District 89 holds monthly family nights during the school year, rotating the school at which the events are held. The PP4H Elementary Education Hub provides health promotion activities at each of these events. On Tuesday, February 28, District 89 held a Black History Celebration at Jane Addams School in Melrose Park. Three members of our committee attended this event: Mary Chrisostomo, Allynda Hammond, and Susan Flanagan.
The Education Hub hosted two health information tables at this event. One table provided information on healthy eating and healthy life styles. Mary Crisostomo gave out “prescriptions” to children on how to maintain good health through activities such as “drink water instead of sugary beverages”.
Our second table focus was on high blood pressure and strokes. Allynda Hammond provided blood pressure screening for the parents and educated them on the aspects of a heart healthy lifestyle.
The next day, March 1, Dr. Ann Andreoni and 2 students in Loyola’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program presented an assembly to over 100 students in grades 4 and 5 at Emerson School. They discussed how sodium intake causes high blood pressure as well as how students can determine sodium content using the Nutrition Facts labels on all packaged food.
Parent Teacher Conferences at Irving and Stevenson Middle School (March)
STEM night at Roosevelt School (April)
Yoga and Healthy Eating (April)
Health Fair at Irving School (April)
Health Fair at Stevenson School (April)
Many hands make light work. ~Haya Proverb
Everything has a beginning, some type of genesis. Every movement, effecting change, has a foundation laid by courageous and visionary leaders. On Friday, September 16, for an entire day, followed by a half day Saturday, September 17, Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H), held its inaugural retreat. This electrifying event took place in Oak Brook, IL, at The Hyatt Regency located on the picturesque campus of Hamburger University. You may wonder, why a coalition designed to create healthy food and active living environments had its retreat at Hamburger University. Comment if you are curious, for now, let’s say this retreat allowed us to fail forward.
Major issues were addressed during the day and a half of authentic and challenging discourse, strategic planning, and vision casting. We worked on building a consensus around our shared vision, mission, catalyzing us to advance.
On Day 1, Adam Becker (in picture above), from the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), gave a stirring and evocative presentation, making a call to action. The discussion will be followed up with a session to concretize plans to integrate new ideas into actionable steps.
Later, we engaged in constructive group activities facilitated by Kate Ebersole (seen in banner at top of the page) of KEE Concepts and Consulting, based in Cattaraugus County, New York. In two exercises, Kate walked us through effective ways to increase empathic understanding between our Black, White and Latino partners. Her powerful initial session allowed us to identify a set of communication norms that will aid us in growing as a coalition. The top 5 communication norms were:
1. Listening respectfully
2. Openness to thinking, being, learning and communication
3. Active participating/making it a priority and doing it
One attendee, Cynthia Chaidez, commented “ Kate Ebersol’s activity: “Developing Our Land” brought everyone together to answer the difficult questions of race that no one wants to answer. During the exercise I felt uncomfortable and I could feel the tension in the room. I feel this activity was an eye-opener for all those involved. Tough questions need to be addressed.”
In addition, we uncovered our need to reduce field jargon; increasing our intentionality and understanding of institutional concerns over the appropriate assigning of credit and acknowledgement for the work done within the coalition. Our second and final day was a very hands-on and productive day of developing our first drafts of our logic models and evaluation plans with MaryAnn Mason and Adam Becker from CLOCC.
For our first retreat, many of the participants left feeling energized, more committed to our work within the coalition. Being provided the tools for more effective communication, capacity building, and executing strategy, PP4H is positioning itself to go to the next level. Whereas there’s always room for growth, or growing edges, the retreat was a confidence builder and competence enhancer.