By: Candice Aman

Photo by: Savore

Spirits were high as a surge of hope and anticipation pulsed through the air when guests began arriving at Mercado La Paloma, a bustling marketplace and economic development project in South L.A. that houses various vendors, services, and non-profits, for its 10th anniversary fundraising event on Friday.

Called “Taste of Mercado La Paloma,” the event celebrated the Mercado’s growth and impact upon the surrounding community by showcasing the best of what it has to offer: food, art, culture, and most importantly, the people that has helped to shape the project during the last decade.

“I don’t think that there’s been a plan for [the Mercado] to take 10 years to get to this point,” Bruce Saito, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps and the night’s Master of Ceremonies said. “It’s been a challenge all those years but this place has made an incredible impact on the community.”

As a division of the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation (ECHC), an organization that strives to achieve long-term community development, Mercado La Paloma continues to be invaluable resource for the surrounding neighborhood by providing residents the opportunities for jobs, education, and healthcare all under one roof.

Julie Gutman, Executive Director of Program for Torture Victims (PTV), a non-profit dedicated to helping torture survivors from all over the world rebuild their lives, recounted stories of doing business from unstable work environments before finally coming into the Mercado in 2001.

Full article: http://caman.ascjweb.org/midtermaman.html

The dust accumulating on Maria’s rug threatened the health of her three children and her mother, all of whom have asthma. She didn’t have a vacuum to clean her rug. Thanks to the Healthy Child Program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, Maria received a free vacuum three months ago and now vacuums everyday. Her mother and children’s asthma symptoms have dramatically declined. The health improvement is not only the result of a rug vacuumed daily, but also of relevant information Maria learned through the Community Health Promoters program at Esperanza Community Housing Corporation.

Aliria, a community health promoter of 5 years, learned of Maria’s case through a referral from St. John’s Child and Wellness Center. On her first visit, Aliria asked Maria what housekeeping cleaning products she used. When Maria listed off products like bleach and Pinesol, Aliria suggested that these strong smelling substances often worsen children’s health. Instead, Aliria recommended natural cleaning products that work just as well, like baking soda and vinegar. Maria never knew such mixes were possible. She was amazed at how pleasant the smell was after implementing the natural products.

Recently, with the help of Aliria, Maria asked her landlord if he could replace the dirty rug altogether. After informing him that the rug was a potential threat to her family, the land lord replaced it. Community Health Promoters not only educates residents on how to improve the home environment, but also help tenants advocate on behalf of themselves. Maria is incredibly thankful to Esperanza and St. John’s because her children’s and mother’s asthma is now controlled after she learned how to improve the health of her home.

 Story by: Drea Chicas

Join us for a Community Collaborative Celebration “Recognizing Our Riches!”   With you involved, South L.A. will be a healthier place to live!  Meet more than 30 community organizations working together to bring more parks, safer streets, healthier food options and affordable housing to our communities.  Let’s Learn, Talk and Plan together to Improve South Los Angeles. ¡Si se Puede!

Spanish/English translation and child care will be provided.  Breakfast and snacks.  And some surprises too!

Date:            Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Time:          8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Address:   Bethune Middle School

                      155 W. 69th Street

                      Los Angeles, CA 90003

Please bring plastic bottles to help support the recycling program at Bethune Middle School.

R.S.V.P. Cynthia Rojas at cynthiarojas@socialactionpartners.org or call (213) 493-6543.

Health as a Human Right in South Los Angeles.

The 2nd Annual Health and Human Rights Conference took place on December 10, 2010 at the Convention Center.

Dr. Violeta Menjivar was one of the speakers visiting directly from El Salvador. The conference ended with a rally at the Orthopaedic Hospital.http://www.impre.com/laopinion/noticias/2010/12/11/la-reforma-de-salud-es-tambien-227456-1.html#commentsBlock


Esperanza Community Health Promoters work with collaborating agencies like St. John’s Well Child and Family CenterStrategic Actions for Just Economy (“SAJE”), and LA CAN conducting community-based research in the South Los Angeles area to help minimize slum housing conditions.

Ms. Cuevas, a resident of the Pico-Union area said that she has invested her own money to fix her home and to help minimized vermin infestation.  Yet, the bathroom is still shows molds even when she repaints it.  Full story:http://www.impre.com/laopinion/noticias/2010/4/21/plaga-en-muchos-apartamentos-184392-2.html

The People’s Hearing: http://www.cnbc.com/id/36692990

Esperanza Community Health Promoters Training Program, initiated in 1995 and has trained 334 residents on  the Figueroa Corridor to become leaders, patient advocates and health educators.  Today, Esperanza’s promoters educate and train our community members on various topics.

Norma Linares certified Lactation Educator presenting on Lactation to Community Health Promoter Class of 2010.

 The presentation also included correct positions to holding the baby while breastfeeding, good latch, commons concerns, support and resources available.

Georgina Serrano presenting on the importance of breast feeding and explaining the anatomy of the human breast. 

The purpose of this presentation is to motivate mothers to breastfeed their babies.

Both, Norma Linares (class of 2003) and Gina Serrano (class of 2000) graduated from Esperanza’s Community Health Promoters Training Program and continue their great work at Esperanza in collaborative with the LA Best Babies Network as leaders of our community.


St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and Neighborhood Legal Services in Pacoima help families in South Los Angeles and Compton address the legal problems affecting their health.

“The medicine wasn’t what cured me,” said Perez, 49. “It was Mr. Dennis and what he did.”

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