Momentum teams’ wins add up to bigger impact in City Heights

The Teen Sexual Health Momentum Team is helping to improve understanding between students and health professionals who work with youth . Photo courtesy of Adam Ward

Over the past year, a host of grassroots campaigns were launched to improve the lives of City Heights residents. Through collaborative working groups, known as Momentum Teams,  the Mid-City Community Action Network (Mid-City CAN) brought together parents, youth, residents, schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, cultural groups, and other institutions, to address community concerns. Here are some examples of what the teams have achieved and will work on this year:

  • The School Attendance Momentum Team led a fight to make sure that all students at the Crawford High Educational Complex complied with the new “no shot, no school” state law that requires the whooping cough booster vaccine. The team educated parents and students about the requirement and pressured the county to move clinics with free vaccines closer to the school. As a result, Crawford achieved 100 percent compliance with the new vaccination law. Now the team is battling truancy and other issues.
  • The newly-formed Improving Transportation in City Heights Momentum Team enlisted the help of the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees to push the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to provide free bus passes for students and young people in City Heights. Residents spoke at the trustees meeting on Nov. 11 about the struggle to pay for transportation and education costs. As a result, the trustees wrote a letter of support. Now the team is working to pressure SANDAG directly.
  • The Youth Council and its allies packed the November meeting of the City Heights Recreation Council to give their input on the Central Avenue Mini Park. They advocated for a skatepark and more safe places for recreation in City Heights. Due to their suggestions, the park design team revised the plan to include more land for the skate area. The team is now working to make sure that the City Council continues to support the skatepark.
  • The Peace Promotion Momentum Team hosted a Mid-City Police Appreciation Day event on Oct. 11, serving food to officers and community members throughout the day. Children from Cherokee Point Elementary and other schools wrote letters thanking the officers. “We really had a great opportunity to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ to the officers of the Mid-City Division who put their lives on the line for us,” event leader Bridget Lambert said. “We are hoping this is the beginning of a close collaborative relationship to bring peace to City Heights.” Now, the team is working to ensure that the Mid-City station stays open and accessible to community members, and isn’t a victim of budget cuts.
  • In May, the Teen Sexual Health Momentum Team brought together nearly 500 people at the Crawford High Educational Complex for an event to educate students, as well as health professionals who work with youth. The event fostered a dialogue between youth and health professionals using arts and culture to ask the question: “What is the core of teen sexual health?”  The team recently added a second event, scheduled for 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m., Feb. 8, at Hoover High School. “We’re changing the way students and youth think about sexual health,” Teen Sexual Health Co-Chair Carolyn Pinces said. Pinces joined the Mid-City CAN Coordinating Council in December.

Tagline: Adam Ward is the Mid-City CAN staff writer and a former San Diego Union-Tribune editor. Adam has lived in San Diego for nearly a decade and is the father of a young son. Contact him at award@midcitycan.org or (619) 283-9624 ext. 210.