Resident Leaders Take Charge

At YES, we believe that everyone deserves access to safe outdoor spaces, clean air and water, and healthy food. Our Wellness program is grounded in grassroots peer leadership and advocacy practices, and it supports the leadership of African American and Latino caregivers with whom YES engages and develops as leaders in their communities.

In 2012, upon returning from Family Camp and at the request of participants, YES convened a multiethnic group of adults in Richmond to deepen and formalize peer health advocacy. The group of 10 became known as the Wellness Navigators and has since grown into 18 resident leaders in the community.

The Wellness program is the second, in-depth phase of YES’s adult leadership pathway. It seeks to address chronic health and justice issues that disproportionately impact people of color in Richmond including obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, community violence, and environmental problems in the built environment.

YES’s Wellness program utilizes peer-led wellness leadership models to achieve greater wellness outcomes in Richmond. Wellness Navigators are engaged in trainings that develop leadership skills, including facilitation, advocacy, and school wellness policy trainings. They gain education related to health and wellness themes they have identified to promote in their communities as well as plan and facilitate activities for their peers at Family Camp and across greater Richmond.

YES Wellness Navigators have led community-wide efforts such as the “Be Smarter, Drink Water” campaign that educated residents on the benefits of drinking tap water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Currently, YES Wellness Navigators are engaged in updating the school district’s school wellness policy and are participating in Richmond’s Food Policy Council.

As a result of their engagement and skill training, YES strives to develop adult leaders who achieve economic self-sufficiency, have healthy family and social relationships and who make a meaningful contribution in their community.

To learn more about our Wellness program, please email Tana Monteiro, Community Wellness Coordinator: