Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Aug 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Vending Machine Makeover

news3Watsonville youth work with Santa Cruz METRO to stock up on healthier snacks

For the hungry bus riders of Santa Cruz County, the only options currently found in vending machines at Santa Cruz METRO stations are sugary drinks and junk food like donuts, candy bars, and high-fat chips. The lack of choices and a desire for something healthier spurred Watsonville-based youth advocacy group Jovenes SANOS to take action.

“All it takes is someone to step up,” says Jovenes SANOS member Miguel Murillo, who attends Cabrillo College and has been involved with the group for three years.

Jovenes was inspired to tackle the issue of vending machine fare after working with officials like Chair of the Board of Directors of Santa Cruz METRO and Watsonville City Councilman Daniel Dodge. Utilizing recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and similar policies in other California counties, Dodge worked with the youth to draft and pass a policy last August that seeks to fill at least 50 percent of the METRO offices and transit center’s vending machines with healthier drinks and snacks.

The METRO’s existing vendors were keen on the idea, and worked with Jovenes to replace half of the soda and candy in METRO office machines with options like coconut water, fruit juice, and nuts.

“I am very proud of our young people,” says Dodge. “They saw the problems kids their age faced with childhood obesity and family members with diabetes, noticed that the vendors around their schools were not providing healthy food alternatives, and decided to take action.”

The United Way of Santa Cruz County created Jovenes SANOS (or “Healthy Youth” in English) seven years ago after reviewing the 2005 Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project (CAP) Report’s findings about the rising rate of overweight and obese local youth, particularly in South County.

According to the 2012 CAP, the percentage of survey respondents who are overweight or obese increased from approximately 50 percent in 2007 to 57 percent in 2011. In 2008, Santa Cruz County ranked 40th (with number one being the best) out of the 66 California counties for overweight children under the age of 5.

With this data in mind, Jovenes SANOS masterminded several projects in the last few years under the guidance of Project Director and United Way Community Organizer Kymberly Lacrosse, including the “Get Out, Get Fit” program and an ordinance that encourages restaurants in Watsonville to provide healthier options on their menus.

Since taking over her role three and a half years ago, Lacrosse says the group has “shifted our focus to policy and, most importantly, relationships with each other, with our partners, and the community.”

In light of the health-inducing projects that Jovenes SANOS has completed, and efforts undertaken by other local agencies and nonprofits, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Santa Cruz County the $25,000 “Roadmaps to Health” prize on Feb. 20. United Way is giving Jovenes SANOS $5,000 of the award to implement future projects like their upcoming “Snack-Fest” and changing the options in METRO stations countywide.

“Snack-Fest” will take place at the Downtown Santa Cruz METRO Station this spring, and will feature games and samples of the nutritious foods that will soon be available in local transit centers.

Beyond its accomplishments in the community, Jovenes SANOS aims to shape participants into passionate advocates for their peers and their community, with a “sabiduria,” or wisdom, beyond their years.

“Before you can change your community you have to change yourself,” says member Jose Vasquez, “and learn how to make yourself better before you try to change someone else or inform someone else on something they can do.”

Comments (1)Add Comment
Retired Facilities
written by Michael Boyd, March 23, 2013
So I guess this means no more "Peeps" at Vernon St.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’

 

Say Uncle

Five types of kids, and how to be their best friend
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.