Students Taking Charge - Action for Healthy Kids

Students Taking Charge:
Youth Advancing Healthier School Policies
Angela Forfia
Students Taking Charge Program Manager
Action for Healthy Kids
Progress or Promises?
What’s Working for and against Healthy Schools
If we fail to act, we
endanger the future
well-being of
America’s youth,
and, I dare say, of
America itself. Our
children deserve
healthier learning
schools that
promote lifelong
habits of healthful
eating and active
Three Areas of Focus
Improve children’s
eating habits
Three Areas of Focus
Increase children’s
physical activity
Three Areas of Focus
Educate the
public about the
between health
Healthy Environment Activity
Students Taking Charge!
Students Taking Charge 2009-2011
Who is the audience for Students
Taking Charge?
• High school students
• Student leaders/advocates
• National Honor Society
• School-based health center youth
advisory council
• Mikva Challenge group
• Other student organizations
• Middle school students
What are the benefits to schools?
• Develops young leaders
• Youth development skills
• Community service hours
• Mentoring/Near peer education
• Increases student support for healthy
• Encourages students to be true partners in
creating a healthy school
• Healthy students learn better!
What sets Students Taking Charge
apart from other programs?
• Focus on environmental change
• Five years of program success
• Youth involvement in program
development from the beginning
• Real high schools and real student
success stories
• Funding for youth-led projects at the
school level
Meaningful Student Involvement
Student-Adult Partnerships
Student-Initiated, Student-Led
Adults Initiate Action and
Share Decisions with Students
Students Consulted by Adults
Students Assigned to be
Students Taking Charge
The goal of Students
Taking Charge is to
improve knowledge,
increase self-efficacy,
and promote meaningful
student involvement as
youth advocate for
lasting changes around
nutrition, physical
activity, and health.
Students Taking Charge
• Facilitator’s Guide: Four Modules
– Find Your Voice
– Investigate Your School
– Plan for Improvement
– Mobilize for Change
• Students Taking Charge Website
– Project Ideas
– Evaluation materials
– Connectivity
Facilitator’s Icons
Find Your Voice
Environmental change for students
“Students Taking
Charge provides you
with a step-by-step
toolkit and an
interactive website to
teach you how to
make your school a
place where it’s easy
to be healthy!”
Find Your Voice Key Goals
• Understand what a healthy school
environment means
• Define and demystify advocacy
• Figure out the difference between programs,
policies, and practices
• Analyze local wellness policies
• Identify key decision makers and what
matters to them
• Consider obstacles to making change
Make it Happen: Programs,
Policies, and Practices (p.20-21)
Know Your Audience:
Youth in Action
Investigate Your School
Investigation for students
“Before you can
start advocating
for healthy
changes, you
have to find out
what’s going on
right now.”
Investigate Your School Key Goals
Learn the importance of investigation
Collect information about the school
Develop an investigation approach
Overcome barriers such as lack of
administrative support
• Utilize Students Taking Charge surveys
• Understand the value of parents as allies
• Find out about the School Health Index
Investigation Dots: Youth in Action
Make it Happen: Which investigation
approach works for you? (p. 42-45)
Consider the pros/cons of…
 Visual assessment
 Interviews with key informants
 Focus groups
 Student surveys
 Other surveys
 Whole school assessment
(recommended tool: School Health Index)
Plan for Improvement
Plan for Improvement
for students
“Developing a plan
of action will help
you figure out
what needs to be
done, who will do
it, when it needs
to happen, and
when you’re
Plan for Improvement Key Goals
• Determine specific actions to improve the
school health environment
• Rank each action based on feasibility matrix
• Set short, mid, and long-term goals
• Anticipate and overcome challenges
• Tailor messaging for different audiences
• Build support for policy changes
• Develop an action plan and budget
Mobilize for Change
Mobilize for Change
for students
“Every movement for
social change
starts with the
passion of one
individual who
inspires a small
group of thoughtful
and dedicated
people to take
Mobilize for Change Key Goals
• Learn practical strategies for group work
• Develop powerful messages around the
action plan
• Create effective letters, press releases, and
• Recognize volunteers and supporters
• Understand communication strategies and
when to use them
• Engage the media to tell the students’ story
to the community
Students Taking Charge website
Tips for School Success
• Follow the Facilitator’s Guide
• Encourage all activities to support
environmental change in the school
– Policy changes can take time
– Remember the 3P’s
– Short/Mid/Long-term goals
• Use the STC website for inspiration,
troubleshooting, and to share your story
• Connect with other schools in your area
Students Taking Charge Success
Check out the ready-made projects for more ideas!
Thanks for taking action for
healthy kids…and youth!