Most of the Backyard Initiative’s work was done by Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs), which were community-led health improvement projects organized around a particular disease, a culturally-defined issue, or a specific approach. The initiative was led by the Cultural Wellness Center.

  • The Backyard Initiative had 12 CHATs, three of which (Assessment, Evaluation, and Communications) provided resources to CHATs to support their work.
  • As a group, CHATs completed approximately 10,000 health improvement activities annually.
  • More than 15%, community members participated in CHAT activities annually and 175 residents actively lead the CHATs.

“Being a part of the activity has brought more awareness to me around the importance of being active and being a positive member of my community. We can, and we are, making the changes we wish to see in the Backyard and in the world.”

– A CHAT participant
story from the 2016 annual report

Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs):

Anchor Families CHAT: This team sought to establish “anchor families” on each block who taught life skills and guiding values to youth and connected youth and their families to resources for wellness.

Circle of Healing CHAT: Members of this CHAT came together as practitioners interested in creating a more formalized network of people around Backyard residents to provide better information and support for healing and reflection about the message of dis-ease. This network served both the Backyard community receiving care and the healing practitioner community in the Backyard.

Communications CHAT: This group worked to lessen or eliminate the divide between people who have information and those who don’t so that everyone had the opportunity to be engaged in a healthy community.

Growing the Backyard CHAT: This group focused on finding ways to support healthy eating though accessibility to healthy foods and educating about healthy practices across cultures.

Latino/a Environmental Health Begins at Home CHAT: This group looked at the impact of environment on the health of residents in the Backyard.

Out in the Backyard CHAT: This team connected individuals from all cultures who are LGBTQIA with the resources they needed to be healthy and safe

Project S.E.L.F. (Save Educate Liberate Free) CHAT: Project S.E.L.F. aimed to assist youth, elders, and families in healthy living and artistic expressions through poetry, open microphone performances, information workshops, and community dialogue.

Rebirthing Community CHAT: This team focused on bringing elders and youth together through mentoring and visual arts for a “rebirthing” of community.

Somali Women’s Health CHAT: Worked to promote communication, understanding, and support among women of the Somali community who had children in the judicial system by creating spaces and systems for them to talk to each other, connect to each other, and assist each other.

TEENS Project: Was a peer to peer youth leadership and entrepreneurial skills development organization. Members of the TEENS Project organized and staffed the BYI Resource Center in the Midtown Global Market.