“CAM taught me that us–the youth–have a voice and we can actually make a difference in our communities. I value my CAM because they are my support system, but most importantly they are the true definition of a family.” – Eli Jimenez, CAM Advocate
Youth Leadership Institute’s Community Action Model advocates have reached the culmination of their impactful and community-centered two-year campaign. CAM consists of 7 dynamic youth leaders who are currently attending colleges across the Bay Area including San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, and Mills College. These youth leaders’ commitment to their communities has resulted in a number of new relationships, community endorsements, and culture shifts—all of which contribute to a healthier San Francisco.
In 2015, CAM youth leaders came together with the goal of leveraging unhealthy advertisements to be replaced with cultural art. Over the course of 2 years, youth advocates used three research methods to gather data during their community diagnosis phase. The research methods advocates used included 1) photovoice, a form of data collection expressed through photography which allows the photographer to reclaim a story or narrative 2) public opinion surveys of SF residents primarily from SF’s Mission District and from the SF state community, and 3) interviews with stakeholders.
CAM’s research findings show that 93% of SF residents have access to up to 5 liquor stores within 3 blocks of them. That’s a lot of exposure for the youth of San Francisco! The advocates’ research also reveal that 76% of residents believe that unhealthy advertisements have negative impacts on their communities, and that these advertisements target audiences including youth of color and low-income communities. These community-driven research findings have created an imperative for the CAM campaign to decrease unhealthy advertisement and increase cultural artwork.
“YLI has helped me grow in so many different ways. It has given me a safe space and has empowered me to help create positive change in my community.” – Andrea Garcia, CAM Advocate
CAM youth leaders have partnered with merchants in SF’s Mission District to promote artwork in their storefronts. One of the merchants, Pay N Save Market, is located in a central area of the Mission District. The store’s owners, Mohammed and Zudi, have committed to providing healthy options for local customers.
Additionally, CAM advocates met with members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to gain feedback and support for their campaign. Youth leaders provided educational presentations and gained endorsements of support from over 20 individuals and organizations in the SF community, including District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen, and the San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition.
“YLI has helped me become more confident in my own voice.” – Jessica, CAM Advocate
YLI youth leaders continue to advance their campaign to reduce unhealthy advertising and increase cultural art in storefronts by building relationships with local community merchants and decisionmakers. The skills YLI’s youth leaders have developed throughout this process will lead to meaningful impact in a variety of health equity issues for San Francisco!
Here is a full list of CAM’s endorsements:
- Supervisor Hillary Ronen (D9)
- Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC)
- Leah’s Pantry
- Mary Jue, SFUSD Student, Family & Community Support Department
- SFUSD School Health Programs
- Kevin Gogin, SFUSD Director of Safety and Wellness
- Quarry Pak, SFUSD Student, Family & Community Support Department
- Fenicia Jacks, SFUSD Central Community Health Outreach Worker
- Angeline Romano, Caminos Program SFUSD
- Shira Andron, SFUSD Foster Youth Services Coordinator
- San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition
- Breathe California
- Vietnamese Youth Development Center (VYDC)
- Bay Area Community Resources (BACR)
- Stefany Feliciano, SFUSD School Health Programs
- Kenneth Laslavic, USCF
- Randy Uuag, Breathe California