The HealthCorps program includes a variety of engaging activities with measurable outcomes that facilitators can employ to complement in-classroom education. These extracurricular activities can influence more students, staff, parents, and community members by increasing their knowledge and developing their skills as related to the three pillars: nutrition, fitness and mental resilience.
HealthCorps prioritizes program facilitation that is in partnership with “Champions” who can help establish wellness priorities and target extracurricular activities to achieve them. A Champion can be any student, staff member, parent, or community member who has embraced a role in promoting wellness in their school environment with the intent of building their own capacity to sustain wellness programming. When such Champions collaborate effectively, an environment and culture of wellness is established and can influence a variety of systems and policies within the school.
Extracurricular activities fall into two primary categories.
1. Individual Skill-Building Activities: Cultivate skill development to adopt healthy behaviors before school, during lunch, and after school.
- Café O’ Yea (COY): Train students and/or staff to run an interactive booth in the cafeteria or common area to educate their peers on a health-related topic and/or skill. After specific skills-based café o’ yeas, participant feedback forms are collected to evaluate demonstrations’ effectiveness with intent to change behavior.
- After-School Clubs: A health-related after-school club to provide students with an additional opportunity to access the HealthCorps program that meets weekly entire year, such as exercise, gardening, and leadership.
- Cooking Club: An after-school club with six sessions of curriculum teaching student’s kitchen safety, sanitation/hygiene, and affordable/accessible recipes with the goal of building their capacity to cook for themselves and their families.
- Youth Leadership Projects: A youth-driven project that can be integrated inside or outside the classroom with the goal of building the capacity of youth leaders to advocate for improving their school and community.
- Student Wellness & Training: Engage school staff to improve their own health as role models and wellness advocates in their school with activities such as wellness challenges, walking competitions, healthy potlucks, healthy newsletters, etc. Conduct a professional development session to certify staff in HC curriculum and provide ongoing technical assistance to staff that builds their self-efficacy and ensures program sustainability.
- Relationship-Building: Collaborate with Champion to facilitate programming and provide mentoring services to students and staff by holding consistent office hours.
2. Wellness Environment Building Activities: Cultivate a culture of wellness across the school campus.
- District Wellness Policy: Coordinators serve as support and accountability for the school district designated official to enhance School Wellness Policy (SWP) and raise awareness of the policy amongst school administrators and nutrition services directors. They can assist in implementing strategies shared through Alliance for a Healthier Generation that focus on systems and environmental change, such as excluding the marketing of non-compliant foods on campus and assisting sites to conduct assessments that identify areas for improvement. They also help to recruit community members to participate in the council and build collaboration and collective impact skills amongst all members so that the decision-making process includes all perspectives.
- Health Fair: Plan an annual in-schools or community health fair during or after the school day. Booths include COY topics that are run by students and community resources run by local organizations.
- Cafeteria Makeovers: Collaborate with Nutrition Services Director to design a lunchtime space that encourages students to make healthier choices.
- Day of Service: Coordinate a service project and/or trip for students in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, such as a food drive, homeless shelter, and trash pick-up.
- Community Engagement: Coordinators are actively engaged members of school communities who attend department meetings, in-school professional development sessions, school events, community events, funder meetings, etc. They participate in and connect to other current school wellness programs to collaborate and leverage resources. Also, they provide the school access to outside resources and organizations in the community while expanding the program outside of the school to impact the community.
- Program Exposure: Develop collateral for educational or promotional purposes with the goal to impact the school at large. Examples include Toilet Tidings, staff newsletters, flyers/posters to advertise an event or activity, etc.