Step 5: Engage Families & CommunitiesPrint Page
Get others on your side! In order for any program to be successful, it is vital to engage key groups of adults, such as school staff, parents, schools board members, community organizations and local business owners, who want to support your vision to create a healthier school. These partnerships can not only improve student learning by promoting consistent messages about healthy behaviors, but they can also provide access to additional resources and volunteers.
- Empower and engage families with parent tools and resources. Find information about how school systems work and the most effective ways to advocate for change, along with ideas for creating a healthier school food and physical activity culture.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also developed a set of resources called Parents for Healthy Schools to help schools and school groups (e.g., parent teacher associations (PTA), parent teacher organizations (PTO), school wellness committees) engage parents to create healthy school environments.
- Involve community organizations to donate healthy food, offer trainings, host a trip to a local garden, and more. Consider reaching out to businesses, health departments, parks and recreation departments, universities, local foundations, restaurants, and faith-based organizations.
- Recruit community volunteers to support your programming and events. Volunteers can offer new perspectives and make a lasting impact and contribution through their knowledge base and support. They also can provide an extra helping hand or a needed, valuable skill set. Brainstorm ways to engage individuals, organizations or businesses who are passionate about healthy kids to help with your program needs or to offer their expertise.
- Host an Every Kid Healthy™ Week event for students, families and the larger community. Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance created to celebrate school health and wellness achievements. However, any time is a good time to plan a healthy event at your school. Find great resources and ideas.
To develop successful and meaningful partnerships, communicate expectations up front. People in supporting roles are just as important to your success as leaders, so remember to provide a welcoming climate to families and outside organizations, and always check in with your principal to ensure you’re on the same page.