Muevete (Move) USA Encourages Healthy Lifestyles in the Mission

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Talk about making an impact in the community in one day!  

More than 130 children and parents of Cesar Chávez Elementary School in the Mission District of San Francisco participated in Muevete (Move) USA on Oct. 13.

The event, which was organized by a group of Latino nursing students from UCSF and San Francisco State University, included five health workshops, a health fair, a pumpkin patch, games, art tables, a DJ, Zumba dancing, a healthy lunch and snack and a raffle with prizes that contribute to children’s health.

Muevete (Move) USA, guided by nurses and led by youth, seeks to educate Latino children and their families about the importance of healthy diets, physical activity, food labels and empowering children to make healthy choices.

Saturday’s program was made possible by a grant from the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), collaborating with Cesar Chávez Elementary School.

The program focuses on training youth to be health educators, because they relate to the children more easily than adults. The young people learn how to be healthy through their own teaching, gain valuable experience and are introduced to health care professions.

Recruited through local high schools and community organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club, Huckleberry Youth Programs, Mission High School and John O’Connell High School, the health educators were trained and guided by “nurse leaders,” nursing students from UCSF and SFSU.

“I learned how to explain to people how to eat healthy, and it was a great experience for me to share with so many people,” said Shayra Gaytan, a student from Mission High School. John O’Connell High School student Jerry Cetina said that he has learned a lot about nutrition labels that he did not know before and that he enjoyed teaching families.

Student organizations at UCSF played a key role in making this event a success. The Chicanos/Latinos in Health Education (CHE) at UCSF provided tables and volunteers. The Latino Medical Student Association provided blood pressure and BMI screenings, the Hispanic Dental Association provided free toothbrushes, mouthwash and floss, and the Latino Association of Pharmacy Students provided woman/manpower.  The UCSF Flu Crew administered over 30 influenza vaccines.  The health fair also included other community organizations that helped make the event fun and educational.

Most importantly, UCSF students inspired children, youth and their families to choose healthy alternatives and showed that living healthy can be fun. The students at UCSF are committed to working with and within the community, to breaking boundaries and creating change.