On June 23, 2003 at 8:00AM, Tulare City Schools District personnel, the Tulare County Asthma Coalition, the Urban Tree Foundation, and volunteers create an unique school ground with low-allergy trees, shrubs, and flowers in an attempt to reduce the environmental triggers of allergies and asthma for children where they learn and play. Parents, children, and community volunteers are encouraged to participate in Planting Day at Heritage Elementary School located at 895 West Gail in Tulare. Bring a hat, work gloves and your favorite gardening tools. According to Kathleen Bolduc chair of the Tulare County Asthma coalition, “the children in our community grow up breathing the poorest quality air in the country. It is our responsibility as their caregivers to do whatever we can to free their environment from allergens”.
Asthma educators will be available with information and asthma management tools and strategies. According to the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), 31,970 people in Tulare County have asthma and the prevalence rate for children is estimated at 10.5%, which is above the national and state rate. Nationally, 10 million school days and 14 million workdays were lost due to asthma. In California, 136,000 adolescents missed 1 or more school days per month. Absences adversely affect learning. In addition, 158,000 children limited their physical activity due to asthma. Children with well-controlled asthma are able to participate in activities, sports, and learning experiences to the same level as non-asthmatics.
The Tulare County Asthma Coalition is a tax-exempt community-based organization leading Tulare County in asthma education since September of 2000. The Tulare County Asthma Coalition participates in the Community Action to Fight Asthma (CAFA) initiative to reduce environmental triggers where children live, learn, and play. The CAFA initiative is funded by The California Endowment. The asthma coalition focuses on three main goals: 1) change policy to reduce environmental triggers of asthma 2) provide education to asthmatic children, their families, and care providers 3) to collect asthma data using a statewide measure. Some local activities include an Asthma Adventure Fair that included over 350 participants, health fairs and back-to-school nights, free Train the Trainer education programs, and training for teachers, nurses, and coaches in schools.