Building Together

Building Together

Developing key partnerships to support youth-led participatory action research in CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California Programming. 

Authored by Brandon Louie, Nancy Xiong, Nancy Erbstein, Miranda Capriotti, Eli Figueroa, Cristina Luquin, Carmela Padilla, Guadalupe Ramirez, Emma Sandoval, Paul Tabarez, and Chris Gomez Wong, with Chutima Ganthavorn, Charles Go, Katie Johnson, Marisa Neelon, and Kamaljeet Singh-Khaira. 

This documentation was compiled by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change and commissioned by the CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California State Office as part of its Youth Engagement Initiative. Technical assistance was also provided to sites by the Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition and the UC 4-H Youth Development Program. Nicole Martin and Chelsea Jimenez, from UC Davis Center for Regional Change, designed the report. This report would not have been possible without the support of former Director David Ginsburg and the dedication and hard work of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) staff and youth leaders in the profiled programs, listed here in alphabetical order by county and last name.

This report documents the work of six CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California county programs who facilitated a youth-led participatory action research (YPAR) project as part of the Youth Engagement Initiative during Federal Fiscal Year 2018. YPAR is a process that engages young people in using the tools of research to critically assess conditions that shape their lives, with the goal of supporting action to improve those conditions. This report highlights diverse examples of YPAR in action within SNAP-Ed programs, with a focus on the critical role of partnerships in authentically engaging young people in policy, systems and environmental (PSE) change to promote nutrition, wellness, food access and physical activity. In California, the name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) is CalFresh Healthy Living. After a brief introduction and executive summary, this report explores the key theme of partnerships within CalFresh Healthy Living, UC YPAR projects and examines the many lessons learned from these case studies during FFY 2018, concluding with profiles of each of the six projects.


Since no two YPAR projects are the same, the information presented is intended as a reference rather than a step-by-step manual. These case studies and their promising practices offer examples of what is possible as youth and program facilitators craft youth-led PSE change efforts that fit the specific needs and circumstances of their unique communities.

Full Report