998 to provide educational, athletic and recreation opportunities for youth in the greater Los Angeles area, with a special emphasis in helping underserved youth.

At the opening day festivities, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas reminded the hundreds of Dodger players, alumni and fans in attendance how important this investment would be for the Lennox and Athens communities. “These dream fields create inspiring platforms for youth to learn about teamwork and develop a healthy lifestyle, values we know will last a life time.”

The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation partnered with the Dodger Dream Foundation and the LA84 Foundation on the Lennox and Athens parks as well the Mona Park Dream Field in Willowbrook, dedicated in November 2011.

Free STD testing kits now available at Second District kiosks

  • Last year in the County of Los Angeles, 33,000 women were infected with Chlamydia or gonorrhea, and nearly one-fourth of all these sexually transmitted diseases were in South Los Angeles.
  • The consequences of untreated infections can be grave, resulting in chronic pain, infertility, life-threatening tubal pregnancies, and harm to infants born to mothers who are infected.
  • Our community must mobilize to safeguard our young people. Leaders from government, faith groups, medical and advocacy communities, as well as mothers and fathers, must empower young people to take control of their health and make wiser choices for this treatable problem.
  • Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has launched a $2.5 million-initiative that unites a comprehensive, community-oriented approach with cutting-edge technology to give youth the guidance and tools to make better choices regarding their physical, mental and sexual health.
  • The initiative incorporates six components:
    1. Community Engagement:
      • The County will work with community-based organizations, medical providers, and religious ministries to engage youth to take control of their sexual health.
    2. Expanded Screening:
      • “I Know”: Screening is widely accessible through the County’s “I Know” home-testing program, in which trained community outreach workers use hand-held tablets to help women obtain STD testing kits.
      • “www.Dontthinkknow.org”: This website provides access to free STD home test kits, test results and access to free clinics for treatment.
      • Kiosks: Two kiosks, such as the one featured in this video, are now available at pharmacies located in Florence and Watts, empowering young women to input their own information and immediately obtain a home test kit from the pharmacy.
    3. Social Marketing:
      • The expanded “I Know” program is promoted by a media campaign incorporating imagery and messages of empowerment and building confidence for young women.
    4. Case Management:
      • Specially trained public health field staff, working in collaboration with community health providers, is ensuring proper treatment of infected individuals and their sex partners to stop the chain of infection.
    5. School Level Programs:
      • The County is collaborating with the Compton Unified and Los Angeles Unified School Districts to deliver enhanced health education, a medical provider referral guide for youth, and school-based social marketing.
    6. Public Relations:
      • The County is using a wide variety of multimedia channels to raise awareness about these issues and working with local communities to develop and implement long-term prevention strategies.

For more information about the “I Know” program, click here.

To download an “I Know” brochure, click here.

Celebrating Cinco De Mayo in Willowbrook

Salsa music, great food and performances from a mariachi band and folklorico dancers kicked off a fun-filled Cinco de Mayo celebration at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Public Health in Willowbrook Thursday, May 3. More than 350 people attended the event, which along with food and music, also had resources tables with information about fitness and nutritional eating. Attendees ate traditional Mexican food fair such as frijoles and chicken fajitas, and sampled watermelon salsa and guacamole with jicama sticks. By the time they finished their meals, it was clear that the crowd was ready to celebrate — and celebrate they did.

Some attendees got moving with Cooking with Gabby Dance Troupe, five performers who promote healthy eating habits and exercise through choreographed skits, while others watched food demonstrations by Fox television Masterchef finalist, Alejandra Schrader or broke a sweat doing a little Zumba.

“We are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, we are celebrating healthy choices, and we are declaring war on unhealthy eating habits,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Mother of three, Griseida Giles, agreed with the Supervisor. “I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of my kids,” Giles said, as her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son sat mesmerized by a man with a sombrero twirling a lasso. Griseida had just visited the Latino Champions for Change Campaign resource table and received a free cookbook filled with Latino recipes. Lidia Garcia, an outreach worker for Champions for Change, said her organization is giving away cookbooks in English and Spanish to promote eating healthy fruits and vegetables and to show people that food can be tasty without unhealthy ingredients. “These cookbooks put a healthy twist on traditional Latino meals,” said Garcia.

She went onto say, “We’ve had an increase in obesity and preventative chronic diseases throughout the country. The goal today is to reach as many community members as possible and spread the word about healthy eating habits.”

That same message rang true for Ashley Hiestrand, who manned a table promoting the Watts Healthy Farmers’ Market, held at the Ted Watkins Park every Saturday.

“We are trying to create a health Watts community,” Hiestrand said.

She attended the celebration, she said, to let people know that if they bring their food stamps, Women Infants, and Children (WIC) Program coupons, or senior citizen vouchers to the Watts famers’ market, the market would double the vouchers up to $10 a day.

Throughout the day there were testimonials from attendees such as East Rancho Dominguez resident Pamela Bryant — Bryant spoke of how changing her diet has improved her health. “I was ill, so I changed my eating habits,” Bryant said. “I no longer eat fried food and now bake my food, eat lots of fresh fruits, and drink lots of water.”

The free silent film workshop at William S. Hart Park and Museum returns

Back by popular demand, the free silent film workshop for young people at the William S. Hart Park and Museum in Newhall, California is back for an encore. For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles County’s Civic Art Program will extend an invitation to prospective applicant’s 10 to 17 years of age, to take part in five free silent film workshops.

The workshops begin Saturday, July 7 and continue each Saturday thereafter, until August 4. In the workshops, young participants will learn how to create a short digital film, edit their project using state-of-the-art equipment and work with teachers from the CalArts Community Arts Partnership. They also will receive acting and theater instruction from teachers from the Canyon Theater Guild, and take a private tour of the William S. Hart Museum. For more information about this free summer workshop at William S. Hart Park visit:

Click here for more information on the William S. Hart park Museum.

What’s new around the MLK Campus?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Campus Construction Update

Work continues apace at the MLK Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center (MACC) construction site, where workers have installed the pile foundation, underground utilities and the building’s footings. At the Inpatient Tower, workers have completed installation of the new chillers and cooling towers and now are installing the plumbing, electrical wiring and walls. Erection of structural steel for the new ancillary building also is underway.

New New Women’s Clinic Across the Street

A new woman’s health center opened on April 24 across the street from the new Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center campus. Planned Parenthood’s new Stoller-Filer health center, which has four counseling rooms and four exam rooms, will provide a range of women’s health services, including; testing, treatment and vaccines for sexually transmitted infections; pregnancy testing and services; emergency contraception including the morning-after pill; men’s healthcare services; HIV testing; birth control; and abortion referral. No abortions will be performed at the center. The health center accepts Medi-Cal and Family PACT (planning, access, care, treatment) therefore no one seeking medical services ever will be turned away.

The Stoller-Filer health center uses the widely successful Promotoras Comunitarias program to address the lack of access to reproductive health care information in the Latino community. This group has reached over 150,000 residents in Los Angeles County since its launch in 1990. After 214 hours of training, Planned Parenthood Promotoras go to schools, homes and community centers to provide information sessions that cover reproductive health, family violence, and alcohol and drug abuse. The group also stages a play based on a true story entitled “La Decisión” in order to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

The health center is located at 11722 South Wilmington Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90059. Operating hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM. The health center will be fully operational five days a week in the coming months. To schedule an appointment, call (800) 576-5544.