GAVA's uses community organizing to improve equitable access to healthy lifestyles by engaging and developing community leaders who identify, initiate, and lead efforts to reduce barriers to healthy food and safe physical activity in their neighborhoods and schools.  We recognize that it is necessary, but not sufficient, to educate individuals on healthy nutrition and physical activity to achieve behavioral change. Rather than simply delivering programs, GAVA provides opportunities for residents to engage and take ownership in the built environment, policy, and health promotion. The collective efficacy of this network encourages peers, friends, and neighbors to champion a culture of health in their daily lives, and to civically and socially engage to support positive changes in their community environment.

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theory of change

GAVA’s theory of change rests on two evidence-based pillars:

  1. Access to built environment elements such as parks and healthy food in stores influences healthy behavior changes; and

  2. Encouraging people from the neighborhood to lead these projects will increase relevancy, community ownership, and community utilization.

GAVA aims to reduce obesity by increasing access to and utilization of physical activity and healthy food resources for more than 100,000 residents, and we do this by  creating the space and connections for neighborhood leaders to transform the assets in their community.

Our five sectors

GAVA conducts work in 5 sectors - physical activity, community food, early childhood, schools, and community safety - to build a comprehensive culture of health within the communities we serve. To date, GAVA works with more than 35 resident-led teams who have brought infrastructure improvements to 86% of the assets in these two zip codes.

Click each of the links below to learn more about this work.