Project SOAR Takes 5-4-3-2-1 Go! Promotion to New Heights

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Jill Zubrod-Hernandez

by Jill Zubrod-Hernandez MPH, Health Educator

This past summer was a flurry of 5-4-3-2-1 Go!™ outreach thanks to our wonderful partnership with Project SOAR.  Project SOAR is a multifaceted family literacy program working with Head Start affiliated children, parents, and teens to develop literacy, leadership and employment skills.  It is housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Learn more about Project SOAR here.

This has been a great example of a partner organization taking the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message and running with it!  First, I trained the Team Leaders in the message and taught them how to lead games that were developed to reinforce the message recommendations.  (Learn more about CLOCC’s 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message here.)  Then the message spread like wildfire as the Team Leaders trained their Teen Nutrition Aides (200+ teens) in the message and related activities.  Once trained and ready to spread the message, the teens were deployed to 70+ sites across Chicago participating in the Summer Nutrition Program.  In total, over 1,250 children were reached with the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message multiple times throughout the summer.  For more information on Project SOAR, contact Sam Austin, Youth Team Leader, at or 312-413-7403.

Children at one center applying what they have learned by sorting food and activity model cards into categories based on the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! message.

Teen Nutrition Aides commonly got the request to do “stations” with the preschool age kids. Here are children in two stations, one mastering their hula hoop skills, while the other practices tossing and catching a ball.

Following their physical activity stations, the Teen Aides made sure to have the children stretch out!

Creating a Healthy Environment at Cameron School

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Mara Lazdins

by Mara Lazdins, School Programs Intern 

Recently, Cameron Elementary School, located in West Humboldt Park, successfully completed CLOCC’s  Healthy School Environment Assessment, a tool that helps schools identify current practices, policies, and programs for promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Through the process, 16 staff, with assistance from CLOCC and the Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness, identified several areas for improvement. In the action plan, they outlined specific goals including: incorporate nutrition education into the classroom and expand opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day.

Cameron, a school with a population of over 1,000 students, does not have the space or capacity to offer physical education on a weekly basis for every child. However, the school does provide 20 minutes of recess daily for grades K-8. To address their concern that students were not getting enough exercise, Cameron staff immediately recognized recess as an opportunity to maximize students’ time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity, through structured, high energy activities.

On September 23, CLOCC staff (Health Educator Jill Zubrod, Community Networker Ed Boone, School Programs Coordinator Anna Barnes, and I) trained a group of four recess monitors and two physical education teachers on the 5-4-3-2-1-Go!™ message as well as games to promote the message. This was CLOCC’s first workshop specifically designed to support a school in implementing the message and activities into a school’s daily schedule, and it was received with high enthusiasm.

The group learned several games that could be incorporated into recess, and CLOCC provided the equipment and tools to enhance these activities such as hula hoops, buckets, jump ropes, and plastic food models. The participants also brainstormed solutions to some of their concerns with CLOCC staff and agreed to try some new methods and strategies over the next few weeks to address specific concerns. CLOCC will return to Cameron in a few weeks to visit a few recess sessions in action, gather feedback from the recess monitors and PE instructors, and provide ongoing technical assistance and support.

For more information on CLOCC’s school-focused work, contact Anna Browar at 312-227-7104 or

Promoting Healthy Eating in East Humboldt Park

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Miguel Morales

by Miguel Morales, Community Networker

A stroll through the broad, tree-lined sidewalks of Paseo Boricua, Division Street between California and Western, reveals the sights, sounds and smells of Puerto Rico – pastel colored buildings with Spanish-style facades reminiscent of old San Juan stand on either side; vendors selling coconut ice cream in small paper cups ring the small bells on their push carts; and the scent of sofrito, the tangy base of Puerto Rican cuisine, wafts in the air.  This last sensory experience is probably the most common one, given this neighborhood is the restaurant and business district of East Humboldt Park.

If you walk into one these restaurants, you might see a table tent featuring a healthy menu item that contains fresh produce. This is part of a new initiative by CLOCC partner Community Organizing Obesity Prevention in Humboldt Park (CO-OP HP), a project of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC). In 2009, CLOCC helped to fund Buen Provecho, a project in which local Puerto Rican restaurants modify one of their menu items to feature fresh produce and prepare them in a healthier way. Currently, the restaurants involved are La Bruquena, Coco, La Plena, Papa’s Cache Sabroso, Nellie’s and Café Colao.

In 2004, the PRCC, CLOCC and other partners formed CO-OP HP as a response to the high rates of overweight and obesity among children in West Town and Humboldt Park, which surpassed 60%. CO-OP HP began to engage the neighborhood in programming aimed at changing the built environment and addressing access to healthy food available to the community. CO-OP HP through Buen Provecho is also working with local bodegas to stock and sell fresh produce or products that contain fresh produce – see the photos below.

For more information on CO-OP HP and Buen Provecho, go to or  You can also contact Jose Luis Rodriguez, Program Manager, at


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Welcome to the new CLOCC blog!  We look forward to sharing more in-depth information about the work we do – our projects, people, and partnerships.  Read, comment, and share!