Step 5: Mobilize Your CommunityPrint Page
Inspire Others to Join You
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, school board members, community organizations, and local business owners – who want to support your vision to create a healthier school. These partnerships not only improve student learning by promoting consistent messages about healthy behaviors, but they can also provide access to additional resources and volunteers.
Engaging Families and Communities
Provide opportunities for families and community members to engage in a variety of ways, including:
- Provide information to students and parents/caregivers on the importance of nutrition, physical activity, and social-emotional learning. Discuss topics in health at your next meeting between parents/caregivers and school staff to emphasize the importance of health learning objectives alongside academic learning objectives. Be sure to provide adequate materials and resources to all stakeholders in order to create positive change in child health both at school and at home.
- Participate in Take Your Parent to PE Week each September. Take Your Parent to PE Week is the perfect opportunity to explore various physical activities that engage the entire family and can be done in any environment such as at school or at home. Schools and parents/caregivers are given the opportunity to put their heads together and get creative about movement and how it affects overall mood and academic performance.
- Partner with families during Every Kid Healthy Week to host and participate in a family-friendly health-promoting event each April. Every Kid Healthy Week is an annual observance each April created to celebrate school health and wellness achievements. However, any time is a good time to plan a healthy event at your school and you can find great resources and ideas for hosting here. Participating in Every Kid Healthy Week is a great way for parents to dip their toes into school health. Throughout the week, provide children with resources and skills that they can take home to continue their healthy lifestyles outside of school.
- Seek out and incorporate input and feedback from parents/caregivers on the development, implementation, and evaluation of funded projects. Continuously provide opportunities for feedback on the relevancy of health programming content and language used as it pertains to students and their cultures. Allowing space for input will create trusting relationships if all stakeholders feel that their opinions are valued.
- Promote attendance among parents/caregivers at learning sessions that are geared toward a family audience. Work with leading parents in the community to get others on board! Build learning sessions into back-to-school nights and parent-teacher-conferences in order to stay as accessible and inclusive as possible.
- Provide leadership opportunities to parents/caregivers within the school community, including on the school health team and in the development and implementation of school health programs and activities. In order to foster space for successful family-school partnerships, parents/caregivers and school staff must have opportunities to lead to ensure inclusive representation from both environments.
- Involve community organizations to donate healthy food, offer trainings, host a trip to a local garden, and other volunteering opportunities. Consider reaching out to businesses, health departments, parks and recreation departments, universities, local foundations, restaurants, and faith-based organizations that share a passion for child health.
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, school administration, and family leaders to ensure you’re on the same page.
Celebrate Your Hard Work
A great way to get families and community volunteers involved is to celebrate your school’s hard work with an Every Kid Healthy Week event.