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Healthy Local Teen Honored by State

South High School junior Oscar Encinas was recently honored as California's Young Champion for Change by the Network for a Healthy California at ceremonies in Sacramento. Encinas won this award over 15 other statewide nominees because of his lengthy portfolio of public service promoting health lifestyles and obesity prevention in schools and his community. He was nominated for the award by the Kern County Network for Children (KCNC), administered by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office.

           Encinas has long been involved with the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP), operated through KCNC. That connection enabled him to work with Kaiser Permanente, Game Time and Bakersfield Recreation and Parks Department to get a new playground installed in Stiern Park that promotes family fitness and gives children a safe place to play. He made sure the design included accessibility for special needs children.

           Growing up in Greenfield, Encinas and his family attended nutrition classes provided by KCNC and the Greenfield Family Resource Center. He helped start Greenfield Walking Group, volunteers as a local youth soccer coach, sits on the steering committee of the Building Healthy Communities initiative, and represents the county on the Statewide Youth Board on Obesity Prevention. His video on creating positive park graffiti to celebrate cultural traditions was a state finalist in the Mo Project sponsored by California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness.

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