News & Success Stories

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Advocacy for Teen Health Through the Wellness, Health, Education, and Empowerment for Life (WHEEL) Program

Post Date:05/31/2024 3:16 PM

3x1 banner - Community Health Systems Inc 

Submitted by Marina Lopez, Director of Community Partnerships and Engagement, Community Health Systems, Inc.


Community Health Systems' Fallbrook Family Health Center is proud of its successful Wellness, Health, Education, & Empowerment for Life (WHEEL) Program, a comprehensive six-week journey designed to enhance teenagers’ well-being. The program provides teens with the education and tools necessary to navigate through the social, emotional, and physical challenges they face in their everyday lives relating to health, wellness, and safety.

Through partnerships with the Fallbrook Regional Health District and Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, teens are recruited from local schools, including Potter Junior High, to participate in the program. To date, the WHEEL program has graduated 73 participants across five cohorts, with 53 participants continuing with Community Health Systems as local health ambassadors leading to significant changes in the community. 

Each week of the program is dedicated to a specific theme, including:

  • Healthcare ethics,
  • Substance abuse prevention,
  • Mental health awareness,
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle,
  • Reproductive health,
  • Fostering healthy relationships, and
  • Responsibly navigating the digital world.

After acquiring knowledge of these health-related topics, students actively contribute to their communities through advocacy and community engagement activities, a unique feature of the program. Students become health ambassadors at community events by providing education on risk factors and resources for health issues. The students’ efforts have led to significant projects for the community, such as anti-vaping campaigns and the creation of volunteer opportunities for Spanish-speaking students.


Student Success Story

A Cohort 4 participant from Fallbrook Union High School explained that the nutritional workshop not only transformed his own understanding of health but also had a profound impact on his family, particularly his mother, who struggles with hypertension.

The teen ambassador previously expressed his desire to be a doctor and was especially engaged during the health and wellness workshop. He delved into the intricacies of nutrition, exploring topics like the risks associated with high salt intake.

As he continued researching this information for his mini-presentation, he realized its implications for his family, especially his mother’s health.

Armed with understanding, he didn’t just stop at personal enlightenment. Instead, he became a catalyst for change within his household. He took it upon himself to educate his mother about the direct correlation between salt consumption and hypertension, explaining how her dietary choices could impact her blood pressure.

He happily reported that his entire household seems to be more conscious of their salt intake as a unit.

This success story is a testament to the power of education and the effect it can have within communities. Through the support of our district’s funding, we have been able to equip students with the tools they need to make meaningful contributions to their own lives and the lives of those they care about. 


Teens Can Get Involved

If teens want to be involved in the WHEEL program, they can call or text Denisse Cano at (951) 594-0201.

Volunteers are needed to:

  • Help with our upcoming Back to School and Holiday events. 
  • Help provide education and program recruitment at community events.


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