Community Action Council of Poway/Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Penasquitos

Accomplishments

Access to Care:

Senior Transportation: Helped to establish Rides & Smiles, a volunteer driver program for seniors in North County Inland by providing funding and recruiting volunteer drivers from Council members= organizations. The program, run by Jewish Family Service, has grown to over 100 volunteer drivers providing over 4000 rides a year.

Health Care Coverage for Children: Provided announcements to be placed in the school newsletters of 20 Poway Unified schools, telling parents about free and low-cost health insurance coverage available for their children.

Health Resource Directory: Created and maintained a directory of over 300 free and low-cost health-related services available to residents in our area. The directory was delivered to over 30,000 households in some years, to key agencies in other years, depending on financing available.

Baby Friendly Hospital: Successfully lobbied Pomerado Hospital to adopt the Baby Friendly Hospital program, a designation awarded to hospitals that take specific, active steps to promote breast feeding instead of baby formula. Breast feeding has been shown to reduce obesity in children.

Adult Day Care: Provided financial support and publicity in the start-up phase of the Poway Adult Day Health Care Center. Wrote advocacy letters when Medi-Cal funding for adult day health care was threatened. The funding was restored.

Mental Health/Substance Abuse:

Violence Prevention: Arranged a presentation to 130 teachers and staff at Rancho Bernardo High School on the warning signs of violent behavior like the incident at Columbine High School.

Parenting Education: Provided financial support and publicity to Active Parenting of Teens, a series of classes put on by Poway Unified School District (PUSD) to help parents meet the challenge of parenting teens and preteens in today=s society. Two series of classes taught 66 parents in the first year, and the classes have continued since then.

Mentoring for Middle School Children: Developed a partnership between the Rancho Bernardo Joslyn Senior Center, Bernardo Heights Middle School, and Poway Unified School District to match senior citizens with middle school students for a one-on-one mentoring program to foster understanding and a positive attitude toward life.

Teen Screen: Developed a program in which parents could take teens to Pomerado Hospital any time, 24-hours a day, for free drug screening. Results were reported to the parents, and follow-up counseling and treatment were offered.

Homework Video Program: Provide elementary school students in Poway Unified School District videos to watch at home with their parents, showing the long-term effects of drug abuse. Incentives were offered for students and parents to watch the video and fill out a questionnaire.

Mild Cognitive Impairment: Successfully lobbied Palomar Health to have the Medical Chief of Staff send a letter to all Palomar Health-associated physicians, informing them of a California state regulation that limits assisted living options for patients diagnosed with Alzheimers/dementia. Suggested the diagnosis Amild cognitive impairment@ when appropriate to keep these housing options open.

Friendly Visitors: Partnered with the Rancho Bernardo Joslyn Senior Center and Partners for Community Access to develop a program in which volunteers are matched with home-bound seniors to visit them on a regular basis, providing companionship and social interaction. Smoking Cessation Classes: Organized low-cost, convenient smoking cessation classes for adults.

Current Projects

Obesity/Diabetes Prevention:

Running Clubs: The Council finds financial sponsors for Running Clubs at 15 elementary schools in the Poway Unified School District. All children at these schools are invited to run laps during recess to receive ribbons or other awards as they accumulate miles throughout the school year.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Poway Unified School District, PTAs, RB Lions Club, RB Sunrise Rotary, Poway Rotary, Penasquitos Kiwanis, Gymminy Kids, Sempra Energy, Current Wisdom Foundation, Judy Bauer, Mimi Sanders, Rich & Ruthanna Bryan, Myrna Reese, Lorraine Swara,

Outcomes: Over 7,000 students participate in the 15 Running Clubs.

Backyard Produce for Families in Need: The Council organized a program in which volunteers collect backyard fruits and vegetables once a month and donate them to a local charity for distribution to families in need. Community members participate by bringing backyard produce to the volunteers= collection site.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Palomar Health employees, Friends and Family Community Connection, RB Community Council, RB Swim and Tennis Club, Hope Food, Inc., Sunshine Care, Boy Scout Troop 688, Sign Here, Inc., Shea Reality, and scores of homeowners who generously donate produce.

Outcomes: In a typical month, a pick-up truck full of fresh fruits and vegetables are collected. Over 50 local families in need receive fresh produce to supplement their diet. The project also contributed to the Palomar Health Healthy Food Drive, providing fresh produce for families in a homeless shelter. In February 2009, the owners of an orange grove gave the project permission to harvest their grove. With the help of Boy Scouts, 72 crates of oranges were picked and donated to a local food bank.

Project21SD TODAY (Transforming Obesity and Diabetes Awareness in Youth): The Council endorses a Palomar Health, school-based screening program implemented in one of the elementary schools in Poway Unified School District. 5th graders are measured for Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile and blood glucose level (with parent permission) to identify those at risk for obesity and diabetes. Follow-up is offered to families of students at risk to connect them with community resources for medical care, low-or-no-cost health coverage, and education about healthy lifestyle habits.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Escondido, San Marcos Ramona, Poway and Valley Center/Pauma school districts, North County Health Services, Neighborhood Healthcare, County of San Diego HHSA, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Network for a Healthy California at UCSD, Palomar Health staff.

Outcomes for all CACs: 2007: 1 school participated; 90 screened; 52% found at-risk
Outcomes for all CACs: 2008: 8 school participated: 692 screened; 43% found at-risk
Outcomes for all CACs: 2009: 8 schools participated; 640 screened; 41% found at-risk

Mental Health/Substance Abuse:

Support for Student Services: The Council provides healthy snacks to students requesting counseling services in the five high schools throughout the Poway Unified School District, where over 3,072 students are served annually.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Poway Unified School District

Outcomes: Students received 2,880 healthy granola bars in the 2008-2009 school year.

Suicide Prevention: The Council is working with the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program to bring the Yellow Ribbon program to high schools and middle schools in the Poway Unified School District. This program encourages young people to seek help and establishes a support network of parents, school personnel, and community members.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Poway Unified School District, Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program.

Outcomes: Project in process; data collection not complete.

Healthy Minds Forum: The Council is assisting Community Alliance for Healthy Minds (CAHM) with its annual forum on mental health and well being. The 2010 forum will be held at Abraxas High School in Poway. Its goal is to increase awareness of and support for mental illness issues and suicide prevention.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Poway Unified School District, Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, NAMI, CAHM, Palomar Health staff

Outcomes: This project is in process; data collection not complete.

Serving Our Community Seniors (SOCS): The Council organizes workshops for community members who visit or are responsible for the care of seniors. The workshops use the ASOCS Box@ notebook of information and resources developed by the Palomar Health Community Action Council of San Marcos. The workshops provide instruction for reaching out to seniors who may be depressed, isolated, or at-risk for depression.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Pomerado Christian Church, Palomar Health staff.

Outcomes: The first workshop in our area was held in 2009. It trained 28 individuals. 22 surveys were returned, showing highly favorable ratings. Future workshops are planned.

Access to Care:

Establishing Low-Cost Clinics: The Council provides ongoing advocacy and assistance to Neighborhood Healthcare (NHC) and Mount Carmel Church of the Nazarene as they work to establish free-or-low-cost clinical services for the Poway/RB/RPQ communities.

Palomar Health CAC Collaborative Partners: Neighborhood Healthcare, Mount Carmel Church of the Nazarene, Head Start, County Health and Human Services Agency.

Outcomes: Mt. Carmel Church of the Nazarene has committed to establishing a clinic on its church grounds. A foundation was established to raise the needed funds. Neighborhood Health has committed to establishing a clinic in Poway. A Council member located a suitable site, which Neighborhood Health Care purchased. Council members organized focus groups to provide community input needed for grant applications and wrote letters of support for the clinic.

Do you have questions about the Palomar Health Community Action Councils in North San Diego County?  Visit Community Action Councils for more information about each council's projects or Contact Us.