Houston, TX - Working with community partners to create access to healthy living is how we strengthen community at the Y. CHLI (Community Healthy Living Index) is a tool developed by the YMCA with health professionals from universities and policymakers. The assessment provides a snapshot of what’s happening in places where people live, work, learn and play. This spring, through our Pioneering Healthier Communities initiative the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs will work local School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) in various independent school districts (ISDs) to conduct school based CHLI assessments beginning with the Alief ISD in the Greater Houston area.
The school based CHLI assessment will supplement the community based CHLI assessment conducted by our partner, Healthy Living Matters (HLM). Last year, we committed to working with SHACs by collectively implementing HB 1018. Through that commitment we are constantly becoming more actively engaged with school districts and our community. In 2012 and 2013, HLM and the YMCA of Greater Houston held CHLI conversations at 16 sites across Harris County to assess the availability of healthy food and activity options. Following the CHLI conversations, improvement plans were developed for 8 neighborhoods and 8 after school programs to increase availability of healthy options for children. This year, all 16 sites will be awarded seed funds from HLM to support implementation of the improvement plans and/or prioritized policies from the larger HLM Community Action Plan (From HLM Newsletter Issue XIX).
Together, we have the power to produce healthy environments. It’s a fact that youth spend majority of their time in a school setting followed by afterschool care at organizations such as the Y. By conducting CHLI assessments, ISDs will be able to identify gaps and reach out to their local Y to help bridge those disparities in resources. The return on engagement for the Y is that we help strengthen community, live out our mission and stay committed to our Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards.
We will share our data with key leaders in the summer.