Our Youth, Our Community, Our Future!

Your neighborhood shouldn’t determine how long you’ll live, but in most cases it does. Because where we live, affects how we live. In a healthy neighborhood, children ride bikes and play together in accessible parks. Young people have opportunities to grow and learn. Parents buy healthy affordable food and have access to resources that they need in their communities, are safe and is a place where our youth can learn and thrive. 

BHC Merced’s Neighborhoods Action Team (NAT):

The Building Healthy Communities Merced Neighborhoods Action Team aims to change the public conversation regarding health by focusing on its future, its youth. Merced County has one of the highest levels of disconnected youth in the state. With almost 14 percent of Merced’s youth between the ages of 16 to 24 neither working nor in school; The Neighborhoods Action Team is advocating for full commitment among public officials and our local government to prioritize full involvement of young people in their decision-making process and institutionalize funding services for youth opportunities, development, and leadership programs. 


Simply put it, the focus is #InvestInYouth; It is about increasing youth voice and inclusion of ALL youth in civic decision-making processes and local bodies that impact their health, and our future.

Neighborhoods Action Team Members

Current Members

Marisol Aguilar - California Rural Legal Assistance 

Rachelle Abril  - Distinguished Outreach Services, MOJO

Luis Castillo - California Rural Legal Assistance 

Hector Ramirez- Communities for a New California 

Alejandro Carrillo - Communities for a New California 

Andres Reyes - We'Ced Youth Media 

Sol Rivas - Parent Leadership Training Institute, MCOE 

Stacie Bradford (Lead) - Action Team Facilitator 

Kelly Turner - Symple Equazion

Marilyn Mochel - Health Equity Project 

Michelle Xiong  - Building Healthy Communities Merced


We believe that a healthy neighborhood requires a proactive and thriving youth population. Where all youth have a chance to health and safe community filled with opportunities to grow and learn. Because our youth is our future. Investing in Merced's future means investing in our youth. In response to years of disinvestment the Building Healthy Communities Neighborhoods Action Team is on the front lines with local partners, allies, and young-people to advocate youth inclusion in decision making practices and policies.

What We're Doing:

Advocacy has led to the establishment of a Merced City Youth Council 
Encouraging local governments to invest in youth opportunities and heighten awareness of the importance of of long-term investments in youth.
From more information about parent and civic engagement, contact Michelle Xiong at (209) 383-4242 or Michelle@bhcmerced.org