The UC San Diego Center for Community Health’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is fortunate to have many great partners, amongst them the California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA). Over the course of the last year, our youth participants have expressed an increasing interest in policy and advocacy on the local and state level. Through the partnership with CFPA, the YAC participants have received training on topics including PhotoVoice, LCAP, and access to school meals.
In partnership with the CFPA, our YAC leader Noun Abdelaziz, a senior from Scripps Ranch High School, was invited to speak to the California legislation on behalf of SB 138. In June, Noun flew to Sacramento and provided testimony to the California State legislation on why school meals are an essential tool for California students. In just over two minutes, Noun provided the state legislators with her family’s story of difficulties accessing school lunches as well as stating facts about hunger and its impact on education. Noun asserted that elements of SB 138, such as utilizing Medi-Cal records to automatically enroll students in school lunches, would reduce students’ perceptions of stigma and would make the school lunchroom a more equitable place.
SB 138 was signed into law in October of this year, and thanks to advocates such as Noun and organizations such as the CFPA, many more California students will be better prepared to do well in school.
To learn more about SB 138 and hunger in San Diego, read this article.
To listen to Noun’s testimony, watch this video.