The program, a three-year pilot, is billed as an attempt to address climate change "one block at a time," and is intended to build off of the success of existing neighborhood watch groups and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs. The goal is to bring down carbon emissions and water usage on a neighborhood block-by-block level while creating a "healthier, happier, resilient, and more environmentally aware community," according to the city website.
The efforts will be led by individual "block leaders" who receive full-day training by the city on how to roll out the Cool Block program. Block leaders will hold biweekly meetings with nearby residents over four to six months, covering ways to reduce carbon footprints, conserve water and prepare for disasters. Progress will be mapped on a web-based tracking system to show the cumulative effect of the program.
The next block leader training will be held on Sunday in the Mountain View Community Center's Elm Room from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Anyone interested in becoming a block leader who did not attend prior information sessions on the Cool Block program is asked to email [email protected]
The Cool Block program is one part of Mountain View's larger sustainability efforts, and has a $250,000 budget. Half of those costs are being covered by Santa Clara County, which approved $125,000 in matching funds last year to kick off the effort. The goal is to recruit 25 block leaders to help reduce carbon emissions by 25% per household and ensure each participant has assembled an emergency kit. As of Feb. 18, 17 people have signed up, according to city officials.
More information can be found online at collaborate.mountainview.gov/cool-block.
Eating disorder talk at El Camino
A 10-year survivor of an eating disorder is set to speak at El Camino Hospital on Saturday about her journey to recovery.
Camellia Hayat, a 27-year-old living in San Jose, has spent the past decade battling bulimia nervosa and body dysmorphia. After a couple of years in denial about her eating disorder, Hayat said she reached "rock bottom" with her health and decided to pursue treatment.
She spent eight months at an inpatient hospital in Santa Barbara where she became more hopeful about the prospect of recovery.
"The idea that people can recover from an eating disorder was something I didn't believe for a long time," she said.
She started doing yoga and meditation, which she said helped her to get to know her body better, and over time, working with outpatient resources, therapists and nutritionists, she said she's moved forward. Today, she's an advocate and mentor in the eating disorder and mental health communities.
Hayat also volunteers with the Eating Disorders Resource Center, a Campbell-based organization that offers resources to people struggling with, or supporting those who have, eating disorders. There, she said, she helps with outreach to doctors and therapists, leads a free support group and speaks at seminars.
She's hoping that people who may feel confused about how to support someone with an eating disorder or are personally battling an eating disorder will come to the event and that it will help them feel less alone and more supported.
The free event, at which Hayat's parents will also speak, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at El Camino Hospital, located at 2500 Grant Rd. in Mountain View, in Conference Room A.
Meal program for county's kids
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved establishing a "universal meal pilot program" for food-insecure children in county schools.
The program, brought forward by supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Joe Simitian, allows for $8 million spending over four years, at $2 million per year, for schools with over 70 percent of food-insecure students.
Eligible schools have to apply to take part in the program.
The funding could serve an estimated 12,000 students with 3 million meals per year at a cost to the county of about $0.60 per meal, according to the program referral.
Ellenberg said Feb. 11 that the program will provide "significant health and academic benefits."
"Santa Clara County has a critical need for this type of support, particularly given the high cost of living impacting school budgets and family food insecurity for our residents," Ellenberg told the board. "It is my hope the administration can partner with schools and hunger advocates to establish a robust, well-evaluated and replicable pilot in our community that can serve as a model for others."
According to the county, about 68 percent of the county's thousands of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches actually get their discounted lunches, and only 35 percent participate in free or reduced-priced breakfast programs.
This means 30,000 eligible students don't get inexpensive or free meals they could get at lunchtime, and 55,000 students don't get school breakfast when they can, according to the county.
"Addressing childhood hunger is critical to supporting healthy children's growth and development, achieving goals in school readiness and stabilizing families across our community," Ellenberg said.
Tracy Weatherby, vice president of strategy and advocacy for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley -- the organization that partnered with the county to implement the pilot program -- urged the board's support for the pilot program before it passed.
"We live with the food insecurity in our community everyday," Weatherby said. "We think that one in three children are at risk of food insecurity in our communities, and we think that school meals are one of the most crucial tools to make sure those kids are ready to learn and thrive."
According to the county, 17 school districts in the county make up 84 schools eligible for the pilot program, which will run from fall of this year through the spring of 2024.
"We want to build community," Weatherby said. "All the kids should be eating together all the time, everyday. This is how we build countries and communities."
—Bay City News Service
This story contains 1016 words.
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