Back to School, Safe and Healthy!


Back to School, Safe and Healthy

Dear Friends,
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year. My greeting sadly follows the tragic news regarding the fatal shooting of yet another unarmed teenage boy this past Saturday in a suburb of St. Louis, MO. In response to the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the community is 
up-in-arms, wounded, and demanding answers. While I am utterly dismayed at and in no way condone the ensuing community violence, their outraged rallying behind a fallen son serves as a reminder of our own pertinent role in the well being of our children here in LAUSD.
I am proud of this district. Recent changes within it reflect our determination to create a healthy space for all 650,000 students in the LAUSD. In 2014, schools hold more importance than as just a place for educational learning. They should represent an extension of one’s home. Institutions where a child feels safe, cared for, and understood. As I write, there is a revised wellness policy called the The Blueprint for Wellness that includes restorative justice, trauma-informed schools and integrated health strategies going to print. The district’s recent expansion of its foster care program to include over 60 new staff members is another example of our programming towards this feeling of inclusion. Additionally, on September 5th, The L.A. Trust will join with the district for “Drop-out Prevention Day.” Through our door-to-door visits, we are reminding these students that we care about them and the future of their education; they are not just a number on an enrollment sheet or a figure in a statistic. Like Michael Brown to the town of Ferguson, the LAUSD students are our family members and the future of our community.
On Monday of this week, I had the privilege of discussing the vital role school nurses play in maximizing the effectiveness of our burgeoning LAUSD Wellness Network to over 500 nurses at the LAUSD District Nurse Orientation. I shared that the school nurse serves as a direct link to a student’s informed wellness. The school nurse's role becomes even more apparent when discussing the effects of the 2014 pertussis epidemic reflecting the need to provide all students with their TDaP vaccine. As in years past, without their vaccination, students will NOT be allowed to enter into sixth grade. (To locate a school-based health center/wellness center near you that can administer TDaP vaccinations, please click here.)
It is through collaboration and dedication that we are working to expand the idea of “family” for these children into the school-community enveloping their teachers, faculty members, peers, and health-care providers. As we continue to mourn the senseless death of another youth of our nation, let us enter into the 2014-2015 school year as a community unified in support of the future of our county. It is not only our mission but it is our duty to deliver health and safety to these students, and while there is still so much to be accomplished, with every day we inch forward; we are one step closer to 100% graduation success for the LAUSD students.

Student Health = Student Success!
MJ Signature
Maryjane Puffer, BSN, MPA
Executive Director
The L.A. Trust for Children's Health


Trust Board Bowled Over By Youth Advisory Board

Last month The L.A. Trust achieved a long-time goal.  At July 17th's Board meeting, we brought together our Board of Directors and our Youth Advisory Board at the Lucky Strike Lanes in Downtown.  These outstanding young people which make up Youth Advisory Board (comprised from various LAUSD high school campuses with Wellness Centers --see last month's ENews), met with, bowled with and brought recommendations to the Board regarding the allocation of funds from last year's LAUSD 5K Run and how they believed the money could best be spent to create a healthier school environment on their respective campuses. It was an inspiring, informative and out-of-the-box event that continues to bring home the fact that our work has a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of our students.  Listening to them, the very audience we are most trying to impact, as we continue to refine and develop our wellness network is an important piece of the puzzle and one to which The L.A. Trust is fully committed.

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Healthy Orientation for Hollywood High 9th Graders

Hollywood High School continues to search for and find ways of improving the overall health of its student population. Students of the F.A.M.E. Health Club in partnership with Cafeteria Staff distributed fruits and veggies to incoming 9th grade students and their parents to set the healthy tone for the upcoming school year. From the stage, Wendy Siguenza, President of F.A.M.E. Heath Club promoted Hollywood High's Wellness Center to all, and followed with distribution of flyers and Healthy Eating and Active Living brochures, the program on campus sponsored by the Kaiser Permanente Community Benefits Program. 

Trust Leaves Mark at District Nursing Orientation

As mentioned above, on Monday, August 11, over 500 LAUSD school nurses gathered at Luminaria's restaurant in Monterey Park to meet the newly hired Director of District Nursing, Tonya Ross, hear from Dr. Debra Duardo, Executive Director of Student Health and Human Services on the emerging integrated school health policy and prepare for the coming year. As part of the all day meeting, Maryjane, a featured speaker, highlighted the important role every school nurse can and hopefully will play across the district as the LAUSD wellness network's reach expands.  She reinforced that the Wellness Center is a resource that the nurses can use when referring students who need access to more comprehensive medical, mental and oral health care. To show our respect and admiration, The L.A. Trust provided each attendee with an L.A. Trust pen on a lanyard which proved quite popular!



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Outside State Senator Kevin de Leon's office from left to Right: Krystle Gupilan, Vidya Yakkudi, Diane Webber, Sang Leng Trieu, Tania Funes, Kathy Matthews, Maryjane Puffer, and Deborah Ebrahemi. 

Trust Pays Visit to Senator, 
Makes Case for School-Based Health Care

Advocacy is an important part of the mission of The L.A. Trust.  Last week, a group of Trust staff and interns made a legislative visit to Senator Kevin de Leon’s district office (24th District) to ask him to become a health champion for school-based health centers. We were pleased to be able to bring to his attention the school-based health center movement, its history and utter effectiveness. We also asked him to visit a wellness center or school-based health center in his district. He was welcoming and interested. The meeting was a great start to a long term relationship building effort with the Senator who is an advocate for public schools and has worked to empower working families and the poor.


Upon Whose Shoulders We Stand: Jo Ann Yanagimoto-Pinedo

Jo Ann joined The L.A. Trust Board of Directors in 2012. She brings a wealth of knowledge around health care management, having worked with both CIGNA and L.A. Care. She graduated from California State University with a Masters in Health Care Administration. 

Why do you choose to serve on The L.A. Trust Board?

Kids must be healthy to learn. Seeing how the Trust was working to establish school-based wellness centers, I realized this is an important way to get “health” back into our schools. It is what drew me to want to be a board member.

What are you hopeful about going forward?
Having been on the strategic planning committee, it’s exciting that we have an updated living, breathing document – a roadmap we’re going to use to meet the goals we’ve established.  

What’s meaningful to you about the work?
I’m really excited that we have such a strong, esteemed group of board members who genuinely enjoy each other and share a common goal. It’s one of the beautiful things about this work. We are a community.  

To say we feel fortunate to have Jo Ann on The L.A. Trust Board of Directors is the understatement of the century.
Jo Ann Yanagimoto-Pinedo 
Board of Directors
The L.A. Trust for Children's Health

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