Who We Are
Read about how we are making resources accessible to all communities HERE!
The Community Health Ambassador Program (CHAMP) is comprised of individuals who are compassionate, resilient, and committed to promoting resident-driven health initiatives, supporting resident empowerment, and leadership. They also serve as a feedback loop for the Community Wellness Program to provide the best practices within the Hope SF communities.
The Peer Health Leader Program, now known as the CHAMP initiative, transitioned to San Francisco’s Department of Public Health in 2014. Since the Urban Services YMCA acquired the contract in June 2016, the program continues to thrive and positively impact Hope SF residents. Within a few years, the team has grown from one director to a team of 16. The Community Health Ambassador Program is committed to creating health and wellness programs within the Hope SF communities, in addition to empowering Health Ambassadors as they become experienced Community Health Workers.
Our Urban Services YMCA Community Health Ambassador Program is committed to building equity through our diversity, inclusion, and engagement efforts. We work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
We choose to place people before program. The Community members are our foundation, without them, we would not be able to differentiate between the actual needs of the community and our perceived needs of the community.
We value diversity while understanding that difference and distance can create discord. We look to break down these barriers and get to know individuals in the communities we serve and to help them better understand our commonalities and differences. We strive to create an environment where all are welcome and supported regardless of their background.
We strive to bring together individuals and organizations with different and complementary skills, resources, methods, and needs, for the purpose of mutual collaboration and community benefit.
We continuously strive to create a safe space within the communities we serve. We have an open-door policy and invite all community and San Francisco residents to partake in our initiatives, services, activities, and events.
A Catalyst for Change
University of California San Francisco - Practicum Students
The Community Health Ambassador Program (CHAMP) is enthusiastic to work with the University of California San Francisco’s Master of Public Health (MPH) Practicum graduate students. The Practicum students are soon to be graduates who commit 300 hours of student service-learning, community-based fieldwork within the Urban Service YMCA project sites. The graduate students and Ambassadors work side-by-side to create and implement effective outreach strategies to engage the community and promote the Community Wellness Center Program services, activities, and events. This dynamic team primarily focuses on health equity, community assessments, and prevention of chronic diseases. They also develop activities that support optimal physical/behavioral holistic health among San Francisco’s Black/African, Hispanic, and Chinese American/Immigrant community and all residents of HOPE SF sites.
American Heart Association - Check. Change. Control.
In partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA), Jenny Lee, a Master of Public Health candidate at the University of San Francisco's School of Nursing and Health Professions, Community Health Ambassadors, and the Community Wellness Centers have implemented AHA’s Check. Change. Control Program. The target is to reach 1000+ adults at the four different sites to support the identification of high blood pressure in high-risk neighborhoods. Community Health Ambassadors have been trained to provide health education within their scope of practice and will provide resources to their community’s residents to improve health outcomes. The program will support healthy living and lower risk of high blood pressure through wellness classes and events.
Community Health Ambassadors (CHA’s) are trained and assessed by Dr. Dory Escobar of the Coaction Institute. The Coaction Institute builds community and institutional capacity focused on Trauma Informed Care. This training allows our CHA’s to better care for themselves and their community members by providing trauma reducing methods, which will ultimately contribute to individual and communal resiliency, mental, and behavioral health.
City College of San Francisco
The Community Health Ambassadors (CHA’s) are currently enrolled in the City College of San Francisco’s (CCSF) Community Health Worker (CHW) Certificate Program. The goal of the Community Health Worker Certificate Program is to prepare and train CHA’s to better understand community-oriented health, provide proper health education, and promote client advocacy in both clinic and community settings. The CHW program has allowed the CHAs to practice what they learn in the classroom within their community.
The Preterm Birth Initiative
In collaboration with San Francisco State University and UCSF Benioff Community Innovation Project, three Community Innovators examined inadequately housed low-income pregnant women in San Francisco. The Community Innovators completed close to 60 interviews with program staff and key systems representatives and held 10 Mama Sharing sessions with over 60 women who have experienced pregnancy, inadequate housing and in many cases, preterm birth. This project concluded in producing an Action Agenda to embark on a campaign to raise awareness and catalyze change.
The Tobacco-Free Project is a community-based project focused on social justice, health equity, and developing Emerging Community Leaders in multi-housing developments, to assess the health and environmental needs of these communities. The Tobacco-Free Project prioritized and led educational and organizational campaigns for tobacco control initiatives, including limiting availability and promotion of tobacco products, developing smoke-free multi-housing units, capacity building of community partners, cessation programs, Health Retail SF, and many others.
Strategies for Community Engagement
Urban Mobile Wellness Outreach
Community-Based Focus Groups
CBO Networking & Collaboration
Phone Calls to residents
Referrals and/or word-of-mouth
Workshops and classes
Collaboration has been key to building a strong community presence and providing effective and efficient services. Across the four Hope SF communities, we have been able to collaborate with many community partners and San Francisco organizations.
Department of Public Health
San Francisco Mayor's Office
American Heart Association
Community College San Francisco
University of San Francisco
Starting my career in marketing for corporate America, I turned my attention to international development when I moved to India and scaled a social enterprise program throughout the country. In my hometown of Turlock, California, I advocated for the creation of programs both supporting the homeless and preventing homelessness. While working at an international non-profit, I spent three years connecting volunteers working at tech companies to grassroots level nonprofits working on issues like human trafficking and the refugee crisis. While at Urban Services YMCA, I am most excited to serve my local community and continue to fight against racial disparities and gender inequality.
Program Coordinator - Outreach & Engagement
Peter is from Michigan – ask him, and he’ll point to where he’s from on his hand. The Bay Area’s warmth lured him here in 2015, and since he’s been helping the YMCA create strong communities and growing the skills of people who call San Francisco home.
Site Manager - Alice Griffith
As the Community Health Ambassador Program Coordinator at Alice Griffith’s Community Wellness Program, I began my career in community work advocating for workers’ rights as a Union Organizer at San Francisco International Airport. While attending San Francisco State University, I had the opportunity to work for the YMCA Bayview Beacon youth program facilitating programming in arts, and health and wellness. I decided to focus my last several years of work addressing the health inequalities impacting youth in the Bayview District. I completed my time with the Bayview Beacon as the HEPA (Healthy Eating Physical Activity) Coordinator supporting six youth programs. I decided to continue my career trajectory in community health and health equity while finding my current position with Alice Griffith Hope SF residents and families, many whom I’ve worked within the past.
Faioso Afoa Angeles
Outreach & Engagement Coordinator - Alice Griffith
I am an Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at Alice Griffith. I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Tutuila, also known as American Samoa. I moved a lot through my childhood and headed to America, US, for a better opportunity for my future. When I first arrived in San Francisco in 2003, I lived with my uncle and his family in Potrero Hill. There I first learned the “Projects”. I enrolled and attended Mission High School as a Junior and Senior and received my Diploma in June 2005. In June 2006, my mother and siblings moved into our own “project” development Alice Griffith, also known as Double Rock. During that time I attended City College of San Francisco as well as Started to Work for Bret Harte Elementary School right next to Alice Griffith. Becoming an Outreaching and Engaging Coordinator for Alice Griffith was something that I believe is best way for me to serve my community.
Community Health Ambassador – Alice Griffith
As a Community Health Ambassador at Alice Griffith working with Dante Casuga, I host a healthy eating class, co-facilitate a Zumba and yoga class, and many other classes. I enjoy helping my community members be more healthy. My passion is helping others and making sure they have the resources and support that they need.
Outreach & Engagement Coordinator - Hunters View
I am a SF native born and raised in Westpoint, California. I'm here for a purpose. I want to be apart of the change. I want the health & wellness for my peoples and I won't stop or give up until its done!
Community Health Ambassador - Hunters View
I am working as Community Health Ambassador in Hunters View. Born and raised in Hunters View, I have experienced first-hand the trials and tribulations my community faces. My ultimate goal is to bring health and wellness to my community so that all residents, including myself, can live life to our fullest potential. I am determined to be a change agent here in Hunters View, and I will now and forever put my best foot forward to establish community resilience.
Community Health Ambassador - Hunters View
Site Manager - Potrero Hill
Hi, I’m Joshua Harrison and I’m the Site Manager for the Community Wellness Program in Potrero Hill. Community work has been a passion of mine because I’m a firm believer that it takes the village to raise village. Being trusted by residents and being allowed to accompany them through the highs and lows of life is true fulfillment for me.
Community Health Ambassador - CI/CT - Potrero Hill
Outreach & Engagement Coordinator - Sunnydale
For the past four years, I have been working with Urban Services YMCA as a Peer Health Leader. Recently, I was promoted to the Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for our Sunnydale Wellness Center. I motivate and advocate for residents and connect them to appropriate services to better their healthy lifestyles. Working and living in the same community can be challenging, but it brings me joy being apart of an organization that values residents and their personal and professional growth. The YMCA organization has instilled in me the importance of compassion and love, and because of this, I am better able to relate and engage with the community I serve -- I love my community!
My name is Ahleir Barnett and I am a community a health Ambassador in Potrero Hill. I’ve lived in this neighborhood all my life and have seen many highs and lows. I truly believe that for change to happen in this community it has to start with me.