Pacoima Beautiful’s programs engage community members who will be informed,involved and sufficiently empowered to be able to challenge the impact of the toxics in the community. Broadly,our work is divided into the following areas:
- Prevention and Reduction
- Youth Environmentalists
Prevention and Reduction –Working to Reduce Exposure to Indoor and Environmental Pollutants
From 1997 to 2005,between 20 and 30 residents a year participated in six month trainings to learn how to inspect their neighborhoods,document environmental health hazards and how to support their neighbors in reducing and preventing those hazards. Residents learned to identify environmental hazards and access resources to address those hazards,how to increase awareness of environmental health issues and become advocates for change. From 2006 through the present,our Community and Environmental Planning work has focused on community wide environmental issues and to date program staff has engaged hundreds of residents in workshops and presentations in order to identify and prioritize environmental concerns. Most recently this has included advocacy to reduce the impacts of diesel pollution and to promote policies to transform Environmental Justice communities,such as our landmark Clean Up,Green Up campaign working with organizations throughout the city to reduce,mitigate,and revitalize communities like Pacoima. Read more about our Clean Up,Green Up Campaign here.
We’re proud members of the Don’t Waste LA Coalition to create a more efficient waste and recycling industry in Los Angeles and ensure Clean Air,Good Jobs,and Recycling for All,and the RePower LA Coalition to lead LA into an energy efficient future with a plan to save money on energy bills,reduce dependency on dirty coal,and create local,career-path jobs. Through these coalition efforts,we are working to improve the quality of our local jobs and environment,while limiting the concentration of environmental harms and increasing the availability of environmental benefits. We also partner with UCLA Community Research In Cancer (CORICA) - the aim of the CORICA Network is to build community-university partnerships to conduct cancer prevention and control research in underserved communities in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. It aims to conduct research that will help eliminate socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in cancer. We also have a long history of partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency;you can read more about our CARE collaboration here and here and our upcoming Brownfields work here.
Our adult membership meet every month (on the fourth Thursday,6-8pm) to participate in advocacy,hone their public speaking skills,engage in environmental education,spread the word to their neighbors,and plan projects. For more information,contact Imelda,our Lead Organizer,or Polo,our Organizer.
Since 2002,our Safer Homes for a Healthy Community program has provide Pacoima families with information and support to reduce lead,asthma triggers,and home health hazards,including through Integrated Pest Management trainings. Since 2004 the Promotoras have reached hundreds of residents per year through presentations at schools,churches,fairs and other venues. The Safer Homes Program has been recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a model program to prevent the impact of toxics. For more information,contact Amelia,our Lead Health Promoter, or our Health Promoter Maria. You can learn more about our program that helps connect residents with free lead abatement here. For a helpful information on how to make your own easy,safe,and cheap cleaning supplies (created by SF Environment),download English or Spanish flyers.
Revitalization - Increasing Environmental Benefits and Promoting Alternatives
In 2008,Pacoima Beautiful was awarded a PLACE grant (Policies for Livable,Active Communities and Environments) from the LA County Department of Public Health,the only organization with an LA city-based project to receive such a grant. Through this grant,we worked with youth,community residents and experts to create a Vision Plan to revitalize the Pacoima Wash,a tributary of the LA River. The Wash holds amazing potential as an open space amenity for our community and we are continuing to work to realize our Vision with funds from Urban Greening and other sources! For more information,contact Ken,our Pacoima Wash and Urban Greening Project Manager. Some accomplishments of the Pacoima Wash Initiative include:
- Held over 20 community meetings to get input on the project with different community organizations including:parent centers,neighborhood councils,homeowner associations,and youth groups.
- Held 2 large community events including a Pacoima Wash Mobile Charette where the community walked along the Pacoima Wash and gave input which over 100 people attended.
- Successfully included our vision plan for revitalizing the Sylmar portion of the Pacoima Wash into the Pacoima Community Plan.
- Received Urban Greening Grant to create a plan for implementing vegetated bio-swales along streets in Pacoima which will capture and treat storm water runoff before it enters the wash.
- Cosmetic improvements to a pedestrian bridge over the Pacoima Wash used by over 200 students.
- Plan to develop a 2 acre vacant lot adjacent to the wash which is currently blight into a new pocket park.
Click hereto go to our page on the Pacoima Wash. As part of this work,we also serve on the Disadvantaged Community (DAC) committee of the Greater Los Angeles County Integrated Regional Water Management group (GLAC-IRWM). Integrated Regional Water Management is a statewide effort to promote more efficient water resource management and planning by encouraging region‐wide collaboration.
In spring of 2010,we were awarded a RENEW grant (Renew Environments for Nutrition,Exercise,and Wellness),also from the LA County Department of Public Health. This grant is part of the Center for Disease Control’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative. Through this grant,we worked to create a vision for Complete Streets based on community and expert input,and to work with our public partner,CRA/LA,to incorporate community priorities for more pedestrian/cyclist friendly streets into their proposed Streetscape Improvement Project for the Pacoima Town Center. Due to state budget cuts,CRA/LA’s funding has been closed,so we will continue to pursue other avenues to promote Complete Streets infrastructure,walking and biking. As part of this campaign,we also hosted a 12 session workshop series,People’s Planning School. For more information,contact Lauren,the Complete Streets Project Manager. Some accomplishments of the Caminos del Pueblo/Complete Streets Campaign include:
- Gathered input from over 300 residents to identify priorities for streetscape improvements needed to improve Van Nuys Blvd. and promote walking,biking,and public transit use.
- Presented the project goals to dozens of community organizations including:parent centers,neighborhood councils,homeowner associations,and youth groups.
- Held 12 People’s Planning School workshops.
- Participated in the Mayoral ThinkBike Summit with LADOT,LACBC,and others to create a vision for a more bike-able Van Nuys Blvd.
- Received It’s Up to All of Us pedestrian safety advocacy grant.
- Collaborated with LADOT to inform a Safe Routes To Schools grant application to improve Pierce and Herrick.
- Grassroots-led improvement projects and events such as tree plantings,tile murals,public art,PARKing Day,and joint pro-bike and pro-walk events with Youth.
- Joined the burgeoning equitable transit and transit-oriented development coalition,Alliance for a Community Transit,LA (ACT-LA).
Youth Environmentalists –Building the Future Generation
Our Pacoima Beautiful Youth Environmentalists program (PB-YES) trains the next generation of community leaders,giving local teenagers opportunities for meaningful community involvement and promoting leadership development,civic learning and environmental awareness.
Students get involved through year-round after-school groups,Youth United Towards Environmental Protection (YUTEP),and intensive summer service-learning Institutes on topics such as “Healthy Eating,Active Living”.
YUTEP members have helped conduct surveys on key community issues and outreach to residents. Recent Institutes have drafted policy briefs,uncovered toxic contamination in a trailer park,and created open space proposals.
Most recently,YUTEP has expanded its efforts by forming high school chapters in Arleta High School,San Fernando High School,Discovery Charter,and Vaughn International Studies Academy.
As a youth-led initiative,students plan,coordinate,and execute their own projects.