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Students to Advocate for Healthier Neighborhoods

Friday January 28, 2011

Students living in west Louisville neighborhoods will present Metro Council members, business leaders and community residents their ideas on what can be done to make their neighborhoods healthier and safer places.

My Normal, an audiovisual presentation, will be held Monday January 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Shawnee Arts and Cultural Center at 607 S. 37th St. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

The Shawnee Student Advocates – elementary, middle and high school students – will show photographs and video presentations highlighting neighborhood barriers to good health. The projects will also advocate specific policy changes to remedy neighborhood health and safety issues. The projects are part of Photovoice, an initiative of the Center for Health Equity. Photovoice is a grassroots approach to policy change that puts cameras in the hands of people often least empowered to affect change - children living in inner city neighborhoods.

The event will also introduce the “Healthy Zoning” concept. Healthy Zoning establishes regulations to help neighborhoods or other districts promote health and quality of life. Such regulations might consider how far fast food restaurants can be located from youth populated areas or how far tobacco and alcohol signage can be located from schools or playgrounds.

Community organizations in west Louisville have been working with the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness to research ways to make neighborhoods healthier and safer. “It’s been good working with the Department of Public Health and Wellness,” said Monica Brown of the Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center. “While we realize that bringing about healthier and safer neighborhoods takes time, we’re confident that our efforts will pay off in the long run.”

My Normal is sponsored by Communities United for Health, a coalition of the Shawnee Neighborhood Association, Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, the Center for Health Equity, the Center for Women and Families, the Portland NOW Prevention Partnership, MensWork, the Louisville Metro Tobacco-Free Coalition: Schools and Youth Task Group, West Louisville Crime Vision, and the YMCA.

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