Marilyn Magaram Center

Champions for Change

What is SNAP-Ed?

  • SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and is formally known as the food stamps program. SNAP is known as and named “CalFresh” in California.
  • CalFresh offers low-income individuals assistance to purchase food using an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that is acceptable at most grocery stores and several farmer’s markets.

SNAP-Ed is a federally funded grant that supports evidence-based nutrition education prevention interventions for SNAP eligible individuals. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has selected 24 agencies to implement the Champions for Change- Healthy Community Initiative. This program is bringing nutrition and gardening education to the community of Canoga Park which has been identified to have high rates of childhood obesity and in need of education and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

 

Champions for Change has been selected to implement this program at various locations that include schools and community centers in the city of Canoga Park. From October 2016 through December 14, 2018, we have implemented the following:

Classes: 594
Number of participants reached: 72,005
Sites: 13
Garden Built: 12

To see our list of schools, see the left side of this page. 

 

See the articles below for more on our program and our impact on the community.

 

 

 

 

 


CSUN's Champions for Change gets featured on ABC7 News! 

Click here to read the full featured article.

 


champions for change deck

September 10, 2018

CSUN Project Hopes to Transform Health & Nutrition in Canoga Park

Members of the Canoga Park community building a community garden, one of several projects launched as part of Champions for Change. Photo courtesy of Viridiana Ortiz.

It has been two years since California State University, Northridge faculty, staff and students launched the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative in Canoga Park, with the help of a grant from the California Department of Public of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In that time, community gardens have sprouted at more than a dozen sites; more than 70 community events have been held to educate people about healthy eating habits; and more than 400 classes have been conducted to teach school children, their families and other Canoga Park residents nutrition education and healthy living habits. In all, the initiative has touched the lives of more than 28,000 people.

“We have been very busy these past two years, but there is still a lot we’d like to do,” said Viridiana Ortiz, Project Coordinator of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative in CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. “We have funding for the initiative for only three years, but we are hoping that by the end of that time we will have planted the seeds so that our efforts — which have been done in collaboration with the community — will continue and grow, and are flexible enough to respond to community needs as they change.”

To that end, officials at the Magaram Center in the College of Health and Human Development teamed up with officials at the university’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing and its Neighborhood Partners in Action (NPA) initiative. NPA is designed to help optimize Canoga Park’s resources, collect data about community needs and form partnerships to foster relations between residents, local businesses and the university. Together, the two enterprises helped take the Champions for Change initiative into nearly all corners of Canoga Park, from local churches and businesses to schools and centers that serve the elderly.

Initiative organizers also are working with Guadalupe Community Center’s food pantry, and a food pantry at the university, to procure fresh fruits and vegetables and provide patrons of the pantries with nutrition education. A task force made up of university personnel and community members has been created to ensure that the initiative is responding to the needs of the Canoga Park community.

CSUN students have conducted classes on developing healthy eating habits and cooking practices, helped establish community gardens, and attended weekly farmers market to distribute health information, including recipes for turning the produce being sold at the market into healthy, affordable family meals that respect cultural sensibilities.

The initiative, which was funded with an $880,000 grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that supports a project to reduce obesity rates among low-income populations in Canoga Park that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education benefits. The grant aims to reduce obesity by providing nutrition education, promoting physical activity and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray and shop.

 

Media Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler

(818) 677-2130 on September 10, 2018 in Community, Health and Fitness, Media Releases

 


champions for change deck

January 31, 2017

CSUN Awarded $880,000 to Address Obesity Rate in Canoga Park

champions for change deck

As part of Champions for Change, CSUN faculty and students will be working throughout the Canoga Park area to help to establish community gardens. Photo courtesy of the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics.

California State University, Northridge has been awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to support a project to reduce obesity rates among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations in Canoga Park.

The grant, made possible with support from the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supports the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce obesity by providing nutrition education, promoting physical activity and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray and shop.

“We will be working with local community groups, including schools, to build the foundation for ongoing efforts to combat obesity in the area through nutrition education, promoting more physical activity and create healthier environments, including community gardens,” said Annette Besnilian, executive director of CSUN’s Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. The center is partnering with CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing’s Neighborhood Partners in Action project in Canoga Park.

Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, the initiative will identify resources throughout the county to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in a variety of settings, including childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites and cities.

As part of the initiative, CSUN faculty and students will be working throughout the Canoga Park area, helping to establish community gardens where fruits and vegetables will be grown at about 13 different sites, as well as holding education sessions at local schools and community groups about making healthy lifestyle choices.

“We hope our efforts will result in individual behavior changes, as well as changes to the institutional setting and the environment around the community,” Besnilian said. “As we move forward, we will evaluate the effectiveness of what we have implanted to make sure it is sustainable. Our goal is to build something that will last well beyond the three years of the grant.”

The Magaram Center is located in CSUN’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences which is housed in the College of Health and Human Development.

“The Champions for Change project is a great reflection what can happen when the students and faculty on the CSUN campus partner with community organizations to bring about social change,” said sociology professor David Boyns, director of CSUN’s Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing. Boyns and theater professor Doug Kaback, who heads the Neighborhood Partners in Action project, are working with the Magaram Center on the project.

According to the “LA County: A Cities and Communities Health” report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top 10 leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. While the obesity epidemic continues to impact nearly all population groups, about 18.2  percent of children and 18.8 percent of adults in the LA City Council District 3 are obese.

 

Media Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
carmen.chandler@csun.edu
(818) 677-2130 on January 31, 2017