Youth for Healthy Schools

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Healthy Communities III

Overview:

The Healthy Communities III Initiative works with the young people of Youth for Healthy Schools to uplift and connect youth advocacy and organizing campaigns to amplify their reach and impact and inject youth voices directly into the national conversation about childhood obesity, school nutrition standards, and health and wellness of poor communities and communities of color.

 Goals:

  • To ensure that young people from low-income families and young people of color become key leaders in the movements for healthy schools and communities, now and in the future.
  • To guarantee that young people of color from low-income families–who are most impacted and disproportionately harmed by the illnesses related to childhood-obesity — have a strong and effective voice in framing the national policy debate about the solutions to this crisis – in the education, food, and health policy arenas.
  • To increase the capacity of local youth organizing groups to amplify their impact, by connecting local work to statewide and national strategies for change.

Approach:

  • The foundation of HC III is a fellowship program connected to eight youth organizing groups in the West, South, Northeast and Southwest. Each group hosts a Healthy Communities Fellow who leads their school and community wellness work and connects it to state and national strategies for change including community education and engagement and policy development and implementation.
  • In addition, there are six partner organizations in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southwast who are leading campaigns on similar issues.
  • Through HC III, all host and partner organizations receive peer support and technical assistance in the areas of policy, strategy, and communications.

Policy Priorities:

Given the current health justice environment, Healthy Communities III will prioritize efforts intersecting in the following policy areas that will advance wellness and health equity in the school setting:

  • Equitable implementation of school nutrition policy that is accountable to the community and ensures access to fresh, healthy and culturally-relevant school food
  • Ensuring access to fresh, clean drinking water
  • Inclusion of parents and youth in the creation and implementation of school wellness policies
  • Healthy school climates that include trauma informed practice, reformed discipline policies and systems that support the social  and emotional health of students
  • Ensuring physical activity as a priority in education
  • Utilizing schools as a resource to advance healthier communities

The Healthy Communities II Initiative thanks the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for its support.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.