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Tuesday June 27th 2017

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SPRING RENEWAL with Latino Environmental Health Begins At Home A Community Health Action Team (CHAT) of the Backyard Initiative

Bertha Medina, Latino Environmental Health Begins At Home (LEHBAH) CHAT leader talks with families about safe cleaning products outside of her beauty shop on Lake Street.

The Latino Environmental Health Begins At Home (LEHBAH) CHAT works with Latino families to learn how they can contribute to creating a healthy environment for their families and community. The first stage of the effort is to teach Latinos how to make healthy products to clean the home and to support each other to maintain a healthy environment.

LEHBAH’s vision is to improve the health of the Latino adults and children by creating a healthier indoor environment for Latino families while building connections and community between families. We have trained over 100 people during the last several years. Through the efforts of our BYI Community Health Action Team, we have developed curriculum for the Latino community on safe household cleaners. We have also trained a team of people to become trainers who conduct a healthy home audit and clean kitchens with natural products.

Work sessions are held in people’s home who have signed up to have their kitchen cleaned. Participants learn: 1) to create cleaning products from natural, environmentally safe ingredients; 2) where they can buy the ingredients and how to use them; 3) what the benefits (inexpensive and healthier) are for using these products instead of their usual products 4) to draw on their cultural traditions and backgrounds as healthy resources; and, 5) to reframe or redefine what “clean” means. For example, a product that attacks germs in a kitchen might mean the product is also doing harm to one’s body, especially children. Many simple products like soap, water, vinegar, etc., can destroy germs.

LEHBAH team member’s work on cleaning a stove safely in a family’s home.

Our Community Health Action Team also educates about environmentally safe and culturally appropriate cleaning methods using an approach that might be more comfortable ways for people to take in the information. We host cleaning sessions where extended family, friends and neighbors can attend so that it feels more like a community gathering than just a cleaning event.

One-on-one sessions are conducted with single men who live alone in apartments or single-room occupancy situations.

The work of LEHBAH is consistent with the cultural understand that cleaning is not just about the physical, but it is also spiritual. Our hope is this will lead to families continuing to support each other and build community.

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