The Del Norte County and tribal lands (DNATL) Building Healthy Communities initiative is a collaborative of residents, community organizations, and service providers that are working together to make DNATL the model of a healthy rural community. The Del Norte County and tribal lands (DNATL) area includes approximately 29,000 people and is located in the northwest corner of California. The DNATL BHC site includes four federally-recognized tribes: Elk Valley Rancheria, Resigini Rancheria,Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, and the Yurok Tribe.
Despite the abundant natural resources, DNATL is facing many challenges, including high rates of substance abuse, low rates of high school graduation and post-secondary degrees, and high unemployment. It is against these odds that residents and other stakeholders are coming together to create a healthier DNATL—a charge being led in large part by the youth.
DNATL believes children should dream about their futures—and those dreams should be framed by family, health, safety, economic security, education, and hope. Their dreams are the community responsibility and early intervention and prevention are the critical keys to strengthening families, ensuring the economic assets of the families, preventing families from entering the justice and child welfare systems, instilling a life-long love of learning, and enhancing the health of every resident.
Improving Student Success: The School System Implementation Team builds a healthier Del Norte County through a strategic partnership with a shared commitment to guarantee that all students are contributing community members prepared for college and careers. The team educates students and parents about educational achievement and school health outcomes, and ensures community voices are heard in District decision-making and the Local Control Accountability Plan. In partnership with the school district, the School Team hosted multiple community forums in 2014 to support student and family engagement. See here and here.
Youth Leadership and Empowerment: The Youth Strategy Team connects and supports groups, programs and organizations that provide leadership development and empowerment to youth. Through the BHC Youth Training Academy, youth are provided with modules that support healthy behaviors, civic engagement, job, and personal skill development and real-world experiences.
Building People Power: True North Organizing Network leaders have earned victories in school health, access to neighborhood recreation, preserving cultural practices, and reducing access to alcohol. True North leaders hosted a non-partisan forum for Del Norte County Unified School Board candidates. To learn more click here.
Growing Community Capacity and Support for a Healthy Food System: The Community Food Council for Del Norte County and tribal lands works to improve access to healthy foods and beverages in neighborhoods and schools; builds resident capacity to grow and prepare their own food; increases economic opportunities for the local food system; and educates the community about food- and nutrition-related issues that impact lives.