Mendez and Roosevelt High students to face-off in culinary battle

Posted 04/15/2015 | By HealthCorps

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Guests at Highway to Health Festival include Los Angeles Lakers talent and chefs Marco Zapien, Ron Russell and Vegan Moni

Los Angeles (April 8, 2015) – Students from Boyle Heights’ high schools and surrounding schools will meet under the same roof for a day of health-focused activities and education, including a culinary showdown.

The L.A. Highway to Health (#H2HLA) will be held Saturday, April 11, at Mendez High. In partnership with HealthCorps – a nonprofit founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa to combat childhood obesity – and the Active Alliance, a California-based partnership designed to educate and inspire children to become physically and mentally fit, the school will host:

  • special appearances by the L.A. Lakers and Laker girls
  • physical activities such as yoga, Zumba, tai chi and jiu jitsu
  • mental resilience activities, including meditation
  • nutritional activities, such as cooking demos, samples and a school battle
  • a walnut cracking competition, sponsored by the California Walnut Board
  • guest chefs including Ron Russell, co-owner of SunCafé Organic, Chef Marco Zapien of Melissa’s Produce, and Moni Perez of Vegan Moni
  • health screenings and tests

“The Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation is excited to participate in another Active Alliance community outreach event with HealthCorps,” said Jeanie Buss, president of the Lakers. “Being able to share our message of health and wellness with the community is rewarding for the Lakers organization, and we look forward to seeing students and their families Saturday.”

The high schools will also have an opportunity for some friendly rivalry during “Teen Battle Chef,” in which teams will prepare surprise dishes using ingredients from Melissa’s Produce. Each team will take a popular meal and rework it into a healthier recipe that includes at least three different fruits or vegetables. Teams will then present their dish to a judge’s panel and discuss the recipe’s origins and how their substitutions – such as walnuts in lieu of meat – have enhanced the meal’s nutritional makeup.

The event is expected to inspire more than 1,000 students and family members from the Boyle Heights community through interactive, fun fitness, nutrition and mental resilience activities.

“Our L.A. Highway to Health Festival (#H2HLA) is a great example of the Active Alliance partnership between the California Endowment, California’s professional basketball teams and HealthCorps,” said Michelle Bouchard, president of HealthCorps. “We share a vision for a healthy California and physically and mentally strong youth. Our event at Mendez High School provides great examples of how we inspire youth and their families to be healthy.”

Mendez High is one of 16 schools that comprise the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools – a nonprofit built in collaboration with the city, LAUSD and over 1,000 public and private partners, with the goal of transforming LAUSD’s lowest performing schools in Boyle Heights, Watts and South L.A.

By offering Highway to Health festivals, HealthCorps promotes awareness of a healthy lifestyle’s benefits, especially nutrition, physical fitness and mental resiliency. Empowering students to become educated consumers and health activists, HealthCorps Coordinators and students, with the help of our partner organizations, take our upbeat message to underserved communities.

HealthCorps is active in 55 schools across 11 states and the District of Columbia. Through the Active Alliance, California’s professional basketball teams partner with two to four HealthCorps schools and execute Alliance programming in tandem with community relations staff from the teams. The program was founded by the California Endowment.

Saturday, April 11, noon to 4 p.m.

Mendez High School (main gym)
1200 Plaza Del Sol
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(off the 5 South – Mission Road exit)

PRESS: Members of the press are welcome to attend, as there will be powerful visual and story-telling opportunities. Please contact us to facilitate interviews before or after the event; we look forward to working with you.

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