Youth for Healthy Schools

Press Release: Healthy Communities Phase III Launch

Youth for Healthy Schools activates youth of color to ensure every child grows up healthy

For Immediate Release

For Further Information:

Mόnica Cόrdova, FCYO Healthy Communities Program Director                           505-385-6590

Nijmie Dzurinko, Healthy Communities III Coach                                                    215-667-0066


HC Fellows

The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) is excited to announce the launch of Healthy Communities III, Youth for Healthy Schools. Due to systemic inequities in their schools and communities, low-income young people of color are at a very high risk for obesity, chronic disease, high stress and other health-related issues that impede them from growing up healthy.  This initiative supports low-income young people and young people of color organizing to  address the root causes of these health challenges and to connect their local campaigns to statewide and national strategies. The third phase of Healthy Communities, will further advance the leadership of young people of color in advocating for the creation of healthy schools as a foundation for the improved physical, social and emotional health of students.

The foundation of the Healthy Communities III initiative is a fellowship program connected to eight host organizing groups across seven states. Each group hosts a Healthy Communities Fellow who leads their school and community wellness work and connects it to state and national strategies for change including community education and engagement, and policy development and implementation. Additionally, there are six partner organizations in five states who are leading campaigns to create healthy school environments . Through Healthy Communities III, all host and partner organizations receive peer support and technical assistance in the areas of policy, strategy, and communications.

Sandra Garcia, a fellow from Healthy Communities II, which just wrapped, secured 53 changes to the San Antonio school district food menu, including more fresh vegetables, whole grains, and vegetarian options. Sandra was working as the youth coordinator with Southwest Workers. “I have been able to grow an understanding that my background and my story are very important for connecting with youth and parents on a level where they understand the importance of healthy foods in the school and at home,” said Sandra. “The grant has given us the opportunity to deepen our relationship with food policy players.” The third phase of this initiative hopes to continue making impacts at the policy level to improve wellness in communities of color.

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Healthy Communities Host and Partner Sites

Host Organizations and Fellows:

  1. Community Food Advocates, New York, NY; Fellow: Kristina Erskine
  2. FEEST Seattle, Seattle, WA; Fellow: Thuy-Mai Nguyen
  3. InnerCity Struggle, Los Angeles, CA; Fellow: Estefany Ines Garcia
  4. Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, Denver, CO; Fellow: Cinthia Suasti
  5. RYSE Center, Richmond, CA; Fellow: Brian Villa
  6. SouthWest Organizing Project, Albuquerque, NM; Fellow: Amanda Gallegos
  7. Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), Raleigh, NC; Fellow: Erica Marshall
  8. Youth United for Change, Philadelphia, PA; Fellow: Nick Ospa

Partner Organizations:

  1. Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Chicago, Illinois
  2. Grow Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut
  3. F.R.E.S.H New London, New London Connecticut
  4. The SouthWest Worker’s Union, San Antonio, Texas
  5. The Baltimore Algebra Project, Baltimore, Maryland
  6. Providence Student Union, Providence, Rhode Island

About FCYO

Founded in 2000, the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) is a dynamic collective of social justice funders and youth organizing practitioners dedicated to advancing youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social change. FCYO’s mission is to increase resources to the field of youth organizing and promote the leadership of low-income young people and young people of color in social justice organizing.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at



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