HPHP Bay Area: Multicultural Wellness Walks

Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) is a worldwide campaign to encourage healthy active fun in the outdoors while appreciating and taking care of our parks and open space areas. Through the HPHP/Park Rx program, the Park District is working to support health and wellness among the undeserved communities by offering special programs to introduce their members to our parklands.

The Park Distinct holds six Multicultural Wellness Walks annually. These walks are co-sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and the Regional Parks Foundation. Each walk attracts an average of 140 participants, ages 2 to 80+. They represent the diverse communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties - Latino, Korean, Chinese, African American, Filipino, South Asian and Middle Eastern. During the walk, participants are encouraged to relax their mind and engage their five senses. The walk gives them the opportunity to connect with families and to make new friends.

The Wellness Walks typically range from 2 to 2.5 hours. Each walk is led by a Park naturalist who presents on the unique history of  the park, the wildlife and natural resources; and a health instructor, such as a yoga teacher, nutritionist, fitness trainer, sound therapist, performance artist, or laughter yoga practitioner. The instructor engages the participants in dynamic movements and activities that create flexibility, build resilience and reduce stress. The walk often concludes with games and heart circles where participants share their experience of their day in Nature with each other. After this, they partake in a shared meal of ethnic cuisine.

The goal of the Wellness walks is to create a communal experience of walking together in the parks as well as to build bridges of cultural understanding and appreciation across cultures. Returnees at these Wellness Walks comprise over 65% of the participants, with 85% reporting that they feel relaxed and connected to Nature after the walks, and 70% reporting they have interacted with people from another culture, and 90% reporting they like the eclectic food.

Wellness Walks

Ivan Dickson Multicultural Trail Maintenance Day

Since 1996, the Ivan Dickson Volunteer Trail Maintenance Program has coordinated and led hundreds of trail projects with volunteers contributing thousands of hours of volunteer work.

As a result of participating in the Multicultural Wellness Walks, many of the participants have, over time, joined in conservation efforts to repair and maintain the trails they hike on. The Park District has partnered with the ethnic media who regularly outreach to their readers and listeners, keeping them informed through reports and interviews with park staff.

Media Coverage

Jul 12, 2014 – Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks, Hayward

Hyundae Korean News USANewspaper Article (Korean) Adobe Acrobat PDF

Aug 10, 2013 - Redwood Regional Park, Oakland

New Tang Dynasty TV, TV Broadcast (Chinese) 
News story on volunteers pruning and restoring trails. Includes interviews in English with several community leaders and Park District staff.

Buenas Tardes con Celina KZSF 1370 AM, Radio Broadcast (Spanish)
Interviews with student-volunteers, who talked about their love for the regional trails and their experience helping improve the environment.

Hyundae Korean News USA, Newspaper Article (Korean) 
Story on Northern California Korean-American Alpine Club members removing vegetation and repairing trails damaged by erosion. This was their second year of service.

Jul 4, 2012 - Garin Regional Park, Hayward

Hyundae Korean News USA, Newspaper Article (Korean) 
Article on Northern California Korean-American Alpine Club members volunteering at the event. This was their first time volunteering at a park. They removed vegetation and repaired trails damaged by erosion.

Nov 15, 2014 – Sunol Regional Wilderness, Sunol

New Tang Dynasty TV, TV Broadcast (Chinese) 
A doctor from Children’s Hospital in Oakland, a Park District partner in the new Parks Rx program that aims at bringing at-risk children and their families outdoors for health and recreation, attended this walk.

Sound of Hope Radio, TV Broadcast and Online Video (Chinese) 
Interviews in English and Chinese with a diverse group of participants in this walk. Participants learned to sing “butterfly” in many languages, including Tagalog, Farsi, Arabic, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.

Oct 18, 2014 – Lake Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley

New Tang Dynasty TV, TV Broadcast (Chinese) 
Music made with natural elements highlighted this nature walk. People learned about the trees and birds that inhabit the lake and its surroundings. Nature displays and naturalists were at hand for participants. At the end, the Korean Hiking Club offered food and camaraderie. Interviews with staff and participants in English.

Aug 16, 2014 – Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, Oakland

New Tang Dynasty TV, TV Broadcast (Chinese) 
Interviews in English with participants and Park District staff. About 100 people attended this event. It included learning basic yoga movements and laughter yoga exercises.

Sound of Hope Radio, Radio Broadcast and Online Video (Chinese) 
Interviews with participants and staff in English. A Park District Naturalist taught participants about the shoreline and the habitat it provides for birds and other wildlife.

Oct 5, 2013 - Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont

New Tang Dynasty TV, TV Broadcast (Chinese) 
About 70 first-time participants from the multicultural community hiked and learned about the history of the park, the wildlife habitats, and the Ohlone culture.

Healthy Parks Healthy People Festivals

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