News // October 21, 2013

Living it Up! in Vista with Residents and County Employees

On October 12, 2013, County of San Diego’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) organized Live It Up!, a community event drawing about 1,000 community members and employees from the City of Vista, for a Saturday of learning and fun activities all about how to Live Well. Hosted by the County Library at the Vista branch, more than 25 resource booths sponsored by community partners and County departments promoted healthy eating, active living, disease awareness and prevention, civic engagement, and volunteering. Vista Mayor Judy Ritter; Donna Ohr, Deputy Director of the San Diego County Library; Cecilia Rincon, Principal Librarian for the Vista Branch Library; and Chuck Matthews, Health and Human Services Agency Deputy Director North County Regions, welcomed Live it Up! participants.



Healthy cooking demos, health and wellness screenings, zumba demonstrations, and even a Wii dance competition were among the many activities. Colorfully costumed children with Ballet Folkorico Arcoiris  and the brightly costumed Fil-Am Cultural Association Dance Group put on lively performances for the audience. With a “Passport to Health,” participants travelled from booth to booth, participating in learning activities and collecting stamps for a chance to win prizes donated by event partners and sponsors. Children worked up a sweat in a bounce house and inflatable obstacle course. Participants of any age got active through dance and jump rope competitions, and the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation hosted a fitness zone where children had fun exercising.

“It was great to see the families enjoying food, dancing, and other fun activities while learning ways to be more healthy and active,” said Nick Martinez, a parks project manager, board member of the San Diego County Latino Association (SDCLA), and lead coordinator of the event.

Participants could voluntarily get a screening for depression and see an on-site clinician, learn about health care coverage through Covered California, or get insights on how to take action to make a neighborhood more walkable through a resident project called CX3, which promotes healthier communities. Vista Community Clinic representatives demonstrated easy-to-prepare healthy meals and screened participants for eligibility for CalFresh nutrition assistance. At the North County Lifeline booth, participants learned about the organization’s services and received stress relief from a therapy dog. North County Transit offered transportation information, and the Registrar of Voters encouraged visitors to register to vote or volunteer for the next election. Active living resources for seniors were also available. The always popular Sheriff’s Department area included a large vehicle for children to investigate and displays of crime prevention information.

Live It Up! demonstrates how the County ERGs are taking a proactive approach to Live Well San Diego, helping their group members, fellow County employees, and communities to live well. A joint effort by the County ERGs (SDCLA and the County of San Diego Filipino-American Employees Association (CSDFEA), Live it Up!’s focus was to address certain chronic diseases and other challenges that these respective communities face, in some cases more so than other county residents.

Participants were surveyed to get a sense of whether events like these are meeting a need in the community. Fifty respondents provided overwhelmingly positive feedback.
• 94% of respondents said they felt that they or their family benefited from the event
• 75% said that the event met their expectations as it was advertised
• Almost 60% committed to becoming more physically active every day
• Nearly every respondent said that they plan to adopt a healthier behavior (eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, use information they gathered that day to improve their own or their family’s health)

“Something truly inspiring happened on Saturday at the Live it Up! event,” said Amber Tarrac, President of SDCLA and with the office of County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “Working with our partners, the County family of employees rallied in the planning and the execution was remarkable. Most importantly, we helped connect Live Well San Diego with segments of our North County community that are traditionally hard to reach.”

Martinez added, “I gained an appreciation for the members of the employee resource groups. On top of being dedicated public servants in their day to day jobs, our members volunteered hours and hours of their personal time to go above and beyond to bring the Live Well message to the community.”

In addition to Martinez and Tarrac, many of the volunteers serve in leadership capacities including Mavette Sadile, President of CSDFEA, Vice-President of County Employees’ Charitable Organization (CECO), and with the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office; Ardee Apostol, Vice-President of CSDFEA with HHSA; Oscar Talaro, board member of SDCLA; Sylvia Bugiel, board member of SDCLA; Jackie Hurtado with San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA), who organized the many volunteers; and Chrys Flor, Vice-President of CSDFEA and with the Sheriff’s Department, who took photos of the event.

“We're fortunate to be part of an organization that supports the Employee Resource Groups' efforts to make a difference in the community,” said Tarrac.

Visit the Facebook Album for more photos from Live it Up!