The Beautiful Country of India

Villa Esperanza Community Center, a project of Esperanza Community Housing, runs a community-based After School Program designed to support children’s social and  academic skills through mentoring, homework assistance and enrichment activities.

Throughout the year, the children in the After School Program enrich their knowledge of the world by learning about different countries, cultures and historical characters through book reading, documentaries and online research.  Each theme based activity culminates with a display of an art, craft or science project at Mercado La Paloma.

During the past months of May and June the children learned about the beautiful country of India and painted drawings depicting various symbols of Indian culture which included dances, decorations, Rangoli art, and the Diwali Festival of Lights.

If you would like to become a volunteer for Villa Esperanza Community Center and make a difference in a child’s life, contact Yadira Arevalo, Director of Education at 213 748-9596.

A Community Health Promoter’s Dedication to Healthy Homes

As an Esperanza Promotora de Salud working with the Healthy Homes team, Aliria Cardenas deeply understands the role education plays in empowering her community with the knowledge and tools necessary to improve their living conditions and the asthma and respiratory issues caused by them.  For seven years, Aliria has worked with bold persistence to assess on a home-by-home basis what practices and environmental factors can be changed to address the family’s health concerns in an affordable and sustainable manner.Following a protocol of surveys, home visits, and months of follow-up, Aliria and the Healthy Homes team educate community members about preventing asthma triggers by: vacuuming often; cleaning with non-toxic products such as vinegar, borax, and baking soda; thoroughly cleaning items that tend to be overlooked such as curtains; creating ventilation; and understanding that pets, plants, and dust provoke respiratory issues.  The team provides vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters and air purifiers where appropriate.

For example, Aliria(pictured above) was once referred to the home of a young woman whose two children suffered from asthma.The single room they lived in was in poor condition, and the one small window they had let in cigarette smoke wafting over from their neighbor’s unit.  After Aliria gave the woman an air purifier, it helped her better understand ways of creating ventilation throughout the space, and advised her on managing her children’s health, the children’s asthma rapidly improved over the course of Aliria’s follow-up visits.

In another case, Aliria worked with a woman caring for her young granddaughter who had a serious asthma condition.  In her investigation, Aliria discovered a significant amount of dust created by a construction project in the bathroom.  As a result of the education the grandmother received, she completely changed her asthma triggers.  The child’s asthma improved greatly, and years later Aliria continues to receive a note of gratitude every Mother’s Day from the grandmother.  It is fair to say Aliria has numerous success stories similar to these.

In addition to the protocol followed and the education provided, Aliria’s success, like the success of many Esperanza’s Community Health Promoters, come from her dedication and the trust she builds very intentionally with the families referred to her.  Her services often extend beyond the working hours and beyond what is needed to remediate asthma.  As a result of this level of commitment, Aliria and the Healthy Homes team have helped to create lasting healthy homes healthy homes and healthy families throughout South Los Angeles. Story by: Sophia Kandell