Blue Shield Promise Health Plan members, community neighbors, and local nonprofit groups in the Lynwood community of Los Angeles County gathered at the Lynwood Community Resource Center on May 20 to celebrate 15 years since the Center first opened.
Lynwood was the first of 11 Community Resource Centers now jointly operated by Blue Shield Promise and L.A. Care Health Plan. By year-end, there will be 14 total Centers in the network, offering programs and services focused on improving physical and mental health.
The celebration drew nearly 1,000 visitors and featured speeches, a dedication to former employee Angel Mendoza, who made significant contributions in the early years of the Center, and festive activities including free haircuts for children, face painting, games, salsa dancing, a DJ, and a taco truck.
“These Centers have become beacons of hope and support for countless individuals and families in need. They provide a safe place for everyone to come together and be active, healthy, and informed,” said Sandra Rose, senior director of Community and Provider Engagement, Blue Shield Promise. “That’s a testament to the staff here, who are so committed to making a difference in their community every day.”
Sonia Carrillo, a local community member, has been coming to the Lynwood Center since it opened, bringing her four children along so she could take advantage of the fitness classes. She got hooked on the Pilates classes, which kept her coming back often. Today, her favorite activity is salsa dance classes.
“Exercise makes me feel motivated and right now taking salsa lessons helps me improve my mobility and keeps my joints flexible,” she said. “Throughout the years coming here, I have learned a little bit of everything that is related to health.”
Another community member, Yolanda Limon, discovered the Center five years ago when she was invited to visit by a nutritionist. Limon wanted to learn how to cook healthier meals that would help her manage her diabetes. She now comes twice a week and has learned new, healthy recipes for herself and her family, while also losing 15 pounds. She also has participated in art therapy classes to help her deal with stress.
One thing both women say the Community Resource Center has helped them do is make new friends and develop a stronger sense of community. For Carrillo, that means being able to “celebrate good times and support each other during bad times” while encouraging each other to live healthier.
Limon said she has brought friends who also are trying to manage their diabetes, so they can get the same help that has worked for her.
“I am honored to be here as a guest for the 15th anniversary of the Center, and I also see this as a celebration of my own results,” Limon said. “I am happy to see more and more people interested in coming to learn like I did.”
The Community Resource Centers provide an array of services designed to improve health and build healthy communities. Local residents are able to take free fitness classes, learn about nutrition and healthy cooking, get vaccinated and get in-person help navigating their Medi-Cal benefits.
To learn more about the Community Resource Centers, visit www.CommunityResourceCenterLA.org.