Samantha Mendoza, SBCS Communication Specialist, South Bay Community Services
At a recent fitness event hosted by South Bay Community Services, you could hear the cheers and encouragement from participants as families, youth and other members of the community came together for a fitness meet-up in support of the Live Well San Diego 5K Fitness Challenge. The Challenge was created to help people get ready to walk or run in the Live Well San Diego 5K at the end of July and many participants used this event to kick off their own walking routines.
On July 11 at SDG&E Park in Chula Vista, South Bay Community Services’ Promatoras and Resident Leadership Academy led participants in the free wellness walk as a way to help support active and healthy lifestyles within their community. Participants had the option to complete a 1-3 mile route with motivational signs placed throughout the course to encourage participants to complete the walk, stating ‘You can do it’ and ‘Congratulations, you just completed 1-mile’.
“This event reminded me that we are role models in the community, and we need to practice what we preach,” said Promatora Cyndi Gonzales. “I pushed myself to keep going and made it through the full 5K and it felt great! I’ve been walking every day since.”
South Bay Community Services’ Promatoras are bilingual, trained parents from the neighborhood who serve as an important linkage between programs and the community. They inform, share and engage youth and families about services that meet their specific needs, such as access to food and housing assistance.
The Resident Leadership Academy (RLA) encourages community members to actively engage in the issues that affect their lives, like public safety, land use and active transportation, and overall community well-being. Through the RLA, neighbors invest in one another and work together to achieve the changes they want to see in their neighborhoods.
Promatora Patty Lomeli said she’s wanted to start a new exercise routine for a long time, but always found an excuse. She said the wellness walk helped her start her own walking routine.
“This event helped motivate me because I saw how motivated the community was about getting active,” shared Lomeli. “I actually walked 2 miles that day and I’ve been walking regularly since. I even put on a skirt the next day because I felt so good (and I never wear skirts to work).”
The South Bay Community Services’ Promatora and Resident Leadership Academy programs are initiatives spearheaded through the Chula Vista Promise Neighborhood. This Promise Neighborhood brings together a collaboration of partners focused on family, education, health and community to support children and families in the Castle Park community of Chula Vista.