Breathe SoCal’s O24U® environmental educational program empowers youth in underserved Los Angeles communities with the health education tools necessary to improve their indoor and outdoor environments, manage lung health risks, and prevent related illnesses such as asthma. The program uniquely addresses environmental education and encourages youth to become advocates for clean air and healthy lungs by promoting sustainable behaviors in support of a healthier environment and greater lung health for themselves and their community.
O24U®places special emphasis on engaging children living in disproportionately impacted communities by the social determinants of health. We target grades 3-8 to align with California Environmental Education Initiative principles. Curriculum topics range from air pollution and health concepts to practical solutions that everyone can take to reduce harmful emissions and mitigate effects of air pollution and toxic indoor environments. Students complete an O24U® ‘Be Green’ commitment at the beginning of the program, pledging to play an important role sharing environmentally friendly habits with friends, family, and their community.
O24U® utilizes a train-the-trainer approach with on-going technical support. Breathe SoCal health educators train after-school facilitators to ensure their understanding and ability to teach the curriculum to children. Additionally, each student takes pre- and post- tests and facilitators implement one activity per module. Breathe SoCal health educators monitor student knowledge gain and provide incentive items/certificates to students upon completion of the program. As a result of our success, many students report positive behavior changes such as recycling and reduced resource consumption.
- Indoor Toxins and Air Pollution
- CO2 and Climate Change
- Renewable Energy Sources
- Environmental Justice
Modules include fun, interactive activities that educate and empower students to become advocates for clean air within their homes, schools and communities.
Thank you to our feature sponsor, Edison International, for helping make O24U® possible in our communities.
FiRST! is Breathe Southern California’s tobacco and nicotine prevention program. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The FiRST! program aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge to resist tobacco and nicotine use and empower them to lead the first smoke-free generation. The program curriculum covers the health and environmental consequences of tobacco and nicotine use, developing assertive communication skills, and utilizing social advocacy strategies to promote community health. FiRST! is designed to provide adolescents with the ability to confidently choose a tobacco- and nicotine-free lifestyle, and to advocate for the health and well-being of their communities.
Lung Power delivers asthma management education in a family entertainment-based setting. Our goal is to engage, educate, and empower both youth and their caregivers so that we can reduce school absenteeism, increase asthma medication compliance, and decrease exacerbations, as well as fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Our first pilot program, “Family Asthma Day at the Aquarium,” was held in May 2019 at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. Asthma rates among youth in Long Beach alone are the highest in the region. Fifteen percent of Long Beach youth suffer from asthma compared to eight percent overall for Los Angeles County.
Lung Power came about as a response to the fact that air quality in the Los Angeles region is the worst in the nation. Pediatric asthma cases in Los Angeles County result in more than 20,000 emergency room visits, and almost 3,000 hospitalizations each year. Many of these visits are avoidable through patient and family education focused on improving asthma management and timely care-seeking behavior. Our goal for Lung Power is to hold four events each year in different family-friendly locations throughout Southern California.
Adult Lung Health Workshops offer adults and seniors lung capacity screening tests by a Registered Respiratory Therapist and provide lung health and wellness information to encourage healthier lifestyle habits and seek appropriate care earlier.
- An ability to identify risk factors and triggers for COPD as they relate to smoking, airborne environments, and indoor toxins
- Greater awareness of COPD risk
- Greater motivation to advocate for quality care services for themselves and their communities
- Reduction in ER visits and hospital admission rates due to COPD-related symptoms
The Vaping Trend: Clearing the Air is an anti-vaping workshop seeks to shed light on one of the newest public health issues affecting youth–the use of e-cigarettes. Many parents are unaware of the health risks posed by vaping.
The Vaping Trend: Clearing the Air is a 20-minute interactive presentation, intended for parents and other concerned adults, and provided by our Breathe SoCal health educators in both English and Spanish.
- What it means to “vape”
- Different electronic nicotine delivery systems
- The ways in which youth are accessing e-cigarettes
- The major health concerns related to e-cigarette use
- The signs that a pre-teen/teen is vaping
Breathe SoCal’s Film Series screening events are networking and engagement opportunities for local community members to join an exclusive showing of films relevant to the pursuit of our mission including air quality and environmental health, climate change, lung disease and improved population health. Film Series events include moderated panelist discussions from local leaders on the topic(s) showcased. Film series provide increased visibility for issues presented with attendees exposed to a greater local-level awareness of environmental and lung health issues.
Breathe SoCal’s young professionals group for residents who are interested in meeting up monthly to discuss key topics and issues affecting the Los Angeles county area in relation to clean air and healthy living. The group welcomes anyone who shares a passion for environmental issues and sustainable causes to join and make connections with others who share their thoughts, interests and passions for improving the future of Southern California.
The young professionals’ group page serves as a forum for members to post about environmental news and sustainability events in SoCal!
We are committed to ensuring we remain at the forefront of medical advancements in lung health and clean air. We are continuously working towards making our educational programs more accessible to those who need it most while simultaneously raising visibility on the importance of the environment and healthcare programs we support.
Advocacy & Public Policy
Assembly Bill 2293 (Mayes) is the Broadening Research, Education, Awareness, Treatment, and Health for Everyone with COPD (BREATHE with COPD) Act of 2020. AB 2293 aims to increase research, diagnosis, and funding for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and find new treatments that will help patients live longer and with a greater quality of life.
COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and refractory asthma. This disease is characterized by increasing difficulty in breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightening. COPD is incurable, but it can be managed to slow the progression of the disease. Nationally, COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death, and in California, it is the fifth.
According to National Institute of Health findings, despite nearly 150,000 COPD-related deaths each year, government funding for disease research and programs is dwarfed by funding for other diseases. Among all diseases and conditions receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2019, COPD ranks 172nd. Because Washington will not step up to address this clear need, we need Sacramento to do its part.
Breathe Southern California has taken positions on current legislative bills in accordance with our statewide priorities for the 2019-2020 legislative session. We have been actively tracking topics of concern (Tobacco & E-Cigarettes, Green Technology, Air Quality, Respiratory Health Management) as they influence state policy and ultimately work in favor or against the respiratory health and wellbeing of the vulnerable populations we serve.
End Diesel Now
End Diesel Now is Breathe SoCal’s advocacy campaign urging elected and appointed officials to end the use, sale, and distribution of diesel fuel now in Southern California to protect the health of current and future residents!
Flavored Tobacco/Vaping Bans
Flavored Tobacco/Vaping Bans across Los Angeles County have been front and center, with Breathe SoCal working on and advocating for a ban to keep our residents’ lungs smoke-free and healthy. Our goal is to promote educational and prevention initiatives surrounding lung disease.
Breathe SoCal is committed to protecting the health of all residents. As a member of the Los Angeles Families Fighting Flavored Tobacco Coalition, Breathe SoCal Is advocating for an end to the sale of flavored tobacco throughout Los Angeles County.
The tobacco industry continues to push flavored tobacco products that hook kids on nicotine, which has disastrous health effects, including harming brain development. At Breathe SoCal, we provide educational programming throughout the County. We have made presentations stressing the horrific impacts of flavored tobacco products to over 1,200 community members, including teachers, parents, students, and law enforcement. We have seen from every angle the devastating impact flavored tobacco, including menthol, has had on our residents, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Our work has led to success efforts in advancing the ending of the sale of flavored tobacco in several localities including Beverly Hills, Carson, Long Beach, Los Angeles County, Pasadena, and West Hollywood. Our work on this important issue continues, including in the Cities of Compton, El Monte, Glendale, and Los Angeles.