Creating a FRESH SPACE with Historic Filipinotown Youth


By Ailene Ignacio

In late 2013, APIOPA and Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE) at UCLA, a higher education access project of the UCLA student organization Samahang Pilipino, came together. Our collective goal is twofold: to not only bring about more awareness to health and wellness amongst its Belmont High School (Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles) youth and SPACE staff, but to ignite a stronger passion for community advocacy and change by actual members of the Historic Filipinotown community.

Specifically, in partnership with the Fresh HiFi project, APIOPA and SPACE create a nutrition education workshop series entitle the Finding Reasons to Eat Smart and Healthy (FRESH) SPACE. Based off our previous work with Search To Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA)’s FRESH Program, APIOPA will continue to address nutrition, health, and wellness issues that affect the local community and its residents. However, as opposed to being more of a traditional theoretical curriculum, APIOPA will be leading workshops that demonstrate how the youth can actively participate in food justice movements and make changes in their food desert community, not only during their time in high school, but onwards in their higher education pursuit.


The first FRESH SPACE workshop took place on Thursday, January 30. APIOPA Community Health Liaison and HiFi native, Ailene Ignacio, led the workshop, which challenged youth to be creative with their food, not only through taste, but through nutrition. The students were engaged throughout all of the activities, and showed great enthusiasm! Both APIOPA and SPACE are looking forward to maintaining this momentum and excitement for our remaining seven workshops.

For more information on Fresh HiFi and the FRESH SPACE workshop series, please contact Ailene Ignacio via email at:

For more information on Samahang Pilipino – Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE) at UCLA, please contact SPACE via email

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