August 22, 2022
School environments have a major impact on the health and development of children and adolescences. A focus on safe and supportive environments, healthy foods, health education and physical activity are a few of the key areas that the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in partnership with Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) are addressing to strengthen and implement school districts wellness policies to promote student wellness.
Kristen Ortega, AFHK, District Wellness Policy, and Smoke-Free Project Coordinator, Michelle Smith, AFHK Texas State Coordinator, and Stephanie McCoy, AFHK Regional Coordinator have been working with school districts, community partners, volunteers, and other organizations to provide local support on key health issues that relate to the Health Foundation’s Healthy Living priority area and A Smoke-Free Paso del Norte Initiative.
School health outcomes that are making a difference through the partnership include:
- Assisting two school districts to revise their recess policies, ensuring that students have the opportunity for at least 20 minutes of free time daily.
- Bringing school districts and community partners together to advocate for healthy schools through the El Paso School Health Coalition
- Supporting schools with materials and an event for Safe Routes to Schools
- Working with El Paso area public school districts on tobacco-free schools
- Facilitating the Tobacco Control Network and steering committees
- Providing support with materials and training on teen vaping and “Let’s Talk! What you need to know about teen vaping” presentations to 40 school district staff and more than 130 health and social service community practitioners
“Action for Health Kids is creating relationships and providing technical support in strengthening school wellness policies, making them a perfect partner to work with,” said Jana Renner, Senior Program Officer for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.
Action for Healthy Kids is a national nonprofit that reaches over 4,000 schools, including seven El Paso school districts and one Doña Ana school district. They have impacted more than 178,000 children and adolescents in the Paso del Norte region, helping to create healthier schools by bringing all members of a school community together and equipping them with the tools and resources they need to make change happen.
For more information on the impact this partnership has made, contact Jana Renner, Senior Program Officer for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org, 915-218-2616 or Audrey Garcia, Program Officer, Paso del Norte Health Foundation at email@example.com, 915-218-2623.
PDNHF Initiative: Healthy Eating
PDNHF Initiative: Physical Activity
Foundation Staff: Jana Renner
PDNHF Initiative: A Smoke-Free Paso del Norte
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