Community health: By the people, for the people

In 2012, we launched the GO! Austin/VAMOS! Austin (GAVA) initiative, and today we are sharing some of the key outcomes we’ve seen in the two communities where the work is ongoing.

This is hard, complicated work.  Any time you ask people to change behavior – to forgo their natural way of doing things – you will inevitably be faced with obstacles.  Equal access to health for children and families guides us, and resident leaders committed to building that access drive us.  And while we were not without our challenges along the way, we are now seeing some of the fruits of the labor.

In our end of year report, we highlight three of the sectors in which we work: physical activity, food access and schools.  We hear from resident leaders, as well as organization leaders, who have worked hand in hand in moving programs and initiatives forward.  Soccer leagues were formed, farm stands were born and schools became hubs of community activity.  As a result, kids are exercising more, families have better access to fresh fruits and vegetables and principals are on board with using the school grounds as a means to better health.  Improved health has become an important issue for these two communities, and therefore, lives have been changed.

As you read this, you will come to understand the deep commitment of the people who live and work in the community.  It’s an all hands on deck approach where the very people who live it every day are the ones who are pushing hardest for the changes. I’m honored to share the GAVA end of year report.