Mental Health Month

Hello members of CD 479, come support our advocacy efforts  and show your support for mental health awareness. Below is a schedule of events for the month of May. Join us at the steps of the Eureka Courthouse to hear the proclamation read on May 6th at 9:00 AM. Also the mental health awareness walk will be May 13th at 11:50 AM. Show your support for mental health and be a part of the cause. We hope to see you there!

Jen Renner, Alexa Costa, Elizabeth Sepulveda, and Heather Cooke

MMHM 2014 Flyer final

New Rules for School Meals Aim at Reducing Obesity

New Rules for School Meals Aim at Reducing Obesity

Amy Stuart

April 10, 2014

This is an article written by Ron Nixon on January 25, 2012. The main points of this article are about the new rules of the national school lunch program. The main goal of this program is to reduce childhood obesity and improve the nutrition standards of what the youth are eating in school. It had been 15 years since there were any changes to the program. The new rules improve school nutrition as well as give the schools more flexibility in what foods they serve (Nixon, 2012). However, there are still some concerns Some of the new rules are that all of the milk that is served must be non fat or low fat and there are also guidelines in place that set limits on the amount of salt and trans fats in foods as well as doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables served and require that all grains served are whole grains (Nixon, 2012). The authors audience was for a mainstream population as well as for parents, professionals who work for children, and anyone who has an interest in nutrition.  The article was written objectively by providing the facts and did not appear to have any bias.  However, the reporter did seem to interview people who were all in favor of the new rules for school meals and did not provide any information on perspectives of those who did not agree with the new rules.

I believe this is important because as child development professionals who are interacting with children on a daily basis we can advocate for healthy nourishing school lunches. We can also model healthy eating habits and exercise to the children that we interact with. Teachers can do in class activities that promote healthy eating and exercise. Some recommendations would be arranging a field trip to a local farm, starting a garden with the students, having a cooking day where you teach the children how to cook a certain meal. Another activity would be to make a class cookbook where everyone brings in a recipe that they like to cook at home. You can also arrange workshops that educate and demonstrate growing, cooking and consumption of healthy foods. The new rules for school meals and the new standards that have been stepped is a step in the right direction for improving quality of foods served in schools, but there is still a lot of changes that need to be made.  All children should have access to quality and nutritious food in schools.

Policy Article #1- Music Education and Standardized Testing

As increasing pressure is placed on schools to improve their test scores, many teachers feel that music and other creative art classes are being cut. Miller, the teacher mentioned in this article, stresses the need for music classes and explains how it will help children work together and increase their creativity. Miller believes the goals of music education should be just as important as the goals of improving writing and mathematic ability. This article highlights the fact that while some teachers and professionals feel that music classes are being cut, some policy makers disagree. Russ Whitehurst, a policy expert from the Brookings Institute, points to the statistics which claim that music classes are not being cut as drastically as some may think.

Policy Institute Analysis- Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute:

Scope of interest: sexual and reproductive health rights for men and women. Aims to avoid unplanned pregnancies, prevent and treat STDs/STIs, allow people the right for legal and safe abortions, aid to improve rates of healthy pregnancies and births, and allow people to have healthy, safe, and satisfying sexual relationships.  Core idea is to allow people to exercise their rights regarding their sexual relationships and reproductive choices.

Locations in NY and DC

 Sources of Funding:

This institute became the second non-university-based institution to be awarded a prestigious Population center grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Guttmacher is also funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, democratic party, republican party, other private foundations, government agencies, multilateral organizations and individual contributions.

Recent Publications: State Policies in Brief: Choose Life License Plates (Feb 2014), Abortion Policy in the Absence of Roe (Feb 2014)

Fact Sheets: Abortion in Burkina Faso (Jan 2014), Induced Abortion in the US (Feb 2014), State Facts About Abortion (click a state, get the facts.

Left or right? The  Guttmacher Institute has integrated Nonpartisan social science research, policy analysis and public education, hoping to provide factual basis for the development of sound governmental policies and for public consideration of the sensitive issues involved in the promotion of reproductive health and rights (

Check out their website, or visit their Facebook page for more information regarding funding or to see relevant research in the field of reproductive health.

Presented by: Alexa Costa, Heather Cooke, Elizabeth Sepulveda, Celia Haro, and Jen Renner

Policy Article and Discussion

Presented  by Alexa Costa, Celia Haro, Elizabeth Sepulveda, Heather Cooke, and Jen Renner

The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act can be seen as a piece of bipartisan legislation headed by Utah’s Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch and Illinois’s Democratic Senator, Richard Durbin.

Since the policy makers are part of the US Senate they have federal jurisdiction, but the policy is being put into place at the state level.  The policy is aimed at aiding undocumented immigrants in gaining a college education. California’s version of the DREAM Act is the combination of two assembly bills: AB 130 and AB 131. It applies to students who attended a California high school for at least three years and have graduated from a California high school with a diploma or equivalent.

The DREAM Act will help undocumented students obtain in-state tuition, access to federal and state grants, scholarships, and loans. Under the DREAM Act, students need to have entered the US before the age of 16, have an American high school diploma or GED equivalent, residency in the US for at least five consecutive years, and must be between the ages of 12 and 25 during the time the bill was enacted.

The Democrats have supported the passage of the DREAM Act since it was first introduced, but Republicans have historically voted against it.

The DREAM Act would create more eligible immigrant voters and would increase the state’s economy by providing a larger and more highly trained workforce. The majority of those who qualify for the DREAM act have grown up in the educational system of the US.

Check this article out to get a better insight into the DREAM Act.

This is a very important  and timely topic, here are some discussion questions to get you thinking!

What are your thoughts on the DREAM Act? Are you for or against the DREAM Act? Why?

How does the DREAM Act ensure the funds used towards undocumented students is going to benefit California and the nation in the long run?

Would the passing of the DREAM Act encourage more illegal immigration?

In what ways will the passing of the DREAM Act allow undocumented students to “ give back to America”

In what ways do undocumented students highlight the fact that for many students, working hard is simply not enough.

The Story of Stuff

This video represents both my anxieties and my passions when it comes to policy and advocacy. As much as I would like to say I completely live in the now, I can’t help but think of the future. Not only my future, but the future of this planet. For me this video brings to light the many issues that can arise in a society where, for many, consumerism is a way of life . I feel that sustainability should be our number one priority, when in fact it gets shoved to the side. I hope this video gives some insight to exactly what happens and what are the repercussions of buying and having a bunch of material goods.

Finding Harmony and Balance

This article gives a short introduction to Ayurveda and other resources for more information on the subject. As stated in the article, “Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine. It’s based on a careful balance of nutrition, exercise, herbal remedies, and yoga.”

I also suggest taking a look around the site for other interesting reads!

The Science of Cannabis

This article discusses the medical efficacy of marijuana. When I was younger my parents talked to me about the risks of marijuana.. that was about 18 or so years ago. Since then, I have been passing a lot of negative judgement without the research to back up my doubts. I recently attended the Emerald Cup and sat in on a few of the many panels they offered at the event which discussed topics similar to this article. Finally, I began shedding some of my own stereotypes of cannabis users and opened up to the idea of learning about the science of cannabis.

Music as Therapy??

Music is everywhere.. in the wind, in the waves, in the strange little noises my dog makes as he sleeps. Music has always been a part of my life and my family. Over time I connected songs with times in my life, people I love and lost, and most often just to have some fun. I have even attempted to use music as a way to communicate when I had no words, or was too nervous to say them out loud. This article shares some of the many benefits of music and the power it has to heal.