New book released!

Sometimes, the world is not the way you want it to be. How do you make it better?


The Story

Nina loves visiting her grandmother’s house.

She would love it more if she could play at the park across the street from it. But it’s dirty, broken, and run down. What can she do to make the neighborhood park a fun and welcoming place for everyone again?


The Project

See how a $60,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation delivered more than $1 million of value improvements to core neighborhoods in Roseville, California.

The City of Roseville and the Health Education Council teamed up to work on Invest Health in Roseville’s downtown “core neighborhoods.” The core neighborhoods have higher rates of health issues such as obesity and chronic disease related to a variety of economic, social and environmental factors. The City has prioritized these core neighborhoods for attention and Invest Health has raised the importance of this focus by educating stakeholders about the need, equity issues, and social determinants related to health disparities.

During our 5-year journey we have accomplished a lot in Roseville!

Support our work promoting health and preventing chronic disease in underserved communities.

Invest Health Roseville

Five years ago, the City of Roseville was chosen as one of the 50 cities funded from hundreds of applications by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Thanks to the initial $60,000 grant and with invaluable guidance from the Reinvestment Fund, Roseville and the Health Education Council began work for the most “in-need” neighborhoods.

What We've Achieved

Completed ADA improvements to Johnson Pool
Through a $450,000 grant, completed much-neeed improvements to this 100-year-old pool.
Created "Family Meal Roseville" (a partnership between the City of Roseville, Invest Health, and the Health Education Council)
Raised nearly $70,000 working with the City of Roseville and local community groups to provide free meals prepared by local Roseville restaurants to seniors and local schools during COVID-19.
Developed a Mental Health Awareness Initiative with Roseville City School District (led by Health Education Council)
Working in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, we provided teacher training and resources to help the school district understand mental health concerns of their students and families.
Held Health Care Forums (the first time all 5 healthcare providers appeared together in a Roseville Forum)
Garnered nearly $20,000 in sponsorships from Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente for a series of resident-focused health care forums.
Improved LED lighting to the underserved neighborhoods
Received a $350,000 grant from Roseville Electric to improve lighting and safety in older neighborhoods.
Improved Mark White Park and Weber Park
Recruited hundreds of volunteer to fix, clean, and improve both Mark White and Weber parks while also launching new summer programs to help reactivate the parks.
Improved local park facilities and access
Used a $75,000 investment from Kaiser Permanente for Roseville’s Weber Park neighborhood to rehab and expand access to the classroom facility and created an outdoor learning area for after-school tutoring and other youth programs. Also expanded programming with Parks and Recreation and the Roseville Library.
Installed neighborhood watch signs
With $15,000 from a Union Pacific sponsorship, installed 55 neighborhood watch signs in both English and Spanish.

And the work continues...

Thank you to our partners, funders, and sponsors.


Book Contributors


Debra Oto-Kent

Debra Oto-Kent started the Health Education Council in Sacramento, California to build healthier and more equal neighborhoods. In the last five years working on the Invest Health initiatives, Debra saw first-hand the impact the work made in the neighborhoods and in the lives of residents. She believed this story deserved more than another report, and from this belief, “A Park for Everyone” was written.


Joshua Perry

Joshua Perry is the Creative Director at community-based E2 Church in Elk Grove, California. As a believer in using creativity and design thinking to boost impact for community initiatives, he brought a unique vision to the book project. By bringing life and color to Nina and her Abuelita, he brought the Invest Health story to life for readers.


Angela Criser and Gordon Fowler

Angela Criser and Gordon Fowler are the co-founders of Sacramento-based 3fold Communications. They specialize in helping leaders craft and deliver stories that audiences will connect with and remember. For this project, their goal was to highlight the success of the Health Education Council’s Invest Health work in a new and interesting way through the story of a neighborhood resident.

Author's Note

For more than 30 years, I have worked to promote healthy communities and neighborhoods.

Decisions that determine health are largely determined by where we live, work, play, pray, shop, and grow old. Living near welcoming parks and public spaces provides residents with places to play, connect, learn, refresh and be physically active—all good for our health. They also become places to meet, get to know, and build relationships with others.

However, far too many community parks are not welcoming or safe.

At HEC, we believe people who live in neighborhoods know how to create nourishing spaces to encourage connection and fun. This is one of our central focuses: tapping into the power of relationship building between our team members and the residents, businesses, government leaders, and others who all have demonstrated a commitment and interest in improving health in their communities.

For the Invest Health project in Roseville, California, these relationships were essential to our success. Thank you to all the residents willing to offer their ideas, experience, wisdom, and time to improve their neighborhood parks.

– Debra Oto-Kent